The Supreme Court justices on Wednesday considered whether the FederalAviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994 pre-empts a Maine lawaimed at blocking Internet sales of tobacco to minors. The partiesdisagreed sharply about whether Congress left the door open for stateregulation after the statute’s enactment, and also about the extent ofthe burden that air and ground carriers would bear in complying withMaine’s law.

Maine’s Tobacco Delivery Law requires that carriers check that packagescontaining tobacco products have been sent from licensed retailers andverify a purchaser’s age on delivery. The New Hampshire Motor TransportAssociation challenged the law, and the district court held that it waspre-empted by the FAAAA, which prohibits states from regulating therate, route or service of an air, ground or motor carrier. The 1st U.S.Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed.