The Supreme Court’s consistent opposition to President Joe Biden’s administration has created substantial obstacles to his progressive agenda.
As reported by Conservative Brief News on Sunday, September 24, one particularly significant blow was dealt when the high court declared Biden’s $430 billion-plus student loan forgiveness plan unconstitutional earlier this year.
In the midst of upcoming cases involving gun rights, federal agency authority, and trademarking concerns, Moore v. United States stands out as a potential game-changer for Biden’s plans, especially concerning his ambition to tax the wealthy.
At the heart of this legal battle is a critical question, as posed by SCOTUS Blog: “Whether the 16th Amendment authorizes Congress to tax unrealized sums without apportionment among the states.”
This amendment was a groundbreaking development, granting the Legislative Branch the authority to impose income taxes, fundamentally reshaping the nation’s financial landscape.
Biden’s call for a “billionaire minimum tax” during his State of the Union address was a direct response to his desire to “reward work, not just wealth.”
This proposal aimed to impose a 25% annual tax on gains exceeding $100 million in a given year, even on unrealized capital gains, which are currently not taxable. The White House claimed that this tax would only affect the top 0.01% of the wealthiest individuals.
However, the prospects of this proposal were dim in a Republican-controlled House of Representatives, and it could face permanent dismissal if the Supreme Court deems it unconstitutional.
The specifics of the Moore case, although not centered around vast sums of money, delve into the core issues of taxation and the definition of “income.”
Charles and Kathleen Moore, a couple from Washington state, invested nearly $40,000 in an Indian company in 2005, yet they never received any returns or payments, despite the company’s consistent profitability.
Various groups, including the libertarian CATO Institute, filed amicus briefs in support of the case, contending that Biden’s actions would violate the Constitution.
They argue that the term “income,” as consistently interpreted by the Supreme Court since the ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment, refers to amounts realized within a specific accounting period.
Therefore, the court has historically treated the contemporaneous realization of income as a constitutional prerequisite for taxation without the apportionment requirement outlined in Article I.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the country’s largest business organization, also expressed concern about the potential redefinition of income.
They argued that if income can be so easily redefined, businesses and shareholders might become subject to taxes on virtually anything the government deems as income.
This shift in interpretation, they claim, could jeopardize the predictability and certainty that businesses rely on in tax laws.
In addition to the Moore case, the Supreme Court is set to hear several other cases in the upcoming term that could reshape federal administrative practices.
These cases will evaluate the constitutionality of an agency funding scheme exempt from congressional appropriations and oversight, as well as the practice of federal courts deferring to agency interpretations of the laws they enforce.
Furthermore, a case like SEC v. Jarkesy may potentially reinstate the right to a jury trial in administrative civil cases, marking a significant development in this area of the law.
The Supreme Court’s decisions in these cases hold the potential to significantly impact not only President Biden’s policy agenda but also the broader legal and administrative landscape in the United States.