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Thomas v. Network Solutions

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Citation Edit

Thomas v. Network Solutions, Inc. 176 F.3d 500 (D.D.C. 1999) (full-text).

Factual Background Edit

The plaintiffs sued to block the National Science Foundation (NSF) from spending some $60 million collected by Network Solutions, Inc. in connection with domain name registration fees. The “Intellectual Infrastructure Fund” was created to help fund future government Internet projects.

Trial Court Proceedings Edit

The court originally issued a preliminary injunction to stop the NSF from spending any of the money, holding that the tax was unconstitutional, since it had not been imposed by Congress, as required by the Constitution. Thereafter, Congress passed a law which “legalized and ratified” the fee.

In light of the congressional action, the court held that the fee was a constitutional tax “even though the congressional approval might postdate the initial imposition and collection of the tax.”

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