Download this Paper Open PDF in Browser

What a History of Tax Withholding Tells Us About the Relationship Between Statutes and Constitutional Law

47 Pages Posted: 30 Jul 2014 Last revised: 22 Aug 2014

Anuj C. Desai

University of Wisconsin Law School

Date Written: April 5, 2014

Abstract

In this Article, I explain what a seemingly obscure statute, the Current Tax Payment Act of 1943, can tell us about the relationship between statutes and constitutional law. I use William Eskridge and John Ferejohn’s notion of a “superstatute” as a lens through which to view this relationship. A “superstatute,” in Eskridge and Ferejohn’s conception, is a statute that has small “c” constitutional emanations, emanations that both affect interpretations of the large “C” Constitution and are entrenched against subsequent legislative change. To better understand the precise contours of the notion of a superstatute, I look at the Current Tax Payment Act of 1943, which instituted the system of federal tax withholding for wage income. I describe the history of federal income tax withholding leading up to the passage of that Act, explaining in turn how that history sheds light on the underlying notion of a superstatute.

Keywords: statute, Constitution, superstatute, tax history, withholding

JEL Classification: H24, H29, K23, K34, N41, N42

Suggested Citation

Desai, Anuj C., What a History of Tax Withholding Tells Us About the Relationship Between Statutes and Constitutional Law (April 5, 2014). Northwestern University Law Review, Vol. 108, No. 3, 2014; Univ. of Wisconsin Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1274. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2473820

Anuj C. Desai (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin Law School ( email )

975 Bascom Mall
Madison, WI 53706
United States
608-263-7605 (Phone)
608-262-5485 (Fax)

Paper statistics

Downloads
114
Rank
206,207
Abstract Views
484