CITES BY TOPIC:  voluntary

PDF Requirement for Consent (OFFSITE LINK) -memorandum of law

Legal Authorities Which Prove the Income Tax Is Voluntary for "Nontaxpayers"

Why Domicile and Becoming a "Taxpayer" Require Your Consent, Form #05.002

PDF Flawed Tax Arguments to Avoid, Section 6.21: Income Taxes are Voluntary for "Taxpayers"

Black’s Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition, p. 1575:

voluntary.  “Unconstrained by interference; unimpelled by another’s influence; spontaneous; acting of oneself.  Coker v. State, 199 Ga. 20, 33 S.E.2d 171, 174.  Done by design or intention.  Proceeding from the free and unrestrained will of the person.  Produced in or by an act of choice.  Resulting from free choice, without compulsion or solicitation.  The word, especially in statutes, often implies knowledge of essential facts.  Without valuable consideration; gratuitous, as a voluntary conveyance.  Also, having a merely nominal consideration; as, a voluntary deed.”

[Black’s Law Dictionary, Sixth Edition, p. 1575]

PDF Treasury Decision 3445-describes what "voluntary" means when public official refer to the income tax as voluntary

The principle that taxes voluntarily paid can not be recovered back is thoroughly established. It has been so declared in the following cases in the Supreme Court: United States v. New York & Cuba Mail Steamship Co. (200 U. S. 488, 493, 494); Chesebrough v. United States (192 U. S. 253); Little v. Bowers (134 U. S. 547, 554); Wright v. Blakeslee (101 U. S. 174, 178); Railroad Co. v. Commissioner (98 U. S. 541, 543); Lamborn v. County Commissioners (97 U. S. 181); Elliott v. Swartwout (10 Pet. 137). And there are numerous like cases in other Federal corn: Procter & Gamble Co. v. United States (281 Fed. 1014); Vaughan v. Riordan (280 Fed. 742, 745); Beer v. Moffatt (192 Fed. 984, affirmed 209 Fed. 779); Newhall v. Jordan (160 Fed. 661); Christie Street Commission Co. v. United States (126 Fed. 991); Kentucky Bank v. Stone (88 Fed. 383); Corkie v. Maxwell (7 Fed. Cas. 3231).

And the rule of the Federal courts is not at all peculiar to them. It is the settled general rule of the State courts as well that no matter what may be the ground of the objection to the tax or assessment if it has been paid voluntarily and without compulsion it can not be recovered back in an action at law, unless there is some constitutional or statutory provision which gives to one so paying such a right notwithstanding the payment was made without compulsion.--Adams v. New Bedford (155 Mass. 317); McCue v. Monroe County (162 N.Y. 235); Taylor v. Philadelphia Board of Health (31 P. St. 73); Williams v. Merritt (152 Mich. 621); Gould v. Hennepin County (76 Minn. 379); Martin v. Kearney County (62 Minn. 538); Gar v. Hurd (92 Ills. 315); Slimmer v. Chickasaw County (140 Iowa, 448); Warren v. San Francisco (150 Calif. 167); State v. Chicago & C. R. Co. (165 No. 597).

And it has been many times held, in the absence of a statute on the subject, that mere payment under protest does not save a payment from being voluntary, in the sense which forbids a recovery back of the tax paid, if it was not made under any duress, compulsion, or threats, or under the pressure of process immediately available for the forcible collection of the tax.--Dexter v. Boston (176 Mass. 247); Flower v. Lance (59 N.Y. 603); Williams v. Merritt (152 Mich. 621); Oakland Cemetery Association v. Ramsey County (98 Minn. 404); Robins v. Latham (134 No. 466); Whitbeck v. Minch (48 Ohio St. 210); Peebles v. Pittsburgh.(l0l Pa. St. 304); Montgomery v. Cowlitz County (14 Wash. 230); Cincinnati & C. R. Co. v. Hamilton County (120 Tenn. 1).

The principle that a tax or an assessment voluntarily paid can not be recovered back is an ancient one in the common lam and is of general application. See Cooley on Taxation (vol. 2, 3d ed. p. 1495). That eminent authority also points out that every man is supposed to know the law, and if he voluntarily makes a payment which the law would not compel him to make he can not afterwards assign his ignorance of the law as a reason why the State should furnish him with legal remedies to recover it back. And he adds:

Especially is this the case when the officer receiving the money, who is chargeable with no more knowledge of the law than the party making payment, is not put on his guard by any warning or protest, and the money is over to the use of the public in apparent acquiescence in the justice of the exaction. Mistake of fact can scarcely exist in such a case except in connection with negligence; as the illegalities which render such a demand a nullity must appear from the records, and the taxpayer is just as much bound to inform himself what the records show, or do not show, as are the public authorities. The rule of law is a rule of sound public policy also; it is a rule of quiet as well as of good faith, and precludes the courts being occupied in undoing the arrangements of parties which they have voluntarily made, and into which they have not been drawm by fraud or accident, or by any excusable ignorance of their legal rights and liabilities.

But the question presented must be decided upon the language of section 252 hereinbefore set forth in this opinion. In the cases within the purview of the section the right of the taxpayer to so much of the tax as he has paid in excess of that properly due is not made to depend upon whether it was paid under protest. The nature of the section must be regarded, as in the case of the statute before the court in United States v. Hvoslef (237 U.S. 1, 12), and so regarded it negatives any intent that a protest should be necessary. In this case as in that the right of repayment is established by the express terms of the statute itself.

The section is intended to give the Commissioner of Internal Revenue power to credit or refund overpayments when no claim for a refund is filed by the taxpayer. Prior to that enactment the commissioner had no authority to credit or refund overpayments of taxes unless appeal was duly made to him in the manner prescribed by section 3220 of the Revised Statutes.

Section 252 of the act of 1918 has nothing whatever to do with the collector of internal revenue or with an action him. The power or duty to make refunds under the section is vested not in the collector but in the Commissioner of Internal Revenue. The commissioner, prior to the enactment of section 252, had no authority to credit or refund overpayments of taxes unless appeal was duly made to him in the manner prescribed by section 3220 of the Revised Statutes, which read: "The Commissioner of Internal Revenue * * * is authorized, on appeal to him made, to remit, refund, and pay back all taxes erroneously or illegally assessed or collected * * *." And the appeal had to be made within two years after the cause of action accrued, as required by section 3228.

That being the condition of the law Congress enacted section 252 of the act of 1918. The primary purpose of that enactment was to permit the commissioner of his owm volition upon discovery of any overpayment to credit or refund the same notwithstanding the provision of section 3228 of the Revised Statutes, and to limit the time within which he could make such credit or refund to "five years from the date the return was made. The section does not in express terms purport to give the taxpayer a right to sue for the recovery of the excess in the tax paid. It simply defines the powers and duties of the commissioner in correcting overpayments which he finds have been made. It was intended to protect the commissioner in making refunds which ought to be made prescribed by section 3228 had expired. .

