Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Altera Corp. v. CIR (9th Cir. - Nov. 12, 2019)

Today's an unusual day indeed.

The Ninth Circuit publishes this today.  It's a dissent from the refusal to take a case en banc.  Nothing totally unusual about that, right?

Except it's a tax case.  Not the usual subject of an en banc call.  And not even a tax case that affects a huge number of "regular" people:  It's about a Ninth Circuit opinion last year that upheld a Tax Court ruling that related entities must share the cost of their employee stock compensation.  Yet that opinion sees a huge volume of amici and a spirited dissent for the refusal to hear the case en banc.  Not your usual degree of attention to a tax opinion.

The opinion is unusual is one other way as well:  the huge number of recusals.  How many?  Not one.  Not two.  Not three.

Ten different Ninth Circuit judges recuse themselves from the en banc call:  Judges McKeown, Wardlaw, Bybee, Bea, Watford, Owens, Friedland, Miller, Collins, and Lee.

So it's an opinion that may affect at least a nontrivial number of people in a particular socioeconomic group.  Including but not limited to Ninth Circuit judges.