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Archive for Thursday, May 4, 2006

Internet tobacco sales subject of lawsuit

May 4, 2006

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— A group of cigarette distributors and sellers sued New York on Wednesday seeking to overturn a law banning Internet, telephone and mail order tobacco sales.

The suit by the Association of Responsible Cigarette Sellers, filed in state Supreme Court in Erie County, contends the 2000 state law violates the U.S. Constitution's commerce clause.

David McNamara, the group's attorney, said his case was bolstered by last year's U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down laws in New York and Michigan that banned wine shipments from out-of-state producers. The Constitution prohibits states from passing laws that discriminate against out-of-state businesses.

The group, based in Salamanca, N.Y., near the Seneca tribe, claims the law also violates the Indian Commerce Clause, which gives the federal government the sole right to regulate commerce with Indian tribes. Many Internet sellers are located on tribal reservations in western New York.

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