The fight specifically stems from a law, passed by South Dakota in 2016, which levied a 4.5 percent tax on businesses that sell more than $100,000 in goods. Even though the case concerned a mail order company, the decision has been used by internet companies to avoid collecting state and local sales tax. All but five states charge a sales tax. It found similarly that the state's legislative district maps were flawed. North Dakota, centered on a mail-order business and inadvertently set a far-reaching precedent for e-commerce companies by only allowing states to collect sales tax from businesses with a "physical presence" in a given state. Consumers who purchase from out-of-state retailers are generally supposed to pay the state taxes themselves, but few do.
That would be a victory for states and traditional businesses, but a defeat for smaller online retailers who claim they can not navigate dozens of state sales tax systems the way major players such as Amazon do.
Because the Quill precedent was still binding, the state conceded that it could not win the case. "This longstanding case needs to reach closure, not just to secure appropriate permanent remedies for egregious violations of the Voting Rights Act, but to provide guidance for the next round of redistricting in 2021 when Latinos will once more account for increased congressional representation in Texas and other states", Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF president and general counsel, said in a statement.
State officials then took the case on to the Justices, arguing that other states are beginning to imitate its challenge to the old constitutional doctrine, so the Justices could not long evade the issue.
They said that the number of taxing jurisdictions in the United States is estimated at between 10,000 and 16,000.
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Those cases - along with a challenge to how Securities and Exchange Commission employees enforce investment protection laws - highlight a batch of grants that will fill much of the court's remaining term, the justices announced Friday.
The case is South Dakota v. Wayfair.
The Supreme Court will probably hear arguments in the case in April. The justices are also expected to weigh in on a lower court ruling that struck down North Carolina's congressional map as a partisan gerrymander, ordering a new map for the 2018 elections.
The Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether Texas must redraw its congressional maps because of gerrymanders, in a case that could have major implications for this year's elections in the Lone Star State. The move could signal the Supreme Court's dissent from lower-court opinions, which have ruled the districts are discriminatory - or, it could mean the high court wants to definitively opine on the seven-year, controversial legal battle surrounding Texas voting rights.
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican who has steadfastly defended the way the GOP-run Legislature drew the lines for state House and congressional districts, expressed confidence that the justices will rule in the state's favor.