Tax Law

Direct Marketing v. Brohl - Post-Decision SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 4-14-15 featuring Kristin Gutting
Kristin Gutting April 14, 2015

On March 3, 2015, the Supreme Court decided Direct Marketing Association v. Brohl.  This case involves a Colorado law requiring retailers who do not collect Colorado sales or use tax to notify Colorado customers of their use-tax liability and to report tax-related information to customers and the Colorado Department of Revenue.  A trade association of online retailers filed suit in federal district court to challenge the law, and obtained an injunction against its enforcement.  On appeal, however, the Tenth Circuit reversed that judgment, holding that the Tax Injunction Act deprived the district court of jurisdiction over the case.  The question before the Supreme Court is whether the Act did indeed bar the online retailers’ suit.

In a unanimous opinion delivered by Justice Thomas, the Court held that the Tax Injunction Act did not bar the trade association's lawsuit.  The judgment of the Tenth Circuit was therefore reversed and the case remanded.  Justice Kennedy filed a concurring opinion.  Justice Ginsburg filed a concurring opinion, which Justice Breyer joined, and which Justice Sotomayor joined in part. 

To discuss the case, we have Kristin Gutting, an associate professor of law at the Charleston School of Law. 

King v. Burwell: U.S. Supreme Court Preview of the Next Challenge to the Affordable Care Act - Event Audio/Video

Federalism & Separation of Powers Practice Group
Jonathan H. Adler, Simon Lazarus, Carrie Severino, Robert N. Weiner, Robert Barnes, Dean A. Reuter February 26, 2015

On March 4, 2015 the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on King v. Burwell. The Federalist Society proudly hosts a panel discussion ahead of the oral arguments. King v. Burwell focuses on whether the Internal Revenue Service may permissibly promulgate regulations to extend tax-credit subsidies to coverage purchased through exchanges established by the federal government under Section 1321 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.


  • Prof. Jonathan H. Adler, Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law; Director, Center for Business Law and Regulation, Case Western Reserve University School of Law
  • Mr. Simon Lazarus, Senior Counsel, Constitutional Accountability Center
  • Ms. Carrie Severino, Chief Counsel and Policy Director, Judicial Crisis Network
  • Mr. Robert N. Weiner, Arnold & Porter LLP
  • Moderator: Mr. Robert Barnes, Reporter, The Washington Post
  • Introduction: Mr. Dean A. Reuter, Vice President & Director of Practice Groups, The Federalist Society

National Press Club
Washington, DC

Alabama Department of Revenue v. CSX Transportation - Post-Argument SCOTUScast

SCOTUScast 12-17-14 - featuring Andy Grewal
Andy Grewal December 17, 2014

On December 9, 2014, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Alabama Department of Revenue v. CSX Transportation. The question presented in the case is twofold: (1) whether a state violates the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 (4-R Act) by “discriminating against a rail carrier” when it requires rail carriers to pay a sales-and-use tax but exempts railroads’ competitors from paying the same tax; and (2) whether, in resolving a claim of unlawful tax discrimination under the 4-R Act, a court should consider the state's broader tax system rather than focusing only on the challenged tax provision.

To discuss the case, we have Andy Grewal, who is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Iowa College of Law.

Saving Congress from Itself: Emancipating the states & Empowering Their People - Event Video

2014 National Lawyers Convention
James L. Buckley, John C. Eastman, Michael S. Greve, Robert R. Gasaway November 17, 2014

Saving Congress from Itself proposes a single reform: eliminate all federal grants-in-aid to state and local governments. This action would reduce federal spending by over $600 billion a year and have a profound effect on how we govern ourselves. The proliferation of federal grants-in-aid programs is of recent vintage: only about 100 such grants existed before Lyndon Johnson took office, and now they number more than 1,100. Eliminating grants to the states will result in enormous savings in federal and state administrative costs; free states to set their own priorities; and improve the design and implementation of programs now subsidized by Washington by eliminating federal regulations that attend the grants. In short, it will free states and their subdivisions to resume full responsibility for all activities that fall within their competence, such as education, welfare, and highway construction and maintenance. And because members of Congress spend major portions of their time creating grants and allocating funds assigned to them (think earmarks), eliminating grants will enable Congress to devote its time to responsibilities that are uniquely national in character.

The Federalist Society's Practice Groups presented this closing discussion on "Saving Congress from Itself: Emancipating the States & Empowering Their People" on Saturday, November 15, during the 2014 National Lawyers Convention.


  • Hon. James L. Buckley, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (ret.) and former U.S. Senator
  • Dr. John C. Eastman, Henry Salvatori Professor of Law and Community Service; Former Dean (2007 – 2010); and Director, Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, Dale E Fowler School of Law, Chapman University
  • Prof. Michael S. Greve, Professor of Law, George Mason University School of Law
  • Moderator: Mr. Robert R. Gasaway, Partner, Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Mayflower Hotel
Washington, DC

Showcase Panel II: Intergenerational Equity and Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, and Pensions - Event Video

2014 National Lawyers Convention
Christopher C. DeMuth, John O. McGinnis, David A. Weisbach, Frank H. Easterbrook November 17, 2014

Several major federal programs directly tax the young to provide benefits to the elderly.  This is a main feature of the Affordable Care Act, the Social Security System as it currently works, and of the laws guaranteeing pensions.  In addition, the national debt raises intergenerational equity issues.  What obligations do these debts impose on the young?  Are they all of a piece or are the answers different in each case?  Is it true that this generation is likely to be poorer than the previous one?  What role does our legal system play in this?  How will the law address pensions that contribute to bankrupting cities or states?  What is the nature of the Social Security contract?

The Federalist Society's Practice Groups presented this showcase panel on "Intergenerational Equity and Social Security, Medicare, Obamacare, and Pensions" on Friday, November 14, during the 2014 National Lawyers Convention.


  • Hon. Christopher C. DeMuth, Distinguished Fellow, Hudson Institute, Inc., and former Administrator for Information and Regulatory Affairs, U.S. Office of Management and Budget
  • Prof. John O. McGinnis, George C. Dix Professor in Constitutional Law, Northwestern University School of Law
  • Prof. David A. Weisbach, Walter J. Blum Professor of Law and Senior Fellow, The Computation Institute of the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory
  • Moderator: Hon. Frank H. Easterbrook, U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

Mayflower Hotel
Washington, DC