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Under the market-participant doctrine, a State is permitted to exercise “ ‘independent discretion as to parties with whom [it] will deal.’ ” Reeves, Inc. v. Stake, 447 U. S. 429, 438-439 (1980) . The doctrine thus allows States to engage in certain otherwise-discriminatory practices (e.g., selling exclusively to, or buying exclusively from, the State’s own residents), so long as the State is “acting as a market participant, rather than as a market regulator,” South-Central Timber Development, Inc. v. Wunnicke, 467 U. S. 82, 93 (1984) (emphasis added). 


When a state or local government enters the market as a participant, it is not subject to the restraints of the Commerce Clause. Hughes v. Alexandria Scrap Corp., 426 U. S. 794; Reeves, Inc. v. Stake, 447 U. S. 429. '[N]othing in the purposes animating the Commerce Clause prohibits a State, in the absence of congressional action, from participating in the market and exercising the right to favor its own citizens over others.' Id. at 426 U. S. 810 (footnotes omitted). 


'The basic distinction drawn in Alexandria Scrap between States as market participants and States as market regulators makes good sense and sound law. ...

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