The Supreme Court granted certiorari on June 26 with respect to the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Moore v. United States. The question presented is whether the section 965 transition tax is a “direct tax” that violates the Apportionment Clause of the US Constitution.

The Supreme Court has not invalidated a federal tax on constitutional grounds since Eisner v. Macomber, over a century ago. The last time the Supreme Court addressed the direct tax clause, in the Affordable Care Act case NFIB v. Sebelius, it required only a few paragraphs to hold that a tax on the condition of not having health insurance was not a direct tax. The opinion in NFIB was written by Chief Justice Roberts and joined by four other members of the court, two of whom (Justices Sotomayor and Kagan) are still on the bench.

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