Monday, April 15, 2024

Daniel L. Power Died 8/12/23 (4/15/24)

A DOJ Tax Alum sent me the obituary of Daniel L. Powers’ death last year on 8/12/23. The obituary is here According to my database of Alumni, Dan served as a Trial Attorney in Refund 1 from 1965-1971.

The obituary reports on his DOJ Tax service that he: “eventually became a Trial Attorney in the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, where over the course of six-and-a-half years tried over 250 civil tax refund suits before 40 different Federal District Court judges across the Midwest.”

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Faust Frank Rossi Died 3/6/24 (3/17/24)

Faust Frank Rossi died on 3/6/24. His obituary is here. It is quite a record of accomplishment.

The obit described his time at DOJ Tax as follows:

He graduated from Cornell Law School in 1960 and began his legal career as a trial attorney with the United States Department of Justice Honors Program in Washington, DC.

I was also interested in his teaching at Cornell Law School starting in the 1960s. Here is an excerpt:

In 1966, Faust joined the faculty of Cornell Law School where he taught Evidence, Civil Procedure, and Trial Advocacy. He was an enormously popular and energetic teacher. He brought the law to life for generations of students with memorable hypotheticals populated by purported denizens of his “old neighborhood,” Spano, Mrs. Garibaldi, Delvecchio, Madge, Yukel, and baby Grutz. He was a national winner of the Roscoe Pound Jacobson Award for Excellence in Teaching Trial Advocacy. It is estimated that Faust taught more students at Cornell Law School than any other professor in its 137-year history. He also served as the Associate Academic Dean. When he retired from Cornell Law School in 2013, The School honored Faust’s career by naming one of its annual moot court competitions The Faust F. Rossi Moot Court Competition.

Throughout his career, Faust authored and co-authored numerous books including Expert Witnesses, Evidence for the Trial Lawyer, and The New York Evidence Handbook. In 2016, Faust authored with Professor Glenn C. Altschuler, the acclaimed book Ten Great American Trials: Lessons in Advocacy. Faust gave hundreds of Continuing Legal Education lectures to lawyers and judges in the United States and Europe. He reached over a hundred thousand law students with his popular bar review lectures and nationally distributed "Law School Legends" audio and video series on Evidence. Faust was a recurring visiting professor at the Central European University in Budapest and a regular faculty member in the joint Cornell/Paris 1 Summer Institute of International and Comparative Law. During his career he was a visiting law professor at Oxford University, the University of Siena, New York University, Emory University, University of San Diego, and Georgetown University. He also taught for many years at the annual National Institute for Trial Advocacy.

The services are:

Friends will be received at Pumphrey’s Bethesda-Chevy Chase Funeral Home, 7557 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda, MD 20814 on Tuesday, March 19th from 6pm – 8pm. A Mass of Christian Burial will be at St. Jane Frances de Chantal Catholic Church, 9701 Old Georgetown Rd, Bethesda, MD 20814 on Wednesday, March 20th at 11:00am. A livestream link will be available. Interment will follow at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, 13801 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20906.

JAT Note: I bold-faced the excerpt above to raise the question (I don’t know the answer) of whether Rossi’s teaching style was similar to the style of Jean Shepard—populated with such mythical or not characters as Ralphie Parker and others that we grew up loving.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Death of Joe Giannullo 1/23/24 (2/27/24)

Joseph Giannullo (Joe) died on January 23, 2024. The obit is here. I am told that Joe was in CES from about 1991 to 2021. 

Friday, February 23, 2024

Death of Larry Jones on 2/19/24 (2/23/24)

Larry Jones (Lawrence Ray Jones, Jr.) died on 2/19/24. His obituary is here; another Dallas Morning News obituary is here.. He served as a Trial Attorney in DOJ Tax Refund 2 (John Murray’s section) from 1969 through 1977. Most of that time he served in the Dallas office.

The visitation and funeral services are March 4 at 12:30 pm and 1:00 pm (Central time) at St Thomas Aquinas Catholic church, 6306 Kenwood Avenue, Dallas TX 75214.

I did not know Larry during the time we overlapped at DOJ Tax because he was in Dallas and I was in Washington. But I heard a lot about Larry, particularly after I moved to Refund 2. Larry and I then became friends from the time he left DOJ Tax in 1977 when we began working at the same firm in Houston. We then became law partners from the early 1990s until a few years ago. He was a great lawyer and great friend.

