Supreme Court Strikes Down Part of Maryland Income Tax Scheme

This morning at 10:00, the Supreme Court issued opinions in six cases.  First, in a 9-0 decision authored by Justice Kagan, the Court ruled that a convicted felon can turn over their lawfully owned firearms to any third party provided the court is satisfied that the third party will not give the convicted felon control over those firearms.

There were three other unanimous decisions that need not be mentioned here.

In San Francisco vs. Sheehan, the Court dismissed the first question as “improvidently granted.”  In effect, neither side briefed the Court on the issue.  Instead, this involved the use of excessive force by San Francisco police to subdue a mentally disabled woman.  Dismissing the American with Disabilities Act claim, they ruled 6-2 (Breyer recused himself) that the police have qualified immunity for their actions and that their entrance into Sheehan’s room at the halfway house did not violate the Fourth Amendment.

However, the biggest case decided today was Comptroller vs. Wynne which invalidated a Maryland income tax scheme that denied credits to residents for taxes paid in other jurisdictions.  This involved the county tax portion of that law which denied the credits.  What is weird about the decision, which will be covered in more detail in a separate entry, is the majority line up authored by Alito and joined by Kennedy, Roberts, Breyer and Sotomayor.  The dissent is Thomas, Scalia, Kagan and Ginsburg.  We are not likely to see that voting bloc any time in the near future.  The significance of the decision is that the tax scheme inadvertently favors intra-state commerce over interstate commerce by encouraging a resident not to earn income- at least as far as the county tax goes- outside one’s home state.