DaimlerChrysler Corp. v. Cuno - Oral Argument - March 01, 2006

DaimlerChrysler Corp. v. Cuno

Media for DaimlerChrysler Corp. v. Cuno

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - May 15, 2006 in DaimlerChrysler Corp. v. Cuno

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 01, 2006 in DaimlerChrysler Corp. v. Cuno

John G. Roberts, Jr.:

We'll hear argument first this morning in 04-1704, Chrysler versus... DaimlerChrysler versus Cuno, and 04-1724, Wilkins versus Cuno.

Mr. Olson.

Theodore B. Olson:

Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court--

Respondents dispute the wisdom, efficacy, and constitutionality of Ohio's franchise tax system, but they face two insurmountable obstacles in this Court.

First, they cannot demonstrate any actual, concrete, and direct injury as a result of Ohio's investment tax credit to satisfy the irreducible minimum requirement for standing in this Court.

Secondly, the facial Dormant Commerce Clause challenge that they bring is without merit.

Ohio imposes no burdens or tariffs on interstate commerce.

Its investment incentive program is available on equal terms to in State, out of State, local, or interstate businesses.

It is nondiscriminatory, and it stimulates, rather than impedes, commerce.

Respondents are not injured when a business with which they do not compete receives a reduction in their taxes as a result of a tax credit.

Respondents pay no higher taxes for products.

They suffer no coercion because of a tax credit that is given to others.

Their tax burden is not increased by Ohio's investment tax credit, nor will it be lessened if it is eliminated.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

Mr. Olson, who would have... who would have standing?

I understand your argument that Ohio taxpayers don't, but are there people who would have standing?

Theodore B. Olson:

I'm not sure, Justice Ginsburg.

In some of this Court's Dormant Commerce Clause cases, competitors, who are arguably injured because they are paying a higher tax against the... compared to the company that's receiving the benefit... in a couple of cases, this Court has recognized customers of companies that are paying higher products, and, therefore, potentially higher prices, for the products that they purchase.

And, in one or two cases, States have been recognized for purposes of standing.


Antonin Scalia:

You think there has to be somebody who can challenge it, though.

Theodore B. Olson:

--No, we don't think that at all.

As this Court--

Antonin Scalia:

Some of our opinions say that, don't they, that--

Theodore B. Olson:


Antonin Scalia:

--it's not necessarily true that there has to be--

Theodore B. Olson:

--What... Justice Scalia, I think the strongest statement is in the Valley Forge case, at page 489, where the Court said,

"If Respondents have no... the argument that if Respondents have no standing to sue, no one would have standing, is not a reason to find standing. "

This would convert "standing" into a requirement that must observed only when satisfied.

But the fact is that under any standard articulated by this Court in its Article III cases, the Respondents here do not have standing.

The effect of the tax is very