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High Court Ponders Fate of Tax Rebel


By James P. Tucker, Jr.

The Supreme Court will huddle on October 19 to consider whether to hear the appeal of a strong tax rebel who argues that the federal income tax is unconstitutional on numerous grounds. It is believed to be the first time that a classic tax rebel’s case has gone so far.

The justices met privately, which is routine, to decide whether to hear the case of Thomas T. Scambos, Jr. v. U.S. Department of Justice on October 19. Their decision has not yet been made public. If Scambos prevails, it will be the first time the high court has heard open arguments from a classic tax rebel. It will be a dramatic moment in history that the mainstream media will be compelled to cover.

It requires the approval of four justices for the case to be heard. A possible vote for approval is Justice Clarence Thomas, who also has called for hearing challenges to President Obama’s constitutional qualifications for office on grounds he was born in Africa, not Hawaii. The fearful court refused to accept that challenge. If the other self-proclaimed “conservatives” vote according to the views they voice, the case will be heard.

They are: Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito. Scambos has petitioned for a writ of certiorari, which asks the high court to take his case from the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals and directly hear his appeal.

Of his numerous challenges to lower court dismissals of cases by tax rebels, Scambos attacked the rejection of constitutional rights under the Fifth Amendment’s prohibition against compelling a citizen to be a “witness against himself.” Courts have long agreed that this includes surrendering personal documents.


In 1886, his petition says, “the question of Fifth Amendment protection for the books, records and personal documents of a witness who may be implicated in a crime was first considered in Boyd v. United States, where the Supreme Court expanded Fifth Amendment protection against compulsory testimony to include the books and records of the witness.”

The court said: “Any compulsory discovery by extorting the party’s oath, or compelling the production of his private books and papers, to convict him of a crime, or to forfeit his property, is contrary to the principles of a free government. It is abhorrent to the instincts of an Englishman; it is abhorrent to the instincts of an American. It may suit the purposes of a despotic power, but it cannot abide the pure atmosphere of political liberty and personal freedom.”

The court further said: “And we are further of the opinion that a compulsory production of the private books and papers of the owner of goods sought to be forfeited in such a suit is compelling him to be a witness against himself, within the meaning of the Fifth Amendment. [It] is the equivalent of a search and seizure—and an unreasonable search and seizure— within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment.”

AFP correspondent James P. Tucker Jr. is a veteran journalist who spent many years as a member of the “elite” media in Washington. Tucker is the author of Jim Tucker’s Bilderberg Diary. Bound in an attractive full-color softcover and containing 272 pages—loaded with photos—the book recounts Tucker’s experiences over the last quarter century at Bilderberg meetings. $25 from AFP. No charge for S&H in U.S.

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(Issue # 43, October 26, 2009)

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