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U.S. Supreme Court

American Trucking Assns. v. Gray, 483 U.S. 1306 (1987)

American Trucking Associations, Inc. v. Gray

No. A-100

Decided August 14, 1987

483 U.S. 1306


An application by the American Trucking Assns., Inc., et al. (ATA) for an injunction requiring respondent Arkansas state officials to establish an escrow fund in which payments of the State Highway Use Equalization (HUE) Tax shall be placed, pending a final decision on the validity under the Commerce Clause of the Federal Constitution of that tax, is granted. After the State Supreme Court sustained the tax's constitutionality in a suit by ATA, this Court vacated that judgment and remanded for further consideration in light of the decision in American Trucking Assns., Inc. v. Scheiner, ante p. 483 U. S. 266, that two Pennsylvania flat highway use taxes violated the Commerce Clause, whereupon the state court denied ATA's application for temporary escrow relief pending a decision. In light of ATA's and respondents' submissions, there is a "significant possibility" that ATA will succeed on the merits of its challenge to the HUE tax, the effect of which is substantially similarly to that of the Pennsylvania taxes invalidated in Scheiner. Moreover, the equities favor the issuance of the requested injunction, since there is a likelihood that applicants will otherwise suffer irreparable injury, in that motor carriers refusing to pay the HUE tax will be barred from the State's highways during the pendency of this case, while carriers that pay the tax may be unable to obtain a refund if the tax ultimately is declared unconstitutional. Conversely, respondents will not be irreparably injured by the issuance of the injunction, which involves only a temporary withholding of revenues, rather than a refund.

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