Opinion of White, J.
las Hess rule compelled us to hold that the tax collection responsibilities could not be imposed. We expressly rejected that view, holding that the "requisite nexus for requiring an out-of-state seller [the Society] to collect and pay the use tax is not whether the duty to collect the use tax relates to the seller's activities carried on within the State, but simply whether the facts demonstrate 'some definite link, some minimum connection, between (the State and) the person . . . it seeks to tax.' " 430 U. S., at 561 (citation omitted).
By decoupling any notion of a transactional nexus from the inquiry, the National Geographic Court in fact repudiated the free trade rationale of the Bellas Hess majority. Instead, the National Geographic Court relied on a due process-type minimum contacts analysis that examined whether a link existed between the seller and the State wholly apart from the seller's in-state transaction that was being taxed. Citations to Bellas Hess notwithstanding, see 430 U. S., at 559, it is clear that rather than adopting the rationale of Bellas Hess, the National Geographic Court was instead politely brushing it aside. Even were I to agree that the free trade rationale embodied in Bellas Hess' rule against taxes of purely interstate sales was required by our cases prior to 1967, therefore, I see no basis in the majority's opening premise that this substantive underpinning of Bellas Hess has not since been disavowed by our cases.2
2 Similarly, I am unconvinced by the majority's reliance on subsequent decisions that have cited Bellas Hess. See ante, at 311. In D. H. Holmes Co. v. McNamara, 486 U. S. 24, 33 (1988), for example, we distinguished Bellas Hess on the basis of the company's "significant economic presence in Louisiana, its many connections with the State, and the direct benefits it receives from Louisiana in conducting its business." We then went on to note that the situation presented was much more analogous to that in National Geographic Society v. California Bd. of Equalization, 430 U. S. 551 (1977). See 486 U. S., at 33-34. In Commonwealth Edison Co. v. Montana, 453 U. S. 609, 626 (1981), the Court cited Bellas Hess not to revalidate the physical-presence requirement, but rather to establish that a "nexus" must exist to justify imposition of a state tax. And finally, inPage: Index Previous 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 Next
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