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January 11, 2022 In the Stacks

Tax Section Publishes The Supreme Court, Federal and State Taxation, and the Constitution

This fall, the ABA Tax Section published The Supreme Court, Federal and State Taxation, and the Constitution, an updated edition of the 2013 book by Jasper L. Cummings, Jr. The book is a comprehensive review of the intersection of the Constitution and taxation going back to the earliest years of the United States.

Citing Supreme Court cases, Cummings organizes and categorizes the opinions for accessibility by practitioners and others involved in law practice, law making, and legal scholarship. The decisions cited include, for example, a detailed analysis of the 25 Court cases that ruled a federal tax provision unconstitutional. Another chapter discusses the 121 decisions related to the intergovernmental immunity doctrine. And a thoroughly researched chapter explores the Court’s 2012 decision in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius. The new edition is updated to account for more recent rulings such as United States v. Windsor, Dawson v. Steager, Bond v. United States, and United States v. Davila.

The new edition also includes a large new chapter on the Court’s state tax decisions under the Constitution, including the remarkable number of them in just the last decade. Cummings makes this manageable by synthesizing the current principles applied by the Court, with appropriate citations, rather than debating the wisdom of various rulings.

“I was specifically motivated to revise and expand the book by the seeming morass of Supreme Court state tax opinions,” notes Cummings. “I won a Supreme Court state tax case that involved obsoleting an early authority that appeared to support the tax, which in fact violated the Commerce Clause. The problem of obsolete decisions, plus the facts that the Supreme Court basically made up the constitutional law of state taxation from the scantiest constitutional provisions, leads most commentators to build each subject from the ground up, working through all the stages of the Court’s development. While fascinating, that approach does not make for knowing what the law currently is, which I have tried to do in this revision.”

The contents are made accessible by a detailed table of contents that includes more than 200 entries making it easy for readers to find topics and subtopics, plus a table of cases that indexes nearly 2,000 decisions cited in the book. Written for appellate litigators, tax litigators, general tax practitioners, and constitutional law experts, this new edition will be be invaluable to understanding the Court’s rulings on federal and state taxation.

“We are happy to publish the update to this unique resource book,” said Roberta Mann, Vice Chair, Publications. “While other texts and treatises cover selected Supreme Court tax cases, Jack Cummings’ comprehensive analysis can be found nowhere else.”

The Supreme Court, Federal and State Taxation, and the Constitution is available for purchase in the ABA Store in paperback and ebook formats.