Taxes erroneously paid or illegally exacted may be recovered-

1. From the Commissioner of Internal Revenue under section 3220 of the Revised Statutes heretofore referred to.

2. Through an action at law brought against the United States. This is by virtue of the so-called Tucker Act (Judicial Code, sec. 24, par. 20, ch. 397, 24 Stat. 635).being held that a suit may be maintained directly against the United States for the recovery of taxes wrongfully assessed and collected.-Emery, Bird, Thayer, Realty Co. v. United States (198 Fed. 242, 249); Christie Street Commission Go. v. United States (136 Fed. 326).

3. Through an action against a collector who wrongfully exacted the tax and who may be sued for such money as he is not entitled to retain.--Smietanka v. Indiana Steel Co. (257 U. S. 1); Sage v. United States (250 U. S. 33).

But in Elliott v. Swartwout (10 Pet. 137), the court held that the collector was not liable in an action to recover the excess duties mistakenly collected unless protest was made at the time of payment or notice was given to him not to pay the money over to the Treasury. The principle applied was the one applied to agents in private transactions- that a voluntary payment to an agent without notice of objection would not subject the agent to liability he having paid it over to his principal, but that payment with notice or with a protest might make the agent liable if in despite of the notice or protest he paid the money over to his principal. But after an act of Congress required collectors to pay over much moneys it has held that the personal liability was gone.- Cary v. Curtis (3 How. 236). But later statutes, as pointed out in Smietanka v. Indiana Steel Co., supra, recognize suits against collectors in such cases.

In our opinion section 252 of the act of 1918 was apparently designed to counteract the effect of section 3228 of the Revised Statutes which limited refunds to a period of two years after the tax had been paid, and it relates to the matter of obtaining a credit or a refund from the commissioner. If it impliedly gives a cause of action, about which we are not now called upon to express an opinion, it is a cause of action against the United States. It does not confer a right to bring an action against the collector in cam in which no Liability otherwise existed.

Judgment affirmed.

[Treasury Decision 3445]

Frazier v. Cupp, 394 U.S. 731, 89 S.Ct. 1420 (1969)

"At this point, the officer questioning petitioner told him, falsely, that Rawls had been brought in and that he had confessed. Petitioner still was reluctant to talk, but *738 after the officer sympathetically suggested that the victim had started a fight by making homosexual advances, petitioner began to spill out his story. Shortly after he began he again showed signs of reluctance and said, ‘I think I had better get a lawyer before I talk any more. I am going to get into trouble more than I am in now.’ The officer replied simply, ‘You can't be in any more trouble than you are in now,’ and the questioning session proceeded. A full confession was obtained and, after further warnings, a written version was signed."
[. . .]

"Petitioner also presses the alternative argument that his confession was involuntary and that it should have been excluded for that reason. The trial judge, after an evidentiary hearing during which the tape recording was played, could not agree with this contention, and our reading of the record does not lead us to a contrary conclusion. Before petitioner made any incriminating statements, he received partial warnings of his constitutional rights; this is, of course, a circumstance quite relevant to a finding of voluntariness. Davis v. North Carolina, 384 U.S. 737, 740-741, 86 S.Ct. 1761, 16 L.Ed.2d 895 (1966). The questioning was of short duration, and petitioner was a mature individual of normal intelligence. The fact that the police misrepresented the statements that Rawls had made is, while relevant, insufficient in our view to make this otherwise voluntary confession inadmissible. These cases must be decided by viewing the ‘totality of the circumstances,’ see, e.g., Clewis v. Texas, 386 U.S. 707, 708, 87 S.Ct. 1338, 18 L.Ed.2d 423 (1967), and on the facts of this case we can find no error in the admission of petitioner's confession."

[Frazier v. Cupp, 394 U.S. 731, 89 S.Ct. 1420 (1969)]

PDF Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. 577 (1992)

These dominant facts mark and control the confines of our decision: State officials direct the performance of a formal religious exercise at promotional and graduation ceremonies for secondary schools. Even for those students who object to the religious exercise, their attendance and participation in the state-sponsored religious activity are in a fair and real sense obligatory, though the school district does not require attendance as a condition for receipt of the diploma.

This case does not require us to revisit the difficult questions dividing us in recent cases, questions of the definition and full scope of the principles governing the extent of permitted accommodation by the State for the religious beliefs and practices of many of its citizens. See County of Allegheny v. American Civil Liberties Union, Greater Pittsburgh Chapter, 492 U.S. 573, 109 S.Ct. 3086, 106 L.Ed.2d 472 (1989); Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38, 105 S.Ct. 2479, 86 L.Ed.2d 29 (1985); Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S. 668, 104 S.Ct. 1355, 79 L.Ed.2d 604 (1984). For without reference to those principles in other contexts, the controlling precedents as they relate to prayer and religious exercise in primary and secondary public schools compel the holding here that the policy of the city of Providence is an *587 unconstitutional one. We can decide the case without reconsidering the general constitutional framework by which public schools' efforts to accommodate religion are measured. Thus we do not accept the invitation of petitioners and amicus the United States to reconsider our decision in Lemon v. Kurtzman, supra. The government involvement with religious activity in this case is pervasive, to the point of creating a state-sponsored and state-directed religious exercise in a public school. Conducting this formal religious observance conflicts with settled rules pertaining to prayer exercises for students, and that suffices to determine the question before us.

The principle that government may accommodate the free exercise of religion does not supersede the fundamental limitations imposed by the Establishment Clause. It is beyond dispute that, at a minimum, the Constitution guarantees that government may not coerce anyone to support or participate in religion or its exercise, or otherwise act in a way which “establishes a [state] religion or religious faith, or tends to do so.” Lynch, supra, at 678, 104 S.Ct., at 1361; see also County of Allegheny, supra, 492 U.S., at 591, 109 S.Ct., at 3100, quoting Everson v. Board of Ed. of Ewing, 330 U.S. 1, 15-16, 67 S.Ct. 504, 511-512, 91 L.Ed. 711 (1947). The State's involvement in the school prayers challenged today violates these central principles.

That involvement is as troubling as it is undenied. A school official, the principal, decided that an invocation and a benediction should be given; this is a choice attributable to the State, and from a constitutional perspective it is as if a state statute decreed that the prayers must occur. The principal chose the religious participant, here a rabbi, and that choice is also attributable to the State. The reason for the choice of a rabbi is not disclosed by the record, but the potential for divisiveness over the choice of a particular member of the clergy to conduct the ceremony is apparent.

