Monday, May 23, 2011

Order for supplemental briefing in the Fourth Circuit cases

The Fourth Circuit panel deciding Virginia v. Sebelius and Liberty University v. Geithner has issued an order requesting supplemental briefing on questions that concern the court's jurisdiction. Here is the text of the order, identical in both cases:
The court directs the parties to file supplemental briefs, not to exceed 10 pages, by the close of business on May 31, 2011 addressing the following questions: 
1. When applicable, does the Anti-Injunction Act, 26 U.S.C. § 7421(a), deprive a federal court of subject-matter jurisdiction? See J.L. Enochs v. Williams Packing & Navigation Co., 370 U.S. 1, 5-8 (1962). If so, does it divest federal courts of jurisdiction in this case? See Bob Jones University v. Simon, 416 U.S. 725, 736-48 (1974). 
2. Can a court determine that a challenged exaction qualifies as a “tax” for purposes of the Anti-Injunction Act without reaching the question of whether the exaction qualifies as a “tax” for purposes of Art. I, § 8, cl. 1? Compare Bailey v. George, 259 U.S. 16 (1922), with Bailey v. Drexel Furniture Co., 259 U.S. 20 (1922). 
3. Assuming the Anti-Injunction Act does apply in this case, does a plaintiff have the ability to challenge the exaction provided by § 5000A in a refund suit or otherwise? See 26 U.S.C. § 7422(a); 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331, 1340, 1346. 
Entered at the direction of Judge Motz with the concurrence of Judge Davis and Judge Wynn.
A fascinating development. Who knows how this will all unfold, of course, but--combining this with what the Sixth Circuit panel is considering in Thomas More Law Center--it is starting to become conceivable that no circuit court is going to issue a decision on the merits any time soon.

You can find the the order for supplemental briefing in Virginia v. Sebelius here.

And you can find the the order for supplemental briefing in Liberty University v. Geithner here.