The U.S. Supreme Court overturned an Iowa Supreme Court ruling today — handing the State of Iowa a victory in the lawsuit brought by the three racetrack casinos. The casinos sued over the 1994 law that taxes them at a higher rate than the riverboat casinos. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller argued the case before the nation’s high court.He said, “We’re elated, what a decision.” He says the decision by Justice Stephen Breyer was clear and the decision among the court was unanimous. In analyzing the decision, Miller says the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the idea that the law was passed for the sole purpose of helping the land-based casinos. Miller says Justice Breyer, who wrote the decision, says the Iowa Supreme Court got off the track, because legislation doesn’t usually have one purpose, it has many purposes. And the legislation often has many purposes. Miller says the issue now goes back to the Iowa court, which most likely will go along with the U.S. court’s opinion.He says it would be their hope that the Iowa Supreme Court wouldn’t alter the decision. Miller says there are some real obstacles to the Iowa court altering the decision. Miller says the Iowa court would have to change its argument to alter the U.S. court decision.He says the Iowa court’s main rationale was that the law had a single purpose and he says the U.S. court ruling totally undermines that idea, so the Iowa court would have to find a whole new rationale for changing the decision. Miller says the Iowa Supreme Court could do nothing, and then it would be up the Legislature to decide what happens next. The ruling means the state is due 30 to 40 million dollars in additional taxes from the past year. The state would continue collecting that additional tax unless some agreement is reached with the casinos to lower the tax rate. The casino operators turned down a compromise offered by the legislature on the tax rate earlier this year. One a personal note, Miller called the case one he will always remember. He says it is the “experience of a lifetime for me a as a lawyer to have a chance to argue a case before the Supreme Court.” Miller says the ruling also gave him some personal vindication after being criticized after the Iowa Supreme Court ruled against the state.
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