Added 2/25/24 11:20am:

In the second obit linked above, Larry is quoted as often saying "while I do not have much hair, it is not gray".

The Larry quote I (JAT) fondly remember along that line is: “Not everybody can be naturally bald.” 

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Death of Sander (Sandy) Shapiro (2/13/24)

Sander (Sandy) Shapiro’s obituary is here. The obituary does not state a date of death, but the obituary is dated February 12, 2024. I will post the date of death when I get it.

 It is a longer obituary, a good read about Sandy. Some excerpts related to the Tax Division.

When Sandy was in law school, he had a tax professor who inspired him, so when he got home he wrote to the Internal Revenue Service to apply for a job. He flew to Washington, D.C. for an interview, and while there, met a man (who later became a treasured friend) who discouraged him from going to the IRS and instead encouraged him to apply to the Tax Division of the Department of Justice. Sandy credited this suggestion as the best advice he ever received.

* * * He worked with very fine, experienced tax lawyers and a bunch of young, enthusiastic newly minted lawyers eager to learn. Sandy then moved to a job on the Tax Court. When they were ready to start a family, Sandy and Lottie moved to Austin, a town Sandy had loved when in law school there, to be closer to their families. Sandy got a job with Clark, Thomas, Harris, Denius and Winters (later Clark, Thomas, Winters and Shapiro), and was the first tax lawyer in Austin. Decades later, he and his closest colleagues left Clark Thomas to form a new firm, Shapiro, Edens and Cook. 

A Texas State Bar interview with Sandy is here.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

DOJ Tax Alumni Directory (2/7/24)

I have just created new alumni directory documents. Please see the page to the right titled "DOJ Tax Alumni Directory (4/9/23)" here

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Death of Karen A. Smith 12/19/23 (2/7/24)

Karen Ann Smith, a long-time attorney in CTS-Northern, died on 12/19/23. The obituary is here. The obituary notes that “A memorial service will be held at Everly-Wheatley Funeral Home on February 10th from 2-5 PM.” The website indicates that the Funeral Home is at 1500 W. Braddock Rd., Alexandria, VA 22302.

Death of Steve Shapiro on 2/2/24 (2/6/24)

Steven (“Steve”) Shapiro die on 2/2/24. His WAPO obituary is here. The excerpt relevant to the Tax Division is:

In 1962, he and his wife moved to the Washington, DC area so that he could begin what became a 38-year legal career with the Department of Justice. He took great pride in working for, and in representing, the United States. Beginning as a trial attorney, he ultimately was promoted to the position of Section Chief in a Civil Trial Section of the Tax Division, managing over thirty trial attorneys, as well as support staff. During his service in the Department of Justice, he earned a Masters of Law degree in Taxation from Georgetown University.

Also, the obituary has so much more to let you know more about him. I related to the following:

Steven emphasized the importance of honesty and treating others with respect. He was a generous, understanding, and forgiving person. He liked to help others accomplish their goals and see them be successful. His unique sense of humor was well-known and usually appreciated.

A good read about a good man.

 A side note: Steve was my assistant Chief while in Refund 2 from 1974 to 1977 (John Murray was Chief).

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Former AAG Tax Justice Robert H. Jackson's Contribution in Dobson to the Deference Discussion Currently in the News and Before the Supreme Court (12/20/23)

I recently completed an article that features prominently Justice Robert H. Jackson who served on the Supreme Court in the 1940s. Jackson’s role in the article is based on the unanimous decision he authored in Dobson v. Commissioner, 320 U.S. 489 (1943), reh. den. 321 U.S. 231 (1944). Dobson was a tax case. The issue was whether the Tax Court’s statutory interpretation of tax law was entitled to deference in the appellate courts. While, as DOJ Tax Alumni certainly know, Congress legislatively did away with deference to Tax Court interpretations of law in 1948 in what is now § 7482(a) (requiring review the same as appellate review of district court opinions), Justice Jackson’s Dobson decision in 1943 was rock solid for two reasons: (i) agency interpretations of law were entitled to deference as Dobson amply laws out, and the Tax Court was statutorily an agency; and (ii) the statutory standard for review of agency decisions permitted review only if the Tax Court interpretation was “not in accordance with law” (1939 Code § 1141(c)), a standard which Dobson held required deference. Indeed, the form of deference Dobson lays out is basically what we call Chevron deference today.

