This Article attempts to provide the first comprehensive rationale for defending the current corporate income tax. It argues that the usual reasons given for the tax (primarily as an indirect way of taxing shareholders, or alternatively as a form of benefit tax) are inadequate. It then explains what the original rationale to adopt this tax was in 1909, namely to regulate managerial power, and that this rationale stems from the “real” view of the corporation, which was the dominant view throughout the many transformations underwent by the corporate form from Roman times to the present. Turning to normative argument, the Article then argues that the regulatory rationale given for taxing corporations in 1909 is still valid, since similar social conditions continue to exist, and in fact is strengthened by the rise of multinational enterprises. Finally, the Article argues that this rationale is necessary from a normative perspective to support the fight against the two crucial current threats to the corporate tax posed by the corporate tax shelter and tax competition phenomena.
Ableman v. Booth occupies a significant place in constitutional history for upholding the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 and presenting the antebellum Supreme Court’s theory of federalism. This Note presents a new interpretation of the states’ rights movement in Wisconsin that necessitated the Supreme Court’s ruling in Ableman and argues that, viewed in this historical context, the decision was a complete failure. When a fugitive slave was captured in Milwaukee, Wisconsonites wished to reject the principles of the Fugitive Slave Act in response to the Kansas-Nebraska Act but were not yet willing to violate the law. The Supreme Court of Wisconsin enabled social change by providing the people with states’ rights as a legal basis to reject the Fugitive Slave Act. Federal attempts to vindicate the Fugitive Slave Act, culminating in Ableman, created a backlash that transformed states’ rights into a popular movement. Party politics exacerbated this backlash, as Republicans opportunistically used states’ rights against the more moderate Democrats. As a result, states’ rights controlled every major election in Wisconsin and nearly precipitated a civil war. Moreover, Ableman nearly pushed other states to use states’ rights to challenge the federal government, as national antislavery leaders hoped to use the theory for their own goals. Conflict was averted only because the theory became inconvenient for Republicans in the 1860 presidential election, not because of federal coercion resulting from Ableman.