Volume 78, Issue 2

 Complete Index of Volume 78, Issue 2


This Article argues that courts should reformulate the three tests that the courts use in applying the step transaction doctrine as two objective tests: (1) an objective test for arms-length transactions based on the law of offer and acceptance; and (2) an economic reality test for transactions between related parties. These new tests provide conceptual clarity and promote predictability while simultaneously protecting the public treasury. The new tests borrow concepts from contract and commercial law and demonstrate that tax law shares similar concerns with other areas of law, a proposition that sometimes is doubted. This Article contends that the step transaction doctrine, as reformulated, should be available for assertion by taxpayers in transactions between unrelated parties. Acknowledging the availability of the test for assertion by taxpayers will have the salutary effect of aligning the description of doctrine with its application. This Article provides background regarding the judicial development of the step transaction doctrine and scholarly efforts to provide a conceptual framework. The Article further elaborates on the proposed new tests and the offensive use of the step transaction doctrine as well as the implications of adopting the new tests. Additionally, this Article points to fruitful avenues for future exploration, connecting some of the specific issues discussed in this Article to broader themes in legal theory.

This Article begins the process of thinking through the ways in which some form of repair following a natural disaster might be offered to those who are prevented from pursuing their own private form of recovery. First, this article discusses the problem of retreat from flood-prone areas and reviews the array of legal mechanisms that have been put forward as ways of encouraging it, with particular emphasis on the call to abandon certain areas in the wake of floods. Secondly, it presents a set of analogies that help explain the intense desire to rebuild after floods. These observations lead to new insights about what rebuilding accomplishes and why forbidding it has proven to be so difficult. Finally, it considers some of the ways in which the desire to rebuild might be satisfied, at least partially,without moving people back into harm’s way.

Christine D. Allie

This Article examines the current role of the mandatory married filing status as a family penalty present in the tax code. First, this Article examines the historical underpinnings for the current construction of the tax code. Secondly, it reviews the 1951 and 1969 reforms, and reactions to those reforms, which converted the code from pro-family to a structure that penalizes marriage for those with and without children. Furthermore, this Article focuses on three particular provisions that affect tax liability by marriage or by children within and without a marriage unit for the true effect of potential marriage and family penalties to be confronted. Finally, this Article concludes that adherence to mandatory marriage status filing to achieve any version of equity is an incompetent pursuit.

Making CLE Voluntary and Pro Bono Mandatory: A Law Faculty Test Case

Rima Sirota

This Article argues that the time is ripe to eliminate mandatory CLE and to explore replacing mandatory CLE hours with required pro bono service hours. First, it documents the enormous reach and substantial cost of mandatory CLE—all without any evidence of efficacy. Secondly, this Article establishes that regulations protecting the legal profession both substantially contribute to the vast need for free legal representation and justify a pro bono requirement for attorneys. Further, this Article explores obstacles to eliminating mandatory CLE and requiring pro bono, including political opposition and the absence of mandatory pro bono models. It responds to this problem with a proposal: encouraging law faculties to impose pro bono requirements on themselves with the incentive of eliminating their mandatory CLE obligations. This faculty test case model offers enormous potential benefits for the indigent clients who would be served, the law students who would find role models for a lifetime of service, the professors whose teaching and scholarship would be enriched, and the profession, which would gain much-needed experience with various approaches to mandatory pro bono.


Ben Wallace

This Comment introduces federal campaign finance regulation before summarizing Buckley v. Valeo, the root from which all subsequent campaign finance jurisprudence sprouted. Next, it presents a holistic overview of state nonresident contribution limits caselaw and then inspects recent Supreme Court decisions that altered the campaign finance jurisprudential landscape within the context of the First Amendment. Next, it analyzes the constitutionality of nonresident contribution limits, weaving in policy reasons supporting the invalidation of such laws. Finally, it examines the extent to which states should have the power to restrict any political activity to their own residents without violating the First Amendment.

Kristin E. Oglesby

This Comment examines the legal principles behind revenue rulings, discussing the two main standards of deference that may be afforded to administrative rulings generally and assessing how various courts have treated revenue rulings. Further, it discusses applicability of the standards of deference to IRS revenue rulings in light of the Supreme Court decision in United States v. Mead Corp and the problems that have arisen post-Mead. Particularly, it explores the standards behind agency promulgations that have the force and effect of law. Additionally, it assesses revenue rulings and discusses the various reasons why the rulings are entitled to substantial judicial deference. Next, it offers a solution to alleviate the uncertainty of the deference afforded to revenue rulings, focusing on revenue rulings in the context of charitable organizations. Finally, it advocates a call for deference to revenue rulings. This Comment concludes by arguing that revenue rulings are entitled to Chevron deference as it is both plausible and logical given the level of certainty taxpayers desire, the expertise of the IRS, the method by which revenue rulings are generated, the penalties associated with noncompliance, and the social policies particular to charitable organizations.

Over-Manipulated and Under-Funded: Louisiana’s Pension Problem and Its Impact on Public Employees

Alyssa Depew

This Comment provides background information on Louisiana’s current pension system, specifically the role of larger pension programs, such as LASERS and TRSL. It also includes significant historical changes in the Social Security system and Louisiana’s legislative history regarding both its state pensions and Social Security. Next, it examines the current financial state of Louisiana’s two largest pension programs: LASERS and TRSL. Moreover, it introduces an empirical strategy to estimate the differences in retirement income between individuals affected by their state’s participation in Social Security. Finally, it proposes reform measures and recommendations for Louisiana’s public pensions and addresses barriers to such reform. Implementation of these proposals will allow for greater security for individuals upon retirement and will ease the burden placed on taxpayers.

Ain’t No Sunshine When It’s Gone: The Future of the Louisiana Solar Initiative After the Demise of the Solar Energy Income Tax Credit

Michael Seibert

This Comment recommends a policy change in Louisiana’s solar panel incentive structure. It provides a background on three solar panel incentive programs. Next, it gives an overview of Louisiana’s current solar incentive legislation. Moreover, it surveys three states that have successful solar incentive policy programs, discusses the details of their programs, and analyzes why they have been successful. Finally, it elaborates on the benefits provided by solar energy and argues that Louisiana should continue to incentivize solar energy, which will result in lowering the level of Louisiana’s contribution to greenhouse gas emission without impacting the state’s budget.