NEW YORK (AP) _ A federal judge has ruled that a state law banning online cigarette sales is unconstitutional, despite its ``commendable'' intentions.
U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska on Friday ordered a permanent halt to the law's enforcement after a five-day trial that ended April 30.
She had blocked enforcement of the law temporarily in November after a preliminary study of the arguments offered by Brown & Williamson Tobacco Corp. in a lawsuit in New York City.
``While the statute is a reasonable, indeed commendable, solution by a concerned governor and a responsive legislature to certain pressing problems facing New Yorkers, that is not the test imposed by the Constitution,'' she wrote.
Rhode Island enacted a law in November 2000 forcing merchants to obtain valid identification and signatures from customers buying cigarettes over the Internet.