Last week, we began our look at the Court’s recent history with tax cases and attorney disciplinary matters. This week, we’re taking a closer look, using four metrics: (1) does the Court tend to take cases in this area of law won by one side or the other more often; (2) is the Court more likely to reverse one side or the other’s wins; and (3) irrespective of who won below, does the Court reverse in this area of the law more often than it does overall, suggesting that some districts of the Appellate Court might be out of sync with the Court’s views in the area?
Since 1990, 55% of the Court’s tax law cases were won by the party challenging the tax below. The Court reversed 45.45% of challengers’ wins, but only 16.67% of the government wins it heard. In Table 832, we chart the yearly number of cases in which a challenger’s win below was affirmed by the Court.
The Court affirmed once in 1990, twice in 1998, once in 1999, 2000, 2004 and 2005, twice in 2007 and once in 2008, 2010 and 2011.
The Court reversed one challenger’s win in 1996, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2006 and 2011. The Court reversed twice in 2013 and once each in 2015 and 2017.
The Court affirmed two government wins in tax cases in 1994, one in 1995, two in 1998, one each in 1999 and 2000, two in 2001, one in 2007 and 2008 and two in 2009 and 2010.
As I noted above, reversals of government wins in tax cases have been few and far between. The Court reversed once in 1990, once in 2005 and once in 2009 – that’s it.
Overall, the Court has reversed in whole or in part only 34.15% of its tax cases. The Court reversed only 20% of its cases from 1990 to 1995, and only 20% from 1996 to 2000. The Court reversed 42.86% of its tax cases between 2001 and 2005, but only 16.67% from 2006 to 2010. Surprisingly, the Court has reversed entirely in 57.14% of its tax cases since 2010, and if partial reversals are included, the rate rises to 85.71%.
Join us back here tomorrow as we review the Court’s decisions in attorney disciplinary cases.