This year, the Court is poised to hear several big cases regarding tax law, the separation of powers, and administrative law, among other topics. Here’s a look at a few of the cases that Independent Women’s Law Center will weigh in on:
(1) In Moore v. United States, Kathleen and Charles Moore are challenging the constitutionality of the 2017 Tax Cut and Jobs Act (TCJA). The act, passed as part of Republicans’ comprehensive international tax reform, imposes taxes on individual shareholders for corporate profits they never received because those profits were reinvested in the company.
In 2005, the Moores made a relatively small investment in an India-based company, KisanKraft, that supplies power tools to individual Indian farmers to make their operations more productive. The Moores owned their shares in KisanKraft for more than a decade but never received any money from the company because KisanKraft reinvested all its earnings, expanding to serve farmers across India.
When the Moores received a $14,729 tax bill, they paid it but sued for a refund, arguing that the tax was unconstitutional. The lower courts rejected their claim, and the Supreme Court will now decide whether unrealized profits constitute “income” under the Sixteenth Amendment, which gave the federal government the power to levy an income tax.
In an amicus brief filed with the Court in September, IWLC argues that the law is an unconstitutional expansion of federal power and further explains how permitting the taxation of unrealized gains disproportionately harms women.
(2) Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo involves a challenge by family-owned fisheries to a federal regulation that forces them to pay the salaries of individuals they are required to bring on their fishing boats as federal monitors. The lower courts sided with the government, and Loper Bright is asking the high court to reconsider.
In its brief supporting cert, IWLC argued that unbridled deference to the executive not only violates our Constitution’s separation of powers but also poses a grave threat to small businesses across the nation—many of which are owned by women.
Under our Constitution, the democratically-elected branches of government, not unelected bureaucrats, are supposed to make the law. Yet Americans today are most often governed by rules established by hundreds of federal agencies poking into every nook and cranny of daily life. Loper Bright affords the Court an opportunity to revisit judicial deference to decisions by unelected bureaucrats, allowing lower courts to reign in abuses by the administrative state.
(3) In Securities and Exchange Commission v. Jarkesy, the Court will consider whether the SEC’s efforts to seek criminal penalties in administrative proceedings violate the Seventh Amendment right to trial by jury. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit held that it does. It also held that “Congress unconstitutionally delegated legislative power to the SEC by failing to give the SEC an intelligible principle by which to exercise [its] delegated power” and held that the “statutory removal restrictions” for administrative law judges at the SEC were unconstitutional. IWLC plans to weigh in, arguing that the case was correctly decided in the Court of Appeals and encouraging the Court to limit the scope of administrative proceedings generally.