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Brief of Amici Curiae Tax Law Professors and Economists in Support of Petitioner in South Dakota v. Wayfair

30 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2017  

Daniel Jacob Hemel

University of Chicago Law School

Reuven S. Avi-Yonah

University of Michigan Law School

Joseph Bankman

Stanford Law School

Jordan M. Barry

University of San Diego School of Law

Lily L. Batchelder

New York University School of Law

John R. Brooks

Georgetown University Law Center

Samuel D. Brunson

Loyola University Chicago School of Law

J. Clifton Fleming Jr.

Brigham Young University - J. Reuben Clark Law School

David Gamage

Indiana University Maurer School of Law

Ari D. Glogower

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law

Jacob Goldin

Stanford Law School

Andrew J. Haile

Elon University School of Law

David Herzig

Valparaiso University Law School

Hayes R Holderness

University of Richmond - School of Law

Calvin H. Johnson

University of Texas at Austin - School of Law

Richard L. Kaplan

University of Illinois College of Law

Michael S. Knoll

University of Pennsylvania Law School; University of Pennsylvania Wharton School -- Real Estate Department

Zachary D. Liscow

Yale University - Law School

Yair Listokin

Yale Law School

Ruth Mason

University of Virginia School of Law

Goldburn P. Maynard Jr.

Louis D. Brandeis School of Law

Orly Mazur

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law

Susan C. Morse

University of Texas at Austin - School of Law

Richard D. Pomp

University of Connecticut - School of Law

James R. Repetti

Boston College - Law School

Julie Roin

University of Chicago Law School

Daniel Schaffa

University of Richmond School of Law

Erin A. Scharff

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law

Daniel Shaviro

New York University School of Law

Jay A. Soled

Rutgers University

Sloan G. Speck

University of Colorado Law School

Kirk J. Stark

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law

John A. Swain

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law

Adam B. Thimmesch

University of Nebraska College of Law

Manoj Viswanathan

University of California Hastings College of the Law

Edward A. Zelinsky

Yeshiva University - Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

Eric M. Zolt

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law

Date Written: November 2, 2017

Abstract

While the Supreme Court is rightly reluctant to overrule its own precedents under any circumstances, the force of stare decisis is less powerful in some contexts than in others. Specifically, stare decisis exerts a weaker pull when judicial doctrine in the relevant area is based not on statutory interpretation but on changing competitive circumstances and evolving economic understandings. Antitrust law is a paradigmatic example of an area in which these conditions are met, but the argument for a flexible application of precedent is similarly strong with respect to dormant Commerce Clause tax cases such as this one.

In Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, the Court emphasized that its dormant Commerce Clause analysis was based on “structural concerns about the effect of state regulation on the national economy.” 504 U.S. 298, 312 (1992). The Court was especially concerned about the effect of taxation on the mail-order industry, and it believed that maintaining the physical presence rule would “foster investment by businesses and individuals.” Id. at 315-18. It also believed that its rule would reduce compliance costs for businesses and individuals engaged in commerce across state lines. See id. at 313 n.6. For those reasons, the Court reaffirmed the physical presence rule first announced in National Bellas Hess, Inc. v. Department of Revenue of Illinois, 386 U.S. 753 (1967).

The Court’s decision in Quill was predicated on then-current competitive circumstances and economic understandings. And in the quarter century since Quill, those circumstances and understandings have evolved. While the Quill Court was focused on the mail-order industry, it could not and did not foresee the meteoric rise of online retail, which has magnified the revenue losses that result from the physical presence rule. In the age of online retail, the physical presence rule has become a drag on economic efficiency and a potential impediment to investment across state lines. Meanwhile, the development of tax automation software over the past quarter century has led to a dramatic reduction in sales tax compliance costs for multistate retailers — so much so that overruling Quill would likely reduce aggregate compliance costs for individuals and firms seeking to abide by state tax laws.

Thus, to overrule Quill now based on changed competitive circumstances and evolving economic understandings would be to take it on its “own terms.” See Kimble v. Marvel Entm't, LLC, 135 S. Ct. 2401, 2413 (2015). It would be to acknowledge that — regardless of whether Quill was rightly decided at the time — the factual assumptions upon which it was based do not apply to the Internet age. The Court should grant South Dakota’s petition so it can revisit those assumptions and update its dormant Commerce Clause jurisprudence to a new technological and economic environment.

