History and tradition, the key to recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions on abortion and guns, may not be enough to save a Pennsylvania law automatically subjecting nonresident corporations to the state’s personal jurisdiction simply by registering to do business in the state.

The justices on Tuesday heard arguments in Mallory v. Norfolk Southern Railway, a case in which Robert Mallory, a Virginia resident, sued the railroad in Pennsylvania, alleging he developed colon cancer from exposure to asbestos and other toxic substances while working for the railroad in Ohio and Virginia.