Steve Schwinn, a professor of constitutional law at the John Marshall Law School, said such a case could prove difficult. He pointed to a 2001 decision in U.S. Circuit Court in a case involving Ford and the state of Texas. The court rejected Ford's claim that the state's law preventing the company from selling used cars through its own Web site violated the commerce clause.
In this case, Tesla would have to prove North Carolina's law discriminates specifically against the automaker, Schwinn said.
"If it is, and it's enough at Tesla, and Tesla is an out-of-state actor, and there's evidence that the Legislature discriminated specifically against them, then there's a chance that the landscape might change," he said. "That strikes me as a lot of ifs."