Nicole B. Gage

Document Type

Supreme Court Commentaries

Publication Date



Preemption, Employee Retirement Income Security Act

Subject Category

Constitutional Law | Supreme Court of the United States


Under the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, federal law preempts state law. In 1974 Congress passed the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) governing benefits offered by employers to their employees. The purpose of this statute was ensuring the uniformity of the law applicable to employee benefts. The Supreme Court case of Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual concerns the limits of ERISA’s preemption of state law, specifically whether a state law governing employee benefits is merely peripheral to the core ERISA functions. This Commentary argues that ERISA does not preempt a state law which does not interfere with the administration of ERISA plans and which facilitates better, more affordable heath care options to the public.