Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, 504 U.S. 298, 8 (1992)

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Cite as: 504 U. S. 298 (1992)

Opinion of the Court


As in a number of other cases involving the application of state taxing statutes to out-of-state sellers, our holding in Bellas Hess relied on both the Due Process Clause and the Commerce Clause. Although the "two claims are closely related," Bellas Hess, 386 U. S., at 756, the Clauses pose distinct limits on the taxing powers of the States. Accordingly, while a State may, consistent with the Due Process Clause, have the authority to tax a particular taxpayer, imposition of the tax may nonetheless violate the Commerce Clause. See, e. g., Tyler Pipe Industries, Inc. v. Washington State Dept. of Revenue, 483 U. S. 232 (1987).

The two constitutional requirements differ fundamentally, in several ways. As discussed at greater length below, see Part IV, infra, the Due Process Clause and the Commerce Clause reflect different constitutional concerns. Moreover, while Congress has plenary power to regulate commerce among the States and thus may authorize state actions that burden interstate commerce, see International Shoe Co. v. Washington, 326 U. S. 310, 315 (1945), it does not similarly have the power to authorize violations of the Due Process Clause.

Thus, although we have not always been precise in distinguishing between the two, the Due Process Clause and the Commerce Clause are analytically distinct.

" 'Due process' and 'commerce clause' conceptions are not always sharply separable in dealing with these problems. . . . To some extent they overlap. If there is a want of due process to sustain the tax, by that fact alone any burden the tax imposes on the commerce among the states becomes 'undue.' But, though overlapping, the two conceptions are not identical. There may be more than sufficient factual connections, with economic and legal effects, between the transaction and the taxing state to sustain the tax as against due process


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