Keywords: amicus brief, Supreme Court, stare decisis, dormant Commerce Clause, Quill v. North Dakota, South Dakota v. Wayfair

JEL Classification: K34

Suggested Citation

Hemel, Daniel Jacob and Avi-Yonah, Reuven S. and Bankman, Joseph and Barry, Jordan M. and Batchelder, Lily L. and Brooks, John R. and Brunson, Samuel D. and Fleming, J. Clifton and Gamage, David and Glogower, Ari D. and Goldin, Jacob and Haile, Andrew J. and Herzig, David and Holderness, Hayes R and Johnson, Calvin H. and Kaplan, Richard L. and Knoll, Michael S. and Liscow, Zachary D. and Listokin, Yair and Mason, Ruth and Maynard, Goldburn P. and Mazur, Orly and Morse, Susan C. and Pomp, Richard D. and Repetti, James R. and Roin, Julie and Schaffa, Daniel and Scharff, Erin A. and Shaviro, Daniel and Soled, Jay A. and Speck, Sloan G. and Stark , Kirk J. and Swain, John A. and Thimmesch, Adam B. and Viswanathan, Manoj and Zelinsky, Edward A. and Zolt, Eric M., Brief of Amici Curiae Tax Law Professors and Economists in Support of Petitioner in South Dakota v. Wayfair (November 2, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3064293

Daniel Hemel (Contact Author)

University of Chicago Law School ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Reuven Avi-Yonah

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States
734-647-4033 (Phone)

Joseph Bankman

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States
650-725-3825 (Phone)
650-725-7663 (Fax)

Jordan Barry

University of San Diego School of Law ( email )

5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
United States

Lily Batchelder

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States
212-992-8156 (Phone)

John Brooks

Georgetown University Law Center ( email )

600 New Jersey Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States

Samuel Brunson

Loyola University Chicago School of Law ( email )

25 E. Pearson
Chicago, IL 60611
United States

J. Clifton Fleming

Brigham Young University - J. Reuben Clark Law School ( email )

430 JRCB
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602
United States

David Gamage

Indiana University Maurer School of Law ( email )

211 S. Indiana Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.indiana.edu/about/people/bio.php?name=gamage-david

Ari Glogower

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law ( email )

55 West 12th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

Jacob Goldin

Stanford Law School ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States

Andrew Haile

Elon University School of Law ( email )

201 N. Greene Street
Greensboro, NC 27401
United States

David Herzig

Valparaiso University Law School ( email )

656 S. Greenwich St.
Valparaiso, IN 46383-6493
United States
219-465-7809 (Phone)
219-465-7872 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.valpo.edu/law

Hayes Holderness

University of Richmond - School of Law ( email )

28 Westhampton Way
Richmond, VA 23173
United States

Calvin Johnson

University of Texas at Austin - School of Law ( email )

727 East Dean Keeton Street
Austin, TX 78705
United States
512-232-1306 (Phone)
512-232-2399 (Fax)

Richard Kaplan

University of Illinois College of Law ( email )

504 E. Pennsylvania Avenue
Champaign, IL 61820
United States
(217) 333-2499 (Phone)
(217) 244-1478 (Fax)

Michael Knoll

University of Pennsylvania Wharton School -- Real Estate Department ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104-6330
United States

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
215-898-6190 (Phone)
215-573-2025 (Fax)

Zachary Liscow

Yale University - Law School ( email )

127 Wall St.
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

Yair Listokin

Yale Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 208215
New Haven, CT 06520-8215
United States
203-436-2567 (Phone)

Ruth Mason

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

Goldburn Maynard

Louis D. Brandeis School of Law ( email )

Wilson W. Wyatt Hall
Louisville, KY 40292
United States
5028525563 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://louisville.edu/law/faculty-staff/faculty-directory/maynard-goldburn

Orly Mazur

Southern Methodist University - Dedman School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 750116
Dallas, TX 75275
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.smu.edu/professor-profiles/mazur

Susan Morse

University of Texas at Austin - School of Law ( email )

727 East Dean Keeton Street
Austin, TX 78705
United States

Richard Pomp

University of Connecticut - School of Law ( email )

65 Elizabeth Street
Hartford, CT 06105
United States
860-570-5251 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.uconn.edu/faculty/rpomp/

James Repetti

Boston College - Law School ( email )

885 Centre Street
Newton, MA 02459-1163
United States
617-552-8550 (Phone)
617-552-2615 (Fax)

Julie Roin

University of Chicago Law School ( email )

1111 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
United States
773-702-5314 (Phone)

Daniel Schaffa

University of Richmond School of Law ( email )

28 Westhampton Way
Richmond, VA 23173
United States

Erin Scharff

Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 877906
Tempe, AZ 85287-7906
United States

Daniel Shaviro

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
Room 314-B
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States
212-998-6187 (Phone)
212-995-4341 (Fax)

Jay Soled

Rutgers University ( email )

1 Washington Park
Newark, NJ 07901-1825
United States
(973) 353-1727 (Phone)

Sloan Speck

University of Colorado Law School ( email )

401 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309
United States

Kirk Stark

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law ( email )

385 Charles E. Young Dr. East
Room 1242
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
United States
310-825-7470 (Phone)

John Swain

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 210176
Tucson, AZ 85721-0176
United States
(520) 621-7673 (Phone)
(520) 621-9140 (Fax)

Adam Thimmesch

University of Nebraska College of Law ( email )

103 McCollum Hall
P.O. Box 830902
Lincoln, NE 68583-0902
United States

Manoj Viswanathan

University of California Hastings College of the Law ( email )

200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States

Edward Zelinsky

Yeshiva University - Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law ( email )

55 Fifth Ave.
New York, NY 10003
United States
212-790-0277 (Phone)

Eric Zolt

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law ( email )

385 Charles E. Young Dr. East
Room 1242
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1476
United States

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