Divisiveness, of course, can attend any state decision respecting religions, and neither its existence nor its potential *588 necessarily invalidates the State's attempts**2656 to accommodate religion in all cases. The potential for divisiveness is of particular relevance here though, because it centers around an overt religious exercise in a secondary school environment where, as we discuss below, see infra, at 2659, subtle coercive pressures exist and where the student had no real alternative which would have allowed her to avoid the fact or appearance of participation.

The State's role did not end with the decision to include a prayer and with the choice of a clergyman. Principal Lee provided Rabbi Gutterman with a copy of the “Guidelines for Civic Occasions,” and advised him that his prayers should be nonsectarian. Through these means the principal directed and controlled the content of the prayers. Even if the only sanction for ignoring the instructions were that the rabbi would not be invited back, we think no religious representative who valued his or her continued reputation and effectiveness in the community would incur the State's displeasure in this regard. It is a cornerstone principle of our Establishment Clause jurisprudence that “it is no part of the business of government to compose official prayers for any group of the American people to recite as a part of a religious program carried on by government,” Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421, 425, 82 S.Ct. 1261, 1264, 8 L.Ed.2d 601 (1962), and that is what the school officials attempted to do.

Petitioners argue, and we find nothing in the case to refute it, that the directions for the content of the prayers were a good-faith attempt by the school to ensure that the sectarianism which is so often the flashpoint for religious animosity be removed from the graduation ceremony. The concern is understandable, as a prayer which uses ideas or images identified with a particular religion may foster a different sort of sectarian rivalry than an invocation or benediction in terms more neutral. The school's explanation, however, does not resolve the dilemma caused by its participation. The question is not the good faith of the school in attempting to make *589 the prayer acceptable to most persons, but the legitimacy of its undertaking that enterprise at all when the object is to produce a prayer to be used in a formal religious exercise which students, for all practical purposes, are obliged to attend.

We are asked to recognize the existence of a practice of nonsectarian prayer, prayer within the embrace of what is known as the Judeo-Christian tradition, prayer which is more acceptable than one which, for example, makes explicit references to the God of Israel, or to Jesus Christ, or to a patron saint. There may be some support, as an empirical observation, to the statement of the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, picked up by Judge Campbell's dissent in the Court of Appeals in this case, that there has emerged in this country a civic religion, one which is tolerated when sectarian exercises are not. Stein, 822 F.2d, at 1409; 908 F.2d 1090, 1098-1099 (CA1 1990) (Campbell, J., dissenting) (case below); see also Note, Civil Religion and the Establishment Clause, 95 Yale L.J. 1237 (1986). If common ground can be defined which permits once conflicting faiths to express the shared conviction that there is an ethic and a morality which transcend human invention, the sense of community and purpose sought by all decent societies might be advanced. But though the First Amendment does not allow the government to stifle prayers which aspire to these ends, neither does it permit the government to undertake that task for itself.

The First Amendment's Religion Clauses mean that religious beliefs and religious expression are too precious to be either proscribed or prescribed by the State. The design of the Constitution is that preservation and transmission of religious beliefs and worship is a responsibility and a choice committed to the private sphere, which itself is promised freedom to pursue that mission. It must not be forgotten then, that while concern must be given to define the protection granted to an objector or a dissenting nonbeliever, these same Clauses exist to protect religion from government interference.*590 **2657 James Madison, the principal author of the Bill of Rights, did not rest his opposition to a religious establishment on the sole ground of its effect on the minority. A principal ground for his view was: “[E]xperience witnesseth that ecclesiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of Religion, have had a contrary operation.” Memorial and Remonstrance Against Religious Assessments (1785), in 8 Papers of James Madison 301 (W. Rachal, R. Rutland, B. Ripel, & F. Teute eds. 1973).

These concerns have particular application in the case of school officials, whose effort to monitor prayer will be perceived by the students as inducing a participation they might otherwise reject. Though the efforts of the school officials in this case to find common ground appear to have been a good-faith attempt to recognize the common aspects of religions and not the divisive ones, our precedents do not permit school officials to assist in composing prayers as an incident to a formal exercise for their students. Engel v. Vitale, supra, 370 U.S., at 425, 82 S.Ct., at 1264. And these same precedents caution us to measure the idea of a civic religion against the central meaning of the Religion Clauses of the First Amendment, which is that all creeds must be tolerated and none favored. The suggestion that government may establish an official or civic religion as a means of avoiding the establishment of a religion with more specific creeds strikes us as a contradiction that cannot be accepted.

The degree of school involvement here made it clear that the graduation prayers bore the imprint of the State and thus put school-age children who objected in an untenable position. We turn our attention now to consider the position of the students, both those who desired the prayer and she who did not.

To endure the speech of false ideas or offensive content and then to counter it is part of learning how to live in a pluralistic society, a society which insists upon open discourse towards the end of a tolerant citizenry. And tolerance*591 presupposes some mutuality of obligation. It is argued that our constitutional vision of a free society requires confidence in our own ability to accept or reject ideas of which we do not approve, and that prayer at a high school graduation does nothing more than offer a choice. By the time they are seniors, high school students no doubt have been required to attend classes and assemblies and to complete assignments exposing them to ideas they find distasteful or immoral or absurd or all of these. Against this background, students may consider it an odd measure of justice to be subjected during the course of their educations to ideas deemed offensive and irreligious, but to be denied a brief, formal prayer ceremony that the school offers in return. This argument cannot prevail, however. It overlooks a fundamental dynamic of the Constitution.

The First Amendment protects speech and religion by quite different mechanisms. Speech is protected by ensuring its full expression even when the government participates, for the very object of some of our most important speech is to persuade the government to adopt an idea as its own. Meese v. Keene, 481 U.S. 465, 480-481, 107 S.Ct. 1862, 1870-1871, 95 L.Ed.2d 415 (1987); see also Keller v. State Bar of California, 496 U.S. 1, 10-11, 110 S.Ct. 2228, 2234-2235, 110 L.Ed.2d 1 (1990); Abood v. Detroit Bd. of Ed., 431 U.S. 209, 97 S.Ct. 1782, 52 L.Ed.2d 261 (1977). The method for protecting freedom of worship and freedom of conscience in religious matters is quite the reverse. In religious debate or expression the government is not a prime participant, for the Framers deemed religious establishment antithetical to the freedom of all. The Free Exercise Clause embraces a freedom of conscience and worship that has close parallels in the speech provisions of the First Amendment, but the Establishment Clause is a specific prohibition on forms of state intervention in religious affairs with no precise counterpart in the speech provisions. **2658 Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1, 92-93, and n. 127, 96 S.Ct. 612, 669-670, and n. 127, 46 L.Ed.2d 659 (1976) ( per curiam ). The explanation lies in the lesson of history that was and is the inspiration for the Establishment Clause, the lesson that in *592 the hands of government what might begin as a tolerant expression of religious views may end in a policy to indoctrinate and coerce. A state-created orthodoxy puts at grave risk that freedom of belief and conscience which are the sole assurance that religious faith is real, not imposed.

