Arkansas Times Case

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The trial between Arkansas Times and the Commissioner of Revenue finally came to a close today after three years.
Arkansas Times is a magazine published in Arkansas that includes articles about many different subjects ranging from religion to sports. The state of Arkansas exempts “religious, professional, trade and sports journals and/or publications printed and published within [the] State…” from paying sales taxes. However, Arkansas Times was not included in the exemption and the magazine felt that their First Amendment rights were infringed upon and felt discriminated against as well.
“If we print in Arkansas and write about sports and even religion then I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t be exempt from the tax,” Kevin Hanson, an editor for Arkansas Times told us before the final trial decision.
In 1980, the Commissioner of Revenue put a tax on the sales of Arkansas Times, which the magazine immediately
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They decided to take their case even further and took it to the United States Supreme Court, hoping to overturn the previous cases that were held at the state level.
“We feel that we have a strong case. Arkansas Times is being discriminated against and the state isn’t treating it the same as they are other magazines and newspapers from Arkansas,” the attorney for Arkansas Times told the press before walking into the final hearing. “It’s a discriminatory tax and violates the first amendment.”
The United States Supreme Court reversed the order from the Arkansas Supreme Court, finding in favor of the magazine. The court felt that the government was discriminating against Arkansas Times based upon their content, which goes against the First Amendment.
“It took longer than we thought but it was all worth it in the long run. The court did the right thing in the end and hopefully our case can help another newspaper or magazine that feels discriminated against,” Hanson told us after hearing the final
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