WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court on Friday ruled against Virginia in a high-profile tax case, but stopped short of ordering the state to provide refunds to federal retirees who had successfully challenged the constitutionality of taxes assessed on their pensions.

In a 7-to-2 opinion delivered by Justice Clarence Thomas, the justices said that although they were reversing a ruling by the Virginia Supreme Court that held no tax refunds were necessary, "We do not enter judgment for petitioners because ... federal law does not necessarily entitle [the retirees] to a refund.

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