The lessons of the First Amendment are as urgent in the modern world as in the 18th century when it was written. One timeless lesson is that if citizens are subjected to state-sponsored religious exercises, the State disavows its own duty to guard and respect that sphere of inviolable conscience and belief which is the mark of a free people. To compromise that principle today would be to deny our own tradition and forfeit our standing to urge others to secure the protections of that tradition for themselves.

As we have observed before, there are heightened concerns with protecting freedom of conscience from subtle coercive pressure in the elementary and secondary public schools. See, e.g., School Dist. of Abington v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203, 307, 83 S.Ct. 1560, 1616, 10 L.Ed.2d 844 (1963) (Goldberg, J., concurring); Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578, 584, 107 S.Ct. 2573, 2578, 96 L.Ed.2d 510 (1987); Board of Ed. of Westside Community Schools (Dist. 66) v. Mergens, 496 U.S. 226, 261-262, 110 S.Ct. 2356, 2377-2378, 110 L.Ed.2d 191 (1990) (KENNEDY, J., concurring). Our decisions in Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421, 82 S.Ct. 1261, 8 L.Ed.2d 601 (1962), and School Dist. of Abington, supra, recognize, among other things, that prayer exercises in public schools carry a particular risk of indirect coercion. The concern may not be limited to the context of schools, but it is most pronounced there. See County of Allegheny v. American Civil Liberties Union, Greater Pittsburgh Chapter, 492 U.S., at 661, 109 S.Ct., at 3137 (KENNEDY, J., concurring in judgment in part and dissenting in part). What to most believers may seem nothing more than a reasonable request that the nonbeliever respect their religious practices, in a school context may appear to the nonbeliever or dissenter to be an attempt to employ the machinery of the State to enforce a religious orthodoxy.

*593 We need not look beyond the circumstances of this case to see the phenomenon at work. The undeniable fact is that the school district's supervision and control of a high school graduation ceremony places public pressure, as well as peer pressure, on attending students to stand as a group or, at least, maintain respectful silence during the invocation and benediction. This pressure, though subtle and indirect, can be as real as any overt compulsion. Of course, in our culture standing or remaining silent can signify adherence to a view or simple respect for the views of others. And no doubt some persons who have no desire to join a prayer have little objection to standing as a sign of respect for those who do. But for the dissenter of high school age, who has a reasonable perception that she is being forced by the State to pray in a manner her conscience will not allow, the injury is no less real. There can be no doubt that for many, if not most, of the students at the graduation, the act of standing or remaining silent was an expression of participation in the rabbi's prayer. That was the very point of the religious exercise. It is of little comfort to a dissenter, then, to be told that for her the act of standing or remaining in silence signifies mere respect, rather than participation. What matters is that, given our social conventions, a reasonable dissenter in this milieu could believe that the group exercise signified her own participation or approval of it.

Finding no violation under these circumstances would place objectors in the dilemma of participating, with all that implies, or protesting. We do not address whether that choice is acceptable if the affected citizens are mature adults, but we think the State **2659 may not, consistent with the Establishment Clause, place primary and secondary school children in this position. Research in psychology supports the common assumption that adolescents are often susceptible to pressure from their peers towards conformity, and that the influence is strongest in matters of social convention. Brittain, Adolescent Choices and Parent-Peer Cross-Pressures, *594 28 Am.Sociological Rev. 385 (June 1963); Clasen & Brown, The Multidimensionality of Peer Pressure in Adolescence, 14 J. of Youth and Adolescence 451 (Dec.1985); Brown, Clasen, & Eicher, Perceptions of Peer Pressure, Peer Conformity Dispositions, and Self-Reported Behavior Among Adolescents, 22 Developmental Psychology 521 (July 1986). To recognize that the choice imposed by the State constitutes an unacceptable constraint only acknowledges that the government may no more use social pressure to enforce orthodoxy than it may use more direct means.

The injury caused by the government's action, and the reason why Daniel and Deborah Weisman object to it, is that the State, in a school setting, in effect required participation in a religious exercise. It is, we concede, a brief exercise during which the individual can concentrate on joining its message, meditate on her own religion, or let her mind wander. But the embarrassment and the intrusion of the religious exercise cannot be refuted by arguing that these prayers, and similar ones to be said in the future, are of a de minimis character. To do so would be an affront to the rabbi who offered them and to all those for whom the prayers were an essential and profound recognition of divine authority. And for the same reason, we think that the intrusion is greater than the two minutes or so of time consumed for prayers like these. Assuming, as we must, that the prayers were offensive to the student and the parent who now object, the intrusion was both real and, in the context of a secondary school, a violation of the objectors' rights. That the intrusion was in the course of promulgating religion that sought to be civic or nonsectarian rather than pertaining to one sect does not lessen the offense or isolation to the objectors. At best it narrows their number, at worst increases their sense of isolation and affront. See supra, at 2658.

[Lee v. Weisman, 505 U.S. 577 (1992)]

DICKERSON V. UNITED STATES (99-5525) 530 U.S. 428 (2000) 166 F.3d 667, reversed.

No. 99—5525



[June 26, 2000]

Chief Justice Rehnquist delivered the opinion of the Court.

In Miranda v. Arizona384 U.S. 436 (1966), we held that certain warnings must be given before a suspect’s statement made during custodial interrogation could be admitted in evidence. In the wake of that decision, Congress enacted 18 U.S.C. § 3501 which in essence laid down a rule that the admissibility of such statements should turn only on whether or not they were voluntarily made. We hold that Miranda, being a constitutional decision of this Court, may not be in effect overruled by an Act of Congress, and we decline to overrule Miranda ourselves. We therefore hold that Miranda and its progeny in this Court govern the admissibility of statements made during custodial interrogation in both state and federal courts.

Petitioner Dickerson was indicted for bank robbery, conspiracy to commit bank robbery, and using a firearm in the course of committing a crime of violence, all in violation of the applicable provisions of Title 18 of the United States Code. Before trial, Dickerson moved to suppress a statement he had made at a Federal Bureau of Investigation field office, on the grounds that he had not received “Miranda warnings” before being interrogated. The District Court granted his motion to suppress, and the Government took an interlocutory appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. That court, by a divided vote, reversed the District Court’s suppression order. It agreed with the District Court’s conclusion that petitioner had not received Miranda warnings before making his statement. But it went on to hold that §3501, which in effect makes the admissibility of statements such as Dickerson’s turn solely on whether they were made voluntarily, was satisfied in this case. It then concluded that our decision in Miranda was not a constitutional holding, and that therefore Congress could by statute have the final say on the question of admissibility. 166 F.3d 667 (1999).

