(FreedomBeacon.com)- On Tuesday, the Supreme Court issued a ruling that included a historic 5-4 split, with Justice Neil Gorsuch writing for the majority and Judge Amy Coney Barrett writing in dissent. In a crucial part of his judgment, Judge Gorsuch endorsed extra care for the due process rights of federal defendants, but only Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson agreed.
Although Bittner is a relatively unimportant case, Jackson’s judgment reveals a libertarianism in her philosophy that may set her apart from the two other progressive justices. The case involved civil fines for failing to declare overseas accounts to the IRS. If an American citizen or resident has more than $10,000 in overseas financial assets, they must submit a report to the IRS every year detailing their foreign financial holdings in accordance with the BSA. One of the most difficult questions to answer is what constitutes a “violation” under the BSA now that it is being enforced.
Defendant Alexandru Bittner, who has 272 undisclosed offshore accounts, will benefit from knowing the distinction. Tuesday, the Supreme Court issued a narrow 5-4 decision in favor of Bittner.
U.S. v. Davis, in which the Supreme Court issued a 5-4 majority ruling, emphasized the need of giving the BSA a restrictive interpretation for two main reasons.
To begin, the Internal Revenue Service has taken conflicting stances on this issue, which is concerning considering that many Individuals are unaware of their legal responsibilities and the government has done little to educate them.
Second, while interpreting federal statutes, federal courts must err on the side of interpreting them against the government and in favor of defendants under the rule of lenity.
Gorsuch is the most reliable supporter of this concept on the court, often to the dismay of conservatives. He wrote the ruling that overturned a federal legislation that had mandatory minimum penalties, and he refused to accept an interpretation that would have spared the law.