CAMPS NEWFOUND/OWATONNA v. HARRISON

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Case Basics
Docket No. 
94-1988
Petitioner 
Camps Newfound/Owatonna
Respondent 
Harrison
Advocates
(Argued the cause for the respondents)
(Argued the cause for the petitioner)
Tags
Term:
Facts of the Case 

Camps Newfound/Owatonna Inc. (Camps) operates a children's church camp in Maine and finances its operations through a $400 per camper weekly tuition charge. The majority of its campers are out of state children. Maine's tax scheme exempts charitable institutions incorporated in the state, and provides a more limited tax benefit for institutions which principally benefit non- Maine residents so long as their weekly service charge does not exceed $30 per person. Ineligible for any exemptions, Camps challenged the constitutionality of Maine's tax exemption statute. The U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari following a reversal of a favorable Superior Court ruling by the Supreme Court of Maine.

Question 

Did Maine's tax exemption statute violate the Commerce Clause?

Conclusion 
Decision: 5 votes for Camps Newfound/Owatonna, 4 vote(s) against
Legal provision: Article 1, Section 8, Paragraph 3: Interstate Commerce Clause

Yes. In a 5-to-4 opinion, the Court held that Maine's tax exemption statute violated the dormant commerce clause since it selectively awarded greater tax benefits to those institutions which served mostly state residents, while penalizing institutions that conducted mostly interstate business. By imposing such selective benefits on a commercial activity in which it did not directly participate, the Court found Maine's governmental tax regulations to be an unconstitutional form of economic protectionism favoring local consumers and business providers.

Cite this Page
CAMPS NEWFOUND/OWATONNA v. HARRISON. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 04 April 2014. <http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1996/1996_94_1988>.
CAMPS NEWFOUND/OWATONNA v. HARRISON, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1996/1996_94_1988 (last visited April 4, 2014).
"CAMPS NEWFOUND/OWATONNA v. HARRISON," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed April 4, 2014, http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1996/1996_94_1988.