Because of the importance of the questions raised by the Court of Appeals’ decision, we granted certiorari, 528 U.S. 1045 (1999), and now reverse.

We begin with a brief historical account of the law governing the admission of confessions. Prior to Miranda, we evaluated the admissibility of a suspect’s confession under a voluntariness test. The roots of this test developed in the common law, as the courts of England and then the United States recognized that coerced confessions are inherently untrustworthy. See, e.g.King v. Rudd, 1 Leach 115, 117—118, 122—123, 168 Eng. Rep. 160, 161, 164 (K. B. 1783) (Lord Mansfield, C. J.) (stating that the English courts excluded confessions obtained by threats and promises); King v. Warickshall, 1 Leach 262, 263—264, 168 Eng. Rep. 234, 235 (K. B. 1783) (“A free and voluntary confession is deserving of the highest credit, because it is presumed to flow from the strongest sense of guilt … but a confession forced from the mind by the flattery of hope, or by the torture of fear, comes in so questionable a shape … that no credit ought to be given to it; and therefore it is rejected”); King v. Parratt, 4 Car. & P. 570, 172 Eng. Rep. 829 (N. P. 1831); Queen v. Garner, 1 Den. 329, 169 Eng. Rep. 267 (Ct. Crim. App. 1848); Queen v. Baldry, 2 Den. 430, 169 Eng. Rep. 568 (Ct. Crim. App. 1852); Hopt v. Territory of Utah110 U.S. 574 (1884); Pierce v. United States160 U.S. 355, 357 (1896). Over time, our cases recognized two constitutional bases for the requirement that a confession be voluntary to be admitted into evidence: the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. See, e.g.Bram v. United States168 U.S. 532, 542 (1897) (stating that the voluntariness test “is controlled by that portion of the Fifth Amendment … commanding that no person ‘shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself ’ ”); Brown v. Mississippi297 U.S. 278 (1936) (reversing a criminal conviction under the Due Process Clause because it was based on a confession obtained by physical coercion).

While Bram was decided before Brown and its progeny, for the middle third of the 20th century our cases based the rule against admitting coerced confessions primarily, if not exclusively, on notions of due process. We applied the due process voluntariness test in “some 30 different cases decided during the era that intervened between Brown and Escobedo v. Illinois378 U.S. 478 [(1964)].” Schneckcloth v. Bustamonte412 U.S. 218, 223 (1973). See, e.g.Haynes v. Washington373 U.S. 503 (1963); Ashcraft v. Tennessee322 U.S. 143 (1944); Chambers v. Florida309 U.S. 227 (1940). Those cases refined the test into an inquiry that examines “whether a defendant’s will was overborne” by the circumstances surrounding the giving of a confession. Schneckcloth, 412 U.S., at 226. The due process test takes into consideration “the totality of all the surrounding circumstances–both the characteristics of the accused and the details of the interrogation.” Ibid. See also, Haynessupra, at 513; Gallegos v. Colorado370 U.S. 49, 55 (1962); Reck v. Pate367 U.S. 433, 440 (1961) (“[A]ll the circumstances attendant upon the confession must be taken into account”); Malinski v. New York324 U.S. 401, 404 (1945) (“If all the attendant circumstances indicate that the confession was coerced or compelled, it may not be used to convict a defendant”). The determination “depend[s] upon a weighing of the circumstances of pressure against the power of resistance of the person confessing.” Stein v. New York346 U.S. 156, 185 (1953).

We have never abandoned this due process jurisprudence, and thus continue to exclude confessions that were obtained involuntarily. But our decisions in Malloy v. Hogan378 U.S. 1 (1964), and Miranda changed the focus of much of the inquiry in determining the admissibility of suspects’ incriminating statements. In Malloy, we held that the Fifth Amendment’s Self-Incrimination Clause is incorporated in the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and thus applies to the States. Id., at 6—11. We decided Miranda on the heels of Malloy.

In Miranda, we noted that the advent of modern custodial police interrogation brought with it an increased concern about confessions obtained by coercion.1 384 U.S., at 445—458. Because custodial police interrogation, by its very nature, isolates and pressures the individual, we stated that “[e]ven without employing brutality, the ‘third degree’ or [other] specific stratagems, … custodial interrogation exacts a heavy toll on individual liberty and trades on the weakness of individuals.” Id., at 455. We concluded that the coercion inherent in custodial interrogation blurs the line between voluntary and involuntary statements, and thus heightens the risk that an individual will not be “accorded his privilege under the Fifth Amendment … not to be compelled to incriminate himself.” Id., at 439. Accordingly, we laid down “concrete constitutional guidelines for law enforcement agencies and courts to follow.” Id., at 442. Those guidelines established that the admissibility in evidence of any statement given during custodial interrogation of a suspect would depend on whether the police provided the suspect with four warnings. These warnings (which have come to be known colloquially as “Miranda rights”) are: a suspect “has the right to remain silent, that anything he says can be used against him in a court of law, that he has the right to the presence of an attorney, and that if he cannot afford an attorney one will be appointed for him prior to any questioning if he so desires.” Id., at 479.

Two years after Miranda was decided, Congress enacted §3501. That section provides, in relevant part:

“(a) In any criminal prosecution brought by the United States or by the District of Columbia, a confession … shall be admissible in evidence if it is voluntarily given. Before such confession is received in evidence, the trial judge shall, out of the presence of the jury, determine any issue as to voluntariness. If the trial judge determines that the confession was voluntarily made it shall be admitted in evidence and the trial judge shall permit the jury to hear relevant evidence on the issue of voluntariness and shall instruct the jury to give such weight to the confession as the jury feels it deserves under all the circumstances.

“(b) The trial judge in determining the issue of voluntariness shall take into consideration all the circumstances surrounding the giving of the confession, including (1) the time elapsing between arrest and arraignment of the defendant making the confession, if it was made after arrest and before arraignment, (2) whether such defendant knew the nature of the offense with which he was charged or of which he was suspected at the time of making the confession, (3) whether or not such defendant was advised or knew that he was not required to make any statement and that any such statement could be used against him, (4) whether or not such defendant had been advised prior to questioning of his right to the assistance of counsel; and (5) whether or not such defendant was without the assistance of counsel when questioned and when giving such confession.

