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A constitutional battle in the Free State

The dormant Commerce Clause is an implicit constitutional principle, derived from the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, which prevents states from passing laws that discriminate against or unduly burden interstate commerce. In 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a 2013 Maryland Court of Appeals holding that found Maryland’s system of taxing out-of-state income to be in violation of the dormant Commerce Clause. See Md. State Comptroller of the Treasury v. Wynne, 431 Md. 14 7 (2013), aff’d, Comptroller of the Treasury v. Wynne, 135 S. Ct. 1787 (2015). The Maryland General Assembly, anticipating a landslide of taxpayers seeking refunds under the Court of Appeals decision, enacted legislation in 2014 that dramatically reduced the interest rate payable on these Wynne claims – from 13% all the way down to 3%, creating an estimated $38 million in savings for the State. Significantly, the interest rate payable on other tax refunds stayed at 13%. That legislative action is currently being challenged – again, on the grounds of violating the dormant Commerce Clause – by the plaintiffs in Michael J. Holzheid, et al. v. Comptroller of the Treasury, et al., who just requested bypass certiorari (direct appeal to the Court of Appeals) from a decision in the Circuit Court of Baltimore City.

The petition for bypass certiorari can be found here:

Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash

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