Kerpen v. Metro. Wash. Airports Auth. (P)

The district court didn’t err in dismissing the appellants’ various constitutional and statutory challenges to Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority’s ability to use toll revenues to fund projects enhancing access to Dulles airport.

The Authority’s structure doesn’t violates the non-delegation principle because it exercises no power assigned elsewhere by the Constitution. The Authority is not a private entity but a public body that may lawfully exercise governmental power. There’s also nothing inherently federal about the operation of commercial airports; National and Dulles are the only major commercial airports that have been federally operated.

The Authority also doesn’t violate the Guarantee Clause of the U.S. Constitution because MWAA does not deny any state a republican form of government. In Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, voters are free to elect their political leaders, and those political leaders are free to set their legislative agendas.

The Authority’s use of toll revenues to finance construction of a metro line connecting the airport to Washington, D.C. in no way violates its lease terms. There’s no basis in law for finding that the dedicated funding mechanism here was impermissible.


Kerpen v. Metro. Wash. Airports Auth. (P), No. 17-1735, Oct. 22, 2018. 4th Cir. (Wilkinson) from EDVA at Alexandria (Cacheris).

Categories: 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Opinions, Published

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