I am sure others and even I will have a lot to say about the opinion and its ramifications later. For now, this caught my eye as Justice Scalia jabs at the use of the Blue Book:
Woods contends, however, that a document known as the “Blue Book” compels a different result. See General Explanation of the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981 (Pub. L. 97–34), 97 Cong., 1st Sess., 333, and n. 2 (Jt.Comm. Print 1980). Blue Books are prepared by the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation as commentaries on recently passed tax laws. They are “written after passage of the legislation and therefore d[o] not inform the decisions of the members of Congress who vot[e] in favor of the [law].” Flood v. United States, 33 F. 3d 1174, 1178 (CA9 1994). We have held that such “[p]ost-enactment legislative history (a contradiction in terms) is not a legitimatetool of statutory interpretation.” Bruesewitz v. Wyeth LLC, 562 U. S. ___, ___ (2011) (slip op., at 17–18); accord, Federal Nat. Mortgage Assn. v. United States, 379 F. 3d 1303, 1309 (CA Fed. 2004) (dismissing Blue Book as “a post-enactment explanation”). While we have relied on similar documents in the past, see FPC v. Memphis Light, Gas & Water Div., 411 U. S. 458, 471–472 (1973), our more recent precedents disapprove of that practice. Of course the Blue Book, like a law review article, may be relevant to the extent it is persuasive. But the passage at issue here does not persuade. It concerns a situation quite different from the one we confront: two separate, nonoverlapping underpayments, only one of which is attributable to a valuation misstatement.Addendum 12/4/13 10:32am:
I have posted the foregoing, along with more discussion on the Blue Book on my Federal Tax Procedure Blog: Supreme Court Applies 40% Penalty to Bullshit Basis Enhancement Shelters (Federal Tax Procedure Blog 12/3/13), here.
Also, I have extended and updated those comments on the following: More on the Supreme Court's Opinion in Woods on TEFRA and the 40% Basis Overstatement Penalty (Federal Tax Procedure Blog 12/4/13), here.
Addendum 12/10/13 8:45 am:
For a good crisp discussion of the holdings, see Alan Horowitz, Supreme Court Rules for Government on Both Issues in Woods (Tax Appellate Blog 12/3/13), here.