What Is Justice Souter’s Record on Tax Cases?
Retiring U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter will be remembered for many things: being President George H.W. Bush’s “stealth nominee,” a propensity to dissent, and his controversial deciding vote to approve the use of eminent domain for private purposes in Kelo v. City of New London. In cases involving taxation Justice Souter will be remembered for his antipathy. When asked why he sang along with the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist at the Court’s annual Christmas party, he responded, “I have to. Otherwise I get all the tax cases.”
It is not surprising, then, that Justice Souter’s contribution to tax jurisprudence is not as significant as those of his colleagues. However, as he leaves the bench it is worth reflecting on his votes and opinions in key tax cases.