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The Supreme Court is hearing arguments about whether a rule it announced decades ago in a case involving a catalog retailer should still apply in the age of the internet.

The case on Tuesday focuses on businesses' collection of sales tax on online purchases. Right now, under the decades-old Supreme Court rule, if a business is shipping a product to a state where it doesn't have an office, warehouse or other physical presence, it doesn't have to collect the state's sales tax. Customers are generally supposed to pay the tax to the state themselves, but the vast majority don't.

States say that as a result of the rule and the growth of internet shopping, they're losing billions of dollars in tax revenue every year. More than 40 states are asking the Supreme Court to abandon the rule.

Large retailers such as Apple, Macy's, Target and Walmart, which have brick-and-mortar stores nationwide, generally collect sales tax from their customers who buy online. But other online sellers that only have a physical presence in a few states can sidestep charging customers sales tax when they're shipping to addresses outside those states.

Sellers who defend the current rule say collecting sales tax nationwide is complex and costly, especially for small sellers. That complexity was a concern for the Supreme Court when it announced the physical presence rule in a case involving a catalog retailer in 1967, a rule it reaffirmed in 1992. But states say software has now made collecting sales tax easy.

The case the court is hearing has to do with a law passed by South Dakota in 2016, a law designed to challenge the Supreme Court's physical presence rule. The law requires out-of-state sellers who do more than $100,000 of business in the state or more than 200 transactions annually with state residents to collect and turn over sales tax to the state.

The state wanted out-of-state retailers to begin collecting the tax and sued Overstock.com, home goods company Wayfair and electronics retailer Newegg. The state has conceded in court, however, that it can only win by persuading the Supreme Court to do away with its current physical presence rule.


Visitors attending Supreme Court arguments surrender their electronics on entering the courtroom. So if something rings, chimes or buzzes, it's likely the device's owner is dressed in a black robe.

Last year, a justice's cellphone went off. But last month, when four electronic pings sounded during an argument, the device was different. It belonged to Justice Sonia Sotomayor and was alerting the justice, who is diabetic, that her blood sugar was urgently low.

The 63-year-old justice has had diabetes since childhood, but the sound was the first public notice that she was using a continuous glucose monitor.

Sotomayor's use of the device doesn't indicate a change in her health, experts told The Associated Press, but it does show her embracing a technology that has become more popular with Type 1 diabetics.

In 2013, when Sotomayor did an interview with the American Diabetes Association's "Diabetes Forecast," the magazine reported she was not using one. But in recent years the devices, which use sensors inserted under the skin, have become more accurate, said Cleveland Clinic endocrinologist Kevin Pantalone.

Monitors give users continuous information about glucose levels, rather than the snapshot they get from testing their blood with a finger prick. Information from the sensor gets sent every few minutes to a device where a user can see it charted. Most devices sound alarms at low and high glucose levels. Some monitors work with an insulin pump, which continuously delivers insulin.

It's not clear when Sotomayor began using the technology. She declined comment through a court spokeswoman. But the dinging during arguments on March 21 followed an incident in January where emergency medical personnel treated her at home for symptoms of low blood sugar.

Aaron Kowalski, an expert in diabetes technologies, said an event like that can prompt a person to try a monitor, but even people using the devices can experience low blood sugar that might result in an emergency call. Kowalski, who leads the research and advocacy efforts of JDRF, the Type 1 diabetes research organization, said about 15 percent to 20 percent of Type 1 diabetics now use such a device.


Missouri's former governor is urging the state Supreme Court to overturn a decision blocking a 780-mile power line that would carry wind energy across the Midwest.

Former Gov. Jay Nixon led arguments Tuesday before the high court on behalf Clean Line Energy Partners. The Houston-based company wants to build a $2.3 billion transmission line from western Kansas across Missouri and Illinois to an Indiana power grid serving eastern states.

Missouri regulators appointed by Nixon rejected the power line last year, citing a court ruling that they said first required utilities to get approval from local governments.

Nixon's term as governor ended in January 2017. Two of the seven judges hearing the case Tuesday had been appointed by Nixon. They didn't recuse but also did not ask questions.


Nick Young and Jordan Clarkson were not scheduled to speak at Julius Randle’s wedding. It was an elegant affair, bathed in white roses to celebrate a love that began almost instantly when Randle met Kendra Shaw at a friend’s party in college.

The friend who introduced them spoke at the reception. A coach who grew to be like a brother to Randle spoke. So did some childhood friends.

