Author Archives: Jason Zarin

Same-Sex Marriage Cases

The Supreme Court this morning released its opinions in the two same-sex marriage cases:

United States v. Windsor. Holding 5-4 (Kennedy, J.) that section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act violates equal protection under the 5th Amendment and accordingly is unconstitutional.

Hollingsworth v. Perry. Holding 5-4 (Roberts, C.J.) that the Proposition 8 proponents lacked standing and vacating the decision of the 9th Circuit.

Tax Exempt Organization Returns Online and Easily Searchable

In November, we posted about the IRS’s digital release of 10 years’ worth of tax-exempt organization returns, which contained more than 6.5 million documents.

ProPublica, a news organization that “produces investigative journalism in the public interest,” has now launched an easy-to-use search engine for these returns. You can search by keyword, state, non-profit category, and organization type (e.g., 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4))

For example, if you’re interested in the current IRS controversy, searching on “Tea Party”, “constitution”, or “patriot” will pull up information on numerious 501(c)(4) orgainizations and links to pdf scans of their Form 990 returns.

Tax Analysts Publications Back Issues

The Tax Analysts database ( provides electronic access to back issues of their publications. (Please be sure to use the proxy link from the library rather than go to the website directly — even when on campus.)

To access the back issues, you can “browse archives by date” or do an advanced search. Be sure when doing an advanced search to change the date range from the default (2008) to the years you are interested in.

Tax Analysts enables searching on the entire publication run of their newsletters from the first issue.

“Browse archives by date” lets you read full issues of:

  • Tax Notes: 2001 –

  • Tax Notes Today: 2012 –

  • Tax Notes International: 2001 –

  • Worldwide Tax Daily: 2012 –

  • State Tax Notes: 2000 –

  • State Tax Today: 2012 –

The Library also has a nearly complete collection of the back issues of Tax Notes (starting from volume 4) and full runs of the back issues of Tax Notes International and State Tax Notes in print.

If the Equal Justice Film Festival whet your appetite for more…

Consider borrowing the Library’s latest-acquired TV series on DVD: Garrow’s Law. This BBC courtroom drama is based on the life of Sir William Garrow (1760–1840) and features trials based on actual Old Bailey trial transcripts. The three-season series is a short twelve episodes, perfect for a study break.

DVD cover - from

Willliam Garrow was a pioneering criminal defense lawyer during a period in British history in which defendants (and their counsel) had few rights. Evidence rules were scant; defense lawyers were not permitted to address the jury; and defendants could not make their own defense. Cross-examination was the only the only tool available. Through his strenuous and agressive advocacy both in and outside the courtroom, Garrow helped transform the British criminal justice system (and influenced the US’s) into one with a more-developed law of evidence, a clearer set of rights for felony criminal defendants, and a presumption of innocence until convicted by a jury beyond a reasonable doubt.

 (photo from

Supreme Court Decision in Kirtsaeng

The Supreme Court today announced its decision in Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Kirtsaeng was an enterprising Cornell student, who asked his relatives in Thailand to ship him cheaply-published textbooks, which he resold in the United States, undercutting the exclusive U.S. publisher’s editions sold at the university bookstore. The Court, in a 6-3 decision, held that the First Sale doctrine of copyright law applies to permit the resale of these “gray market” imported textbooks. 

Justice Breyer wrote the majority opinion (joined by Justices Roberts, Thomas, Sotomayor, Alito, and Kagan). Justice Kagan filed a concurrance (joined by Justice Alito). Justice Ginsburg filed the dissent, which was joined by Justices Scalia and Kennedy.

Will the opening of a “global marketplace” for textbooks ultimately lower prices for students?

Dreaming of a White House job?

Professor Rosa Brooks has written an “unofficial” guide to getting a political job in the Obama administration in the latest issue of Foreign Policy. Of course, her tips on networking are important for obtaining a great job, whether you dream of working on 16th and Pennsylvania or 16th and K Street.

For more job-searching resources available in the Library, please consult the Library’s Job-Searching Research Guide.

Tax Preparation Resources

Preparing your own taxes? Several resources in the Bloomberg Law Tax Practice Center that may be of particular interest for your own return preparation are “BNA Bloomberg Fast Answers: Federal Tax” and the “Tax Practice Series.” Fast Answers provides quick, brief, explanations of common tax issues, and the Tax Practice Series provides additional detail in an easy-to-use format.

If you get audited, Bloomberg Law also has the “IRS Practice Adviser” with helpful instructions on the audit and appeals process, calculating interest and penalties, and collection.  

All three resources are in the “BNA Portfolios and Analysis” section of the Tax Practice Center.  

Although some of these same materials are available in the Bloomberg BNA Library database, the interface is significantly easier to use on Bloomberg Law.  

Students and faculty interested in requesting an account on Bloomberg Law may obtain one by following the instructions available in the Library’s catalog.


Happy 100th Anniversary, 16th Amendment!

Tax FormToday, February 3, marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 16th Amendment, which gave Congress the power to create an income tax. Shortly thereafter, Congress enacted the Income Tax Law of 1913, 38 Stat. 114 (Oct. 3, 1913) — the first of many! (The income tax provisions start on page 166)

The 1913 Form 1040 return was the picture of simplicity and was only 4 pages, including instructions. An annual exemption of $3,000 (the equivalent of $70,000 today!) enabled most Americans to escape the 1%–6% tax.

The legislative history of the Income Tax Law of 1913 is available in Seidman’s legislative history of federal income tax laws, 1938-1861, which the Library has in its print collection. An extensive collection of pre-compiled legislative histories of federal tax laws is available on Hein Online in the “Taxation & Economic Reform in America Parts I & II, 1781–2012” library.

Photo: IRS 1040 Tax Form Being Filled Out by kenteegardin CC by SA 2.0

Big Data and the Law: Prof. Teitelbaum and Risk Preferences

The Georgetown Law Library’s symposium, Big Data and Big Challenges for Law and Legal Information, will explore a range of topics related to the applications of big data in legal scholarship, practice, and policy.

One of our panelists, Professor Joshua Teitelbaum, will provide a fascinating introduction to risk preferences, and how data sets can illuminate why people choose certain insurance policies or 401(k) investment strategies over others. 

To learn more about Professor Teitelbaum’s research and scholarship in this area, see Joshua C. Teitelbaum, et al., The Nature of Risk Preferences: Evidence from Insurance Choices, American Economic Review (forthcoming), and Joshua C. Teitelbaum, et al., Unlucky or Risky? Unobserved Heterogeneity and Experience Rating in Insurance Markets  (working paper),  and watch the symposium live online on Wednesday, January 30.


Bloomberg Law’s Tax Practice Center

Bloomberg Law has added Taxation to its Practice Center interface. The Tax Practice Center provides ready access to

  • Primary statutory and regulatory tax materials, including the Internal Revenue Code, Treasury Regulations, and IRS administrative guidance
  • Tax case decisions and dockets, including the United States Tax Court
  • BNA Tax Management Portfolios
  • Practicing Law Institute treatises
  • Selected tax journals
  • M&A and related transactional forms and agreements


Students and faculty interested in requesting an account on Bloomberg Law may obtain one by following the instructions available in the Library’s catalog.