For what it's worth

The U.S. Supreme Court took a break from accepting "gifts" from billionaires the other day to decide one of the two federal tax cases it has before it this term. This one was the case I wrote about a couple of months ago, where my name came up (with those of some other law professors) in the oral argument.

It was a unanimous decision. The IRS won in a dispute involving the valuation of a closely held company's stock. Everbody's favorite guy, Justice Clarence Thomas, wrote a short, direct opinion. Alas, he didn't cite any of my erudite scholarship. But thank goodness, he and the other justices got the answer correct, agreeing with us academics. It was an open-and-shut case.

Less straightforward is the Court's other federal tax case. Depending on what the opinion says on that one, the Supremes could upset the entire tax system. That decision might get released this Thursday or Friday; we'll see. I hope there's a majority opinion, and not one of those disaster areas where there aren't five votes for any theory of the case. And I hope, even more fervently than in the easy case, that the government wins.