Supreme Court hears arguments on appeals, railroad tax
Supreme Court hears arguments on appeals, railroad tax

The US Supreme Court [official website] heard oral arguments [day call, PDF] in two cases Tuesday. In Gelboim v. Bank of America Corporation [transcript, PDF; JURIST report] the court heard arguments on whether and in what circumstances the dismissal of an action that has been consolidated with other suits is immediately appealable. The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit determined [opinion, PDF] “sua sponte that it lack[ed] jurisdiction over these appeals because a final order ha[d] not been issued by the district court as contemplated by 28 USC § 1291 [text], and the orders appealed from did not dispose of all claims in the consolidated action.”

In Alabama Department of Revenue v. CSX Transportation, Inc. [transcript, PDF; JURIST report] the court must determine whether a state “discriminates against a rail carrier” in violation of 49 USC § 11501(b)(4) [text] when the state generally requires commercial and industrial businesses, including rail carriers, to pay a sales-and-use tax but grants exemptions from the tax to the railroads’ competitors. The court also directed the parties to brief and argue the following question: “Whether, in resolving a claim of unlawful tax discrimination … a court should consider other aspects of the state’s tax scheme rather than focusing solely on the challenged tax provision.” The court ruled in this case [JURIST report] in 2011 that a railroad may challenge sales-and-use taxes that apply to rail carriers but exempt their competitors in the transportation industry. On remand, the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled [opinion] that the sales tax is discriminatory.