Two lawyers from a Lewiston law firm are claiming “a major victory” after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in their client’s favor Tuesday in an online sales tax case that originated in Colorado.

George Isaacson and Matthew Schaefer of Brann & Isaacson presented arguments before the nation’s highest court Dec. 8 on behalf of their client, Direct Marketing Association, in a case that attracted national attention.

Direct Marketing, the country’s largest trade association representing online retailers and data-driven marketing, challenged a 2010 Colorado law that requires out-of-state retailers to report purchases from Colorado customers to the state’s revenue department.

The case, Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl, focused on whether the federal Tax Injunction Act bars federal courts from hearing the association’s challenge of the Colorado reporting law. A federal district court first ruled that the case could be decided federally. A federal appeals court overturned that ruling. The U.S. Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling reversed the appellate court decision.

The Colorado law is similar to those adopted by other states that try to collect sales taxes from out-of-state retailers such as Under a law enacted in 1992, online retailers have been exempted from collecting sales taxes in states where they do not have a physical presence or employees.

“The court agreed with our arguments that the Tax Injunction Act does not bar federal court jurisdiction over challenges to burdensome and intrusive state law information-reporting obligations by companies that are not contesting a tax assessment,” Isaacson said in a written statement. “This is a significant victory for the Direct Marketing Association and for all interstate businesses that value access to federal courts.”

The Direct Marketing’s battle over jurisdiction in the case has drawn support from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Businesses and three other organizations that filed amicus briefs. On the other side of the battle, the state of Colorado has received the support of the National Governors Association and the National Council of State Legislatures.

The case now will return to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver for further consideration.

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