Then Young and Clarkson, lubricated by wedding wine and the firm belief that the wedding guests expected their shenanigans, got an idea. They loved Randle. The people needed to hear them, they presumed. Together, they took the microphone.

Clarkson, then Randle’s teammate with the Lakers, declared he couldn’t stand Randle when they first met. Randle’s punishing style of play in high school irked Clarkson’s friends who played against him back in Texas. Just as Randle’s mother reared up to protect her sweet baby boy, Clarkson finished, saying as he got to know Randle as part of the same Lakers rookie class in 2014, he learned Randle would do anything for his friends and loved ones.


The Philippine government's legal counsel asked the Supreme Court on Monday to expel the chief justice for allegedly not declaring her assets, in a new attempt to remove the nation's judicial leader.

Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, who President Rodrigo Duterte has long wanted to be removed, went on leave from the 15-member court last week. That move came after 13 of her colleagues, including some who have publicly criticized her, forged a consensus that she should take an indefinite leave amid an impeachment attempt against her in the House of Representatives.

The House, which is dominated by Duterte's allies, is expected to impeach her this month based on several allegations filed by a lawyer, including her failure to file her annual statements of assets and liabilities as required by law. If she's impeached, the Senate will turn itself into an impeachment court for her trial.

Sereno and her lawyers have said she could be removed only if convicted in the impeachment trial.

"They are horribly wrong," Solicitor General Jose Calida said at a news conference.

Calida filed a petition before the Supreme Court justices questioning Sereno's eligibility for her position after she allegedly failed to file the required annual statement of assets and liabilities 10 times.

"The constitution insists that a member of the judiciary must be a person of proven competence, integrity, probity and independence," Calida told reporters. "Unfortunately, for respondent Sereno, she flunked the test of integrity when she failed to file more or less 10 SALNs."

In the petition, Calida said the Judicial Bar Council, which recommends candidates for chief justice to the president, recommended Sereno for the office despite her failure to submit her asset declarations between 1986 and 2006, when she served as a professor in the College of Law at the state-run University of the Philippines.

A report to the Judicial Bar Council mistakenly reported Sereno has complete requirements, and that misled the council into including her in the final list of candidates for chief justice, the petition said.

Sereno has declared all her income and paid the corresponding taxes, her spokesman said.


The alleged victims of the most senior Vatican official ever charged in the Catholic Church sex abuse crisis began giving testimony to an Australian court on Monday.

Australian Cardinal George Pell wore his clerical collar for the first day of the hearing in the Melbourne Magistrate Court to determine whether prosecutors have sufficient evidence to put him on trial. The committal hearing is scheduled to take up to a month.

Pope Francis' former finance minister was charged in June of last year with sexually abusing multiple people in his Australian home state of Victoria. The details of the allegations against the cardinal have yet to be released to the public, though police have described the charges as "historical" sexual assault offenses - meaning the crimes that are alleged to have occurred decades ago.

Monday's testimony of alleged victims was suppressed from publication and the courtroom was closed to the public and media.

Their testimony, which is expected to take up to two weeks, proceeded for two hours before the court was adjourned until Tuesday morning.

Prosecutor Mark Gibson had earlier told Magistrate Belinda Wallington that the complainants would give evidence by a video link.

Wallington gave permission for one of complainants to be accompanied by what Gibson described a "support dog" while giving evidence.

Defense lawyer Robert Richter questioned whether the dog was necessary, saying, "I always thought that dogs were for children and very old people."

Wallington replied, "No, they're also there for vulnerable and traumatized people."

Pell was flanked by police and defense lawyer Paul Galbally as he walked through a large group of media and into the court security screening area. He was silent as he entered, though he indicated to a security guard he had no objection to the routine security pat-down of Pell's light-colored jacket, black shirt and black trousers.



A Rhode Island court has been flooded with people contesting speeding tickets after a new school zone speed camera program resulted in 12,000 tickets in 33 days.

WPRI-TV reports more than 2,600 tickets were on the docket Monday at Providence Municipal Court, which usually has about 300 people on the daily docket. The courtroom holds 90 people.

A court spokesperson says not everyone is expected to show up. Public Safety Commissioner Stephen Pare (PAYR'-ee) says they're working to ensure everything runs smoothly.

The station reported last week that the city issued 12,193 tickets between Jan. 16 and Feb. 22 from five new speed cameras. The tickets cost $95 each and can be issued when a vehicle is caught traveling at least 11 miles per hour over the posted speed limit at certain times.



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