“The presence or absence of any of the above&nbhyph;mentioned factors to be taken into consideration by the judge need not be conclusive on the issue of voluntariness of the confession.”

Given §3501’s express designation of voluntariness as the touchstone of admissibility, its omission of any warning requirement, and the instruction for trial courts to consider a nonexclusive list of factors relevant to the circumstances of a confession, we agree with the Court of Appeals that Congress intended by its enactment to overrule Miranda. See also Davis v. United States512 U.S. 452, 464 (1994) (Scalia, J., concurring) (stating that, prior to Miranda, “voluntariness vel non was the touchstone of admissibility of confessions”). Because of the obvious conflict between our decision in Miranda and §3501, we must address whether Congress has constitutional authority to thus supersede Miranda. If Congress has such authority, §3501’s totality-of-the-circumstances approach must prevail over Miranda’s requirement of warnings; if not, that section must yield to Miranda’s more specific requirements.

The law in this area is clear. This Court has supervisory authority over the federal courts, and we may use that authority to prescribe rules of evidence and procedure that are binding in those tribunals. Carlisle v. United States517 U.S. 416, 426 (1996). However, the power to judicially create and enforce nonconstitutional “rules of procedure and evidence for the federal courts exists only in the absence of a relevant Act of Congress.” Palermo v. United States360 U.S. 343, 353, n. 11 (1959) (citing Funk v. United States290 U.S. 371, 382 (1933), and Gordon v. United States344 U.S. 414, 418 (1953)). Congress retains the ultimate authority to modify or set aside any judicially created rules of evidence and procedure that are not required by the Constitution. Palermosupra, at 345—348; Carlislesupra, at 426; Vance v. Terrazas444 U.S. 252, 265 (1980).

But Congress may not legislatively supersede our decisions interpreting and applying the Constitution. See, e.g.City of Boerne v. Flores521 U.S. 507, 517—521 (1997). This case therefore turns on whether the Miranda Court announced a constitutional rule or merely exercised its supervisory authority to regulate evidence in the absence of congressional direction. Recognizing this point, the Court of Appeals surveyed Miranda and its progeny to determine the constitutional status of the Miranda decision. 166 F.3d, at 687—692. Relying on the fact that we have created several exceptions to Miranda’s warnings requirement and that we have repeatedly referred to the Miranda warnings as “prophylactic,” New York v. Quarles467 U.S. 649, 653 (1984), and “not themselves rights protected by the Constitution,” Michigan v. Tucker417 U.S. 433, 444 (1974),2 the Court of Appeals concluded that the protections announced in Miranda are not constitutionally required. 166 F.3d, at 687—690.

We disagree with the Court of Appeals’ conclusion, although we concede that there is language in some of our opinions that supports the view taken by that court. But first and foremost of the factors on the other side–that Miranda is a constitutional decision–is that both Miranda and two of its companion cases applied the rule to proceedings in state courts–to wit, Arizona, California, and New York. See 384 U.S., at 491—494, 497—499. Since that time, we have consistently applied Miranda’s rule to prosecutions arising in state courts. See, e.g.Stansbury v. California511 U.S. 318 (1994) (per curiam); Minnick v. Mississippi498 U.S. 146 (1990); Arizona v. Roberson486 U.S. 675 (1988); Edwards v. Arizona451 U.S. 477, 481—482 (1981). It is beyond dispute that we do not hold a supervisory power over the courts of the several States. Smith v. Phillips455 U.S. 209, 221 (1982) (“Federal courts hold no supervisory authority over state judicial proceedings and may intervene only to correct wrongs of constitutional dimension”); Cicenia v. Lagay, 357 U. S 504, 508—509 (1958). With respect to proceedings in state courts, our “authority is limited to enforcing the commands of the United States Constitution.” Mu’Min v. Virginia500 U.S. 415, 422 (1991). See also Harris v. Rivera454 U.S. 339, 344—345 (1981) (per curiam) (stating that “[f]ederal judges may not require the observance of any special procedures” in state courts “except when necessary to assure compliance with the dictates of the Federal Constitution”).3

The Miranda opinion itself begins by stating that the Court granted certiorari “to explore some facets of the problems … of applying the privilege against self-incrimination to in-custody interrogation, and to give concrete constitutional guidelines for law enforcement agencies and courts to follow.” 384 U.S., at 441—442 (emphasis added). In fact, the majority opinion is replete with statements indicating that the majority thought it was announcing a constitutional rule.4 Indeed, the Court’s ultimate conclusion was that the unwarned confessions obtained in the four cases before the Court in Miranda “were obtained from the defendant under circumstances that did not meet constitutional standards for protection of the privilege.”5 Id., at 491.

Additional support for our conclusion that Miranda is constitutionally based is found in the Miranda Court’s invitation for legislative action to protect the constitutional right against coerced self-incrimination. After discussing the “compelling pressures” inherent in custodial police interrogation, the Miranda Court concluded that, “[i]n order to combat these pressures and to permit a full opportunity to exercise the privilege against self-incrimination, the accused must be adequately and effectively appraised of his rights and the exercise of those rights must be fully honored.” Id., at 467. However, the Court emphasized that it could not foresee “the potential alternatives for protecting the privilege which might be devised by Congress or the States,” and it accordingly opined that the Constitution would not preclude legislative solutions that differed from the prescribed Miranda warnings but which were “at least as effective in apprising accused persons of their right of silence and in assuring a continuous opportunity to exercise it.”6 Ibid.

The Court of Appeals also relied on the fact that we have, after our Miranda decision, made exceptions from its rule in cases such as New York v. Quarles467 U.S. 649 (1984), and Harris v. New York401 U.S. 222 (1971). See 166 F.3d, at 672, 689—691. But we have also broadened the application of the Miranda doctrine in cases such as Doyle v. Ohio426 U.S. 610 (1976), and Arizona v. Roberson486 U.S. 675 (1988). These decisions illustrate the principle–not that Miranda is not a constitutional rule–but that no constitutional rule is immutable. No court laying down a general rule can possibly foresee the various circumstances in which counsel will seek to apply it, and the sort of modifications represented by these cases are as much a normal part of constitutional law as the original decision.

The Court of Appeals also noted that in Oregon v. Elstad470 U.S. 298 (1985), we stated that “ ‘[t]he Miranda exclusionary rule … serves the Fifth Amendment and sweeps more broadly than the Fifth Amendment itself.’ ” 166 F.3d, at 690 (quoting Elstadsupra, at 306). Our decision in that case–refusing to apply the traditional “fruits” doctrine developed in Fourth Amendment cases–does not prove that Miranda is a nonconstitutional decision, but simply recognizes the fact that unreasonable searches under the Fourth Amendment are different from unwarned interrogation under the Fifth Amendment.