Dobson ties into the subject of my article, titled The Tax Contribution to Deference and APA § 706 [linked at end of this blog). Many readers also probably know that the Supreme Court has accepted cert to decide whether Chevron deference to agency interpretations of law should be overruled or clarified. A major issue is whether § 706 precludes, permits, or requires deference to agency interpretations. In this regard, recall that Dobson emphasized that the Tax Court was statutorily an agency, making prior court precedents and the holding in Dobson to require deference to the Tax Court interpretations relevant to a discussion of deference to agency interpretations. More importantly, the statutorily prescribed standard for review of Tax Court  interpretations was “not in accordance with law” which Dobson held required deference. The APA incorporated that same standard in § 706: “(2)hold unlawful and set aside agency action, findings, and conclusions found to be (A)arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law.” My argument is that the use of the same standard for agency interpretations of law certainly permits (perhaps even requires) deference to agency interpretations.

Preparing the article required that I give renewed attention to Justice Jackson and his background in the tax law, some of which was with DOJ Tax. The Wikipedia discussion of Justice Jackson is here. I provide the following excerpt from the article surveying his tax litigation background (in which I think DOJ Tax Alumni may have interest):

2. Dobson Nuance.

a. Dobson’s author - Justice Robert Jackson

Dobson was authored by Justice Robert Jackson, who, although not a substantive tax expert, had been a trial lawyer in private practice and in the Government in the following capacities after coming to Washington in the New Deal revolution:

• Chief Counsel of the IRS where he advised on tax law and managed the IRS’s trial lawyers in the Board of Tax Appeals (“BTA” with the name changed to Tax Court in 1942; for the critical part of this article, in 1942, the BTA’s name had been changed to Tax Court). As Chief Counsel, Jackson tried at least one prominent tax case.43

 • Assistant Attorney General for the Tax Division, overseeing the Government’s tax trials in all courts except the Tax Court.

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Death of Hank Chamberlain on 4/22/23 (5/10/23)

Harold ("Hank") Chamberlain died on 4/22/23. Hank's obituary is here. From the obituary regarding his tenure at DOJ Tax:

[After graduating from University of Arkansas Law School], Hank went straight to work for the Internal Revenue Service in the Office of the Chief Counsel as a trial attorney followed by a couple of years at the Tax Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

My database shows that Hank was a trial attorney in the Refund 2 Section from 1961 to 1963.

After leaving DOJ Tax in 1963, he moved to Houston and set up a law practice that ultimately became now Chamberlain Hrdlicka, here, in Houston, expanding to several other cities. 

When I was with the firm in the late 1970s for a 1.5 year period, the firm was named Chamberlain, Hrdlicka, White & Waters, with all of the then-named partners being DOJ Tax Division alumni, all from Refund 2 I believe. Over the years, several other DOJ Tax Division lawyers worked there. Hank left the Chamberlain Hrdlicka firm sometime that I don't now recall and continued his practice virtually until his death either as a sole practitioner or in association with another firm.

Hank contacted me in the last few years to start up some discussion, particularly to engage me on topics from my Federal Tax Crimes and Federal Tax Procedure Blogs. It was good to re-connect with him.

Hank used to have several exuberant expressions as he wandered around visiting every lawyer in the  firm every morning. I will repeat some of them I recall, putting them in quotes which might not be fully accurate, but do give the sense of what I recall.

One was that, after he had accomplished something noteworthy for the firm: "That's not bad for a one-eyed guy from Dumas Arkansas." (As best I recall, he had lost one of his eyes in a scuffle sometime before he left Dumas.)

Another Hank saying: "Give me 15 minutes' notice and I will give an hour talk on any tax subject." I don't know that anyone every tested him on the short notice thing, but I do recall he could give exuberant talks which often were fuzzy or imprecise in the details, but they seemed to work with the audiences for the occasions.

Still another Hank saying: "I had the firm move to a floor where we were the last stop on an elevator bank. That way I could introduce myself to the others in the elevator, shake hands, and hand them my business card. I got a lot of business that way."