SCOTUS to review 1992 decision regarding payment of sales tax

At the behest of South Dakota our SCOTUS will be re-visiting Quill Corp v. North Dakota. That case, decided back in 1992, has been favorable in many (not all) instances to those purchasing items online.

It is noteworthy that South Dakota passed a law intentionally in hope of bringing about this review of the 1992 SCOTUS ruling.

Stare decisis? Ha! Ha! Only when it suits what the gubberment wants to do anyway.

The following is from Reuters, but a great many other stories regarding this matter are out there:

From Reuters

My opinion:

As is the case in so many other instances, this is a legislative matter, not one for the judiciary. But since when has that stood in the way of America’s activist courts?


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In most states you’re required to pay use tax on those purchases. So you’re basically just stating that the case has allowed you (and everyone else - I don’t know of one individual who accrues use tax on personal purchases except for very large purchases) to avoid paying the taxes that you and everyone are required to pay. Which is true.

My biggest problem with it is about fairness. Amazon was able to build up this incredible market share primarily due to the sales tax benefit and physical presence requirement. Now that Amazon’s in a comfortable place and have changed their business plan, they’re pushing to overturn Quill. Why wouldn’t they? The ridiculous regimes that the states have come up with require them to collect anyway, and it protects them from some other company coming in and doing exactly what they did to disrupt the market.

That said, I think the physical presence requirement is ridiculous in today’s world, the attempts by the states to get around that requirement create unnecessarily complex regimes, and the burden on retailers who meet the thresholds aren’t the same as they were in 1992.

As did many other states (and I personally think the states chose the wrong statute to bring up to SCOTUS).

So far - the courts have ruled based on established precedent (SD Sup Ct upheld Quill). With regard to SCOTUS - my impression is the same as yours. I’d imagine, though, that you are in favor of a lot of their decisions that (basically) ignored prior case law. FYI - all SCOTUS has said so far is that they will hear the case (which requires just 4 votes) - not sure how you’ve already concluded that they’re doing away with stare decisis.

The Court is likely going to rule based on the U.S. constitutionality of South Dakota’s statute. So while, yes, Congress could step in if they wanted to resolve the issue, it is actually an issue for the judiciary in interpreting the Commerce Clause and (maybe, but I hope not) the Due Process Clause.

If you don’t believe SD’s law should stand, I don’t think you want the US Congress to pass a law on this…