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Judge rules in CLIA-Juneau lawsuit

A U.S. District Court judge in Alaska has ruled in the lawsuit between Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and Juneau over the city's use of head tax revenue. The ruling was generally in favor of the cruise industry. While the judge ruled that such passenger fees are constitutional, he said they may only be used in ways that directly benefit the ships.

CLIA filed the lawsuit against the city in April 2016 over what it said were improper uses of passenger fees that violated the Tonnage Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The flashpoint for the lawsuit was construction of an artificial island to serve as the site of a new whale statue.

In his ruling, the judge laid out a rationale for what would be considered proper use of head tax revenues: "Passenger benefits are not relevant. The proper question as to each category of expenditure by defendants is: Does the expenditure provide a service to a vessel? If the answer is yes, the expenditure is constitutional. If the answer is no, the expenditure is unconstitutional under the Tonnage Clause," the judge wrote.

CBM 2018/2019 Winter