Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, 504 U.S. 298, 7 (1992)

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Opinion of the Court

impermissible and adopted instead a "consistent and rational method of inquiry [that focused on] the practical effect of [the] challenged tax." Mobil Oil Corp. v. Commissioner of Taxes of Vt., 445 U. S. 425, 443 (1980). This and subsequent rulings, the court maintained, indicated that the Commerce Clause no longer mandated the sort of physical-presence nexus suggested in Bellas Hess.

Similarly, with respect to the Due Process Clause, the North Dakota court observed that cases following Bellas Hess had not construed "minimum contacts" to require physical presence within a State as a prerequisite to the legitimate exercise of state power. The state court then concluded that "the Due Process requirement of a 'minimal connection' to establish nexus is encompassed within the Complete Auto test" and that the relevant inquiry under the latter test was whether "the state has provided some protection, opportunities, or benefit for which it can expect a return." 470 N. W. 2d, at 216.

Turning to the case at hand, the state court emphasized that North Dakota had created "an economic climate that fosters demand for" Quill's products, maintained a legal infrastructure that protected that market, and disposed of 24 tons of catalogs and flyers mailed by Quill into the State every year. Id., at 218-219. Based on these facts, the court concluded that Quill's "economic presence" in North Dakota depended on services and benefits provided by the State and therefore generated "a constitutionally sufficient nexus to justify imposition of the purely administrative duty of collecting and remitting the use tax." Id., at 219.2

2 The court also suggested that, in view of the fact that the "touchstone of Due Process is fundamental fairness" and that the "very object" of the Commerce Clause is protection of interstate business against discriminatory local practices, it would be ironic to exempt Quill from this burden and thereby allow it to enjoy a significant competitive advantage over local retailers. 470 N. W. 2d, at 214-215.

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