The interviews continue

September 27, 2010
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From IL reporter Michael Hoskins:

Andrew Swain
He said the Tax Court would take his career to the next level, and he’d be able to continue ensuring fair application of tax laws for the state and people as he now does for the Indiana Attorney General’s Office. Talking about his experience in Colorado, Swain said that Indiana is different because of the Tax Court - Colorado doesn’t have one - and that means this state has a clearer, non-repetitious system where you aren’t wasting time and re-litigating the same issues because of a lack of common tax concepts. He described the Miller Brewing case as an example of how the Indiana Tax Court got it right about income tax sourcing, and he also discussed his role in coming up with a novel concept for how the state could go after delinquent taxpayers on issues such as stereo equipment dealers and puppy mills. However, he said the state shouldn’t use taxes to address social issues. Commissioners also pressed him about mediations for Tax Court, and Swain said he’s in favor of that generally but that he doesn’t see ADR Rule 2.7(b)2 about lawyers having to be present at mediation applying to the Tax Court because the AG and governor must first sign off on any settlements.

Hon. Bruce Kolb
The Tax Court has had significant impact in the past, but he sees that impact growing as more tax disputes arise and as corporations and lawmakers study different tax areas that present issues of first impression. That should be examined, he said. Bruce Kolb also said the state’s inheritance tax areas do not have much caselaw. He talked about how his entire legal career has involved him working for the state, and his current role as Administrative Law Judge for both the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and Department of Revenue. He said he hears commercial driver’s license cases, and 99 percent of those are pro se, so he makes those litigants feel at ease, explaining process and trying to answer any questions. He wants to look at and foster more on the area of pro se, and he also wondered why only one case from 2007 has been the only one in three years referred for mediation. One has to be careful not to create law and go beyond the statutes, as he said may have happened in the past. Studying his workload, Kolb said that in 28 instances he’s signed off on letters of findings in which he might have a conflict and he’d have to discuss those potential issues with the parties.

Marilyn Meighen
Marilyn Meighen has been helping to shape tax laws for most of her legal career and this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to continue that path at a whole other level. She highlighted her experience second-chairing the case that “changed the world” in tax law - Town of St. John. Now being down in the trenches after leaving the Attorney General’s Office, Meighen said she has more flexibility in litigating and handling cases. Her work defending assessments might be perceived as a conflict, but she said her credibility is always on the line and she does a fair assessment of every case to make sure what’s being done is right. She thinks the Tax Court’s small-claims division needs to be examined more so that someone challenging their assessments shouldn’t have to hire an attorney. She noted that she respects Judge Fisher and the court, but has different perspectives on issues such as exemptions for property-tax cases being narrowly construed.



 

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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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