As an alternative argument for sustaining the Court of Appeals’ decision, the court-invited amicus curiae7 contends that the section complies with the requirement that a legislative alternative to Miranda be equally as effective in preventing coerced confessions. See Brief for Paul G. Cassell as Amicus Curiae 28—39. We agree with the amicus’ contention that there are more remedies available for abusive police conduct than there were at the time Miranda was decided, see, e.g.Wilkins v. May, 872 F.2d 190, 194 (CA7 1989) (applying Bivens v. Six Unknown Fed. Narcotics Agents403 U.S. 388 (1971), to hold that a suspect may bring a federal cause of action under the Due Process Clause for police misconduct during custodial interrogation). But we do not agree that these additional measures supplement §3501’s protections sufficiently to meet the constitutional minimum. Miranda requires procedures that will warn a suspect in custody of his right to remain silent and which will assure the suspect that the exercise of that right will be honored. See, e.g., 384 U.S., at 467. As discussed above, §3501 explicitly eschews a requirement of pre-interrogation warnings in favor of an approach that looks to the administration of such warnings as only one factor in determining the voluntariness of a suspect’s confession. The additional remedies cited by amicus do not, in our view, render them, together with §3501 an adequate substitute for the warnings required by Miranda.

The dissent argues that it is judicial overreaching for this Court to hold §3501 unconstitutional unless we hold that the Miranda warnings are required by the Constitution, in the sense that nothing else will suffice to satisfy constitutional requirements. Post, at 10—11, 22—23. But we need not go farther than Miranda to decide this case. In Miranda, the Court noted that reliance on the traditional totality-of-the-circumstances test raised a risk of overlooking an involuntary custodial confession, 384 U. S, at 457, a risk that the Court found unacceptably great when the confession is offered in the case in chief to prove guilt. The Court therefore concluded that something more than the totality test was necessary. See ibid.; see also id., at 467, 490—491. As discussed above, §3501 reinstates the totality test as sufficient. Section 3501 therefore cannot be sustained if Miranda is to remain the law.

Whether or not we would agree with Miranda’s reasoning and its resulting rule, were we addressing the issue in the first instance, the principles of stare decisis weigh heavily against overruling it now. See, e.g.Rhode Island v. Innis446 U.S. 291, 304 (1980) (Burger, C. J., concurring in judgment) (“The meaning of Miranda has become reasonably clear and law enforcement practices have adjusted to its strictures; I would neither overrule Miranda, disparage it, nor extend it at this late date”). While “ ‘stare decisis is not an inexorable command,’ ” State Oil Co. v. Khan522 U.S. 3, 20 (1997) (quoting Payne v. Tennessee501 U.S. 808, 828 (1991)), particularly when we are interpreting the Constitution, Agostini v. Felton521 U.S. 203, 235 (1997), “even in constitutional cases, the doctrine carries such persuasive force that we have always required a departure from precedent to be supported by some ‘special justification.’ ” United States v. International Business Machines Corp., 517 U.S. 843, 856 (1996) (quoting Paynesupra, at 842 (Souter, J., concurring) (in turn quoting Arizona v. Rumsey467 U.S. 203, 212 (1984))).

We do not think there is such justification for overruling MirandaMiranda has become embedded in routine police practice to the point where the warnings have become part of our national culture. See Mitchell v. United States526 U.S. 314, 331—332 (1999) (Scalia, J., dissenting) (stating that the fact that a rule has found “ ‘wide acceptance in the legal culture’ ” is “adequate reason not to overrule” it). While we have overruled our precedents when subsequent cases have undermined their doctrinal underpinnings, see, e.g.Patterson v. McLean Credit Union491 U.S. 164, 173 (1989), we do not believe that this has happened to the Miranda decision. If anything, our subsequent cases have reduced the impact of the Miranda rule on legitimate law enforcement while reaffirming the decision’s core ruling that unwarned statements may not be used as evidence in the prosecution’s case in chief.

The disadvantage of the Miranda rule is that statements which may be by no means involuntary, made by a defendant who is aware of his “rights,” may nonetheless be excluded and a guilty defendant go free as a result. But experience suggests that the totality-of-the-circumstances test which §3501 seeks to revive is more difficult than Miranda for law enforcement officers to conform to, and for courts to apply in a consistent manner. See, e.g.Haynes v. Washington, 373 U.S., at 515 (“The line between proper and permissible police conduct and techniques and methods offensive to due process is, at best, a difficult one to draw”). The requirement that Miranda warnings be given does not, of course, dispense with the voluntariness inquiry. But as we said in Berkemer v. McCarty468 U.S. 420 (1984), “[c]ases in which a defendant can make a colorable argument that a self-incriminating statement was ‘compelled’ despite the fact that the law enforcement authorities adhered to the dictates of Miranda are rare.” Id., at 433, n. 20.

In sum, we conclude that Miranda announced a constitutional rule that Congress may not supersede legislatively. Following the rule of stare decisis, we decline to overrule Miranda ourselves.8 The judgment of the Court of Appeals is therefore



1. While our cases have long interpreted the Due Process and Self-Incrimination Clauses to require that a suspect be accorded a fair trial free from coerced testimony, our application of those Clauses to the context of custodial police interrogation is relatively recent because the routine practice of such interrogation is itself a relatively new development. See, e.g.Miranda, 384 U.S., at 445—458.

2. See also Davis v. United States, 512 U. S 452, 457—458 (1994); Withrow v. Williams507 U.S. 680, 690—691 (1993) (“Miranda’s safeguards are not constitutional in character”); Duckworth v. Eagan492 U.S. 195, 203 (1989); Connecticut v. Barrett479 U.S. 523, 528 (1987) (“[T]he Miranda Court adopted prophylactic rules designed to insulate the exercise of Fifth Amendment rights”); Oregon v. Elstad470 U.S. 298, 306 (1985); Edwards v. Arizona451 U.S. 477, 492 (1981) (Powell, J., concurring in result).

3. Our conclusion regarding Miranda’s constitutional basis is further buttressed by the fact that we have allowed prisoners to bring alleged Miranda violations before the federal courts in habeas corpus proceedings. See Thompson v. Keohane516 U.S. 99 (1995); Withrowsupra, at 690—695. Habeas corpus proceedings are available only for claims that a person “is in custody in violation of the Constitution or laws or treaties of the United States.” 28 U.S.C. § 2254(a). Since the Miranda rule is clearly not based on federal laws or treaties, our decision allowing habeas review for Miranda claims obviously assumes that Miranda is of constitutional origin.

4. See 384 U.S., at 445 (“The constitutional issue we decide in each of these cases is the admissibility of statements obtained from a defendant questioned while in custody”), 457 (stating that the Miranda Court was concerned with “adequate safeguards to protect precious Fifth Amendment rights”), 458 (examining the “history and precedent underlying the Self-Incrimination Clause to determine its applicability in this situation”), 476 (“The requirement of warnings and waiver of rights is … fundamental with respect to the Fifth Amendment privilege and not simply a preliminary ritual to existing methods of interrogation”), 479 (“The whole thrust of our foregoing discussion demonstrates that the Constitution has prescribed the rights of the individual when confronted with the power of government when it provided in the Fifth Amendment that an individual cannot be compelled to be a witness against himself”), 481, n. 52 (stating that the Court dealt with “constitutional standards in relation to statements made”), 490 (“[T]he issues presented are of constitutional dimensions and must be determined by the courts”), 489 (stating that the Miranda Court was dealing “with rights grounded in a specific requirement of the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution”).

5. Many of our subsequent cases have also referred to Miranda’s constitutional underpinnings. See, e.g.Withrow, 507 U.S., at 691 (“ ‘Prophylactic’ though it may be, in protecting a defendant’s Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination, Miranda safeguards a ‘fundamental trial right’ ”); Illinois v. Perkins496 U.S. 292, 296 (1990) (describing Miranda’s warning requirement as resting on “the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination”); Butler v. McKellar494 U.S. 407, 411 (1990) (“[T]he Fifth Amendment bars police-initiated interrogation following a suspect’s request for counsel in the context of a separate investigation”); Michigan v. Jackson475 U.S. 625, 629 (1986) (“The Fifth Amendment protection against compelled self-incrimination provides the right to counsel at custodial interrogations”); Moran v. Burbine475 U.S. 412, 427 (1986) (referring to Miranda as “our interpretation of the Federal Constitution”); Edwards, 451 U.S., at 481—482.

6. The Court of Appeals relied in part on our statement that the Miranda decision in no way “creates a ‘constitutional straightjacket.’ ” See 166 F.3d, at 672 (quoting Miranda, 384 U.S., at 467). However, a review of our opinion in Miranda clarifies that this disclaimer was intended to indicate that the Constitution does not require police to administer the particular Miranda warnings, not that the Constitution does not require a procedure that is effective in securing Fifth Amendment rights.

7. Because no party to the underlying litigation argued in favor of §3501’s constitutionality in this Court, we invited Professor Paul Cassell to assist our deliberations by arguing in support of the judgment below.

8. Various other contentions and suggestions have been pressed by the numerous amici, but because of the procedural posture of this case we do not think it appropriate to consider them. See United Parcel Service, Inc. v. Mitchell451 U.S. 56, 60, n. 2 (1981); Bell v. Wolfish441 U.S. 520, 531—532, n. 13 (1979); Knetsch v. United States, 364 U.S. 361, 370 (1960).

[DICKERSON V. UNITED STATES (99-5525) 530 U.S. 428 (2000) 166 F.3d 667]

[EDITORIAL: Tax returns are "confessions". This case hinges on what constitutes "voluntary" in the context of such confessions]

United States v. Kahriger, 345 US 22 - Supreme Court 1953

"*36 The United States has a system of taxation by confession. That a people so numerous, scattered and individualistic annually assesses itself with a tax liability, often in highly burdensome amounts, is a reassuring sign of the stability and vitality of our system of self-government. What surprised me in once trying to help administer these laws was not to discover examples of recalcitrance, fraud or self-serving mistakes in reporting, but to discover that such derelictions were so few. It will be a sad day for the revenues if the good will of the people toward their taxing system is frittered away in efforts to accomplish by taxation moral reforms that cannot be accomplished by direct legislation. But the evil that can come from this statute will probably soon make itself manifest to Congress. The evil of a judicial decision impairing the legitimate taxing power by extreme constitutional interpretations might not be transient. Even though this statute approaches the fair limits of constitutionality, I join the decision of the Court.

MR. JUSTICE BLACK, with whom MR. JUSTICE DOUGLAS concurs, dissenting.

The Fifth Amendment declares that no person "shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself." The Court nevertheless here sustains an Act which requires a man to register and confess that he is engaged in the business of gambling. I think this confession can provide a basis to convict him of a federal crime for having gambled before registration without paying a federal tax. 26 U. S. C. (Supp. V) §§ 3285, 3290, 3291, 3294. Whether or not the Act has this effect, I am sure that it creates a squeezing device contrived to put a man in federal prison if he refuses to confess himself into a state prison as a violator of state gambling 37*37 laws.[*] The coercion of confessions is a common but justly criticized practice of many countries that do not have or live up to a Bill of Rights. But we have a Bill of Rights that condemns coerced confessions, however refined or legalistic may be the technique of extortion. I would hold that this Act violates the Fifth Amendment. See my dissent in Feldman v. United States, 322 U. S. 487, 494-503."
[United States v. Kahriger, 345 US 22 - Supreme Court 1953]

Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Vol. II, Third Revision, Eighth Edition, 1914, pp. 3230-3238:

"Income tax:  In order to invoke the powers of a court of equity to restrain the collection of illegal taxes, the case must be brought within the well recognized foundations of equitable jurisdiction [* * *] and it must clearly appear not only that the tax is illegal, but that the property owner has no adequate remedy at law, and that there are special circumstances bringing the case under some recognized head of equity jurisdiction…” [Cites omitted.]

“Taxes become a lien on property only by statute…”

“Taxes illegally assessed and paid may always be recovered back, if the collector understands from the payor that the taxes are regarded as illegal and that suit will be instituted to compel the refunding of them; Erskine v. Van Arsdale, 15 Wall. (U.S.) 75, 21 L.Ed. 63, a case of internal revenue taxes.”

“Where a state official receives money for a tax paid under duress with notice of its illegality, he has no right to it and the name of the state does not protect him from suit; Atchison, T. & S. F. R. Co. v. O'Connor, 223 U.S. 280, 32 Sup.Ct. 216, 56 L.Ed. 436, Ann.Cas. 1913C, 1050."

"The rule is firmly established that taxes voluntarily paid cannot be recovered back, and payments with knowledge and without compulsion are voluntary; when paid under protest or with notice of suit, a recovery may, on occasion, be had, although, generally speaking, even protest or notice will not avail if the payment be made voluntarily, with full knowledge, and without any coercion by the actual or threatened exercise of power possessed, or supposed to be possessed, over person or property, from which there is no means of immediate relief than payment; Chesebrough v. United States, 192 U.S. 253, 24 Sup.Ct. 262, 48 L.Ed. 432 (purchase of war revenue stamps for deed without protest or notice)."

[Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Vol. II, Third Revision, Eighth Edition, 1914, pp. 3230-3238]