U.S. Tax Court

Today we went to the the U.S. Tax Court and the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. It was actually pretty difficult to find the entrance to the Tax Court! After our driver dropped us off, we could see that the entrance was through an alley and facing a courtyard. We saw massive steps and assumed they were where we would be entering, but the entrance was actually down a tiny starewell on the far right of the building. Once we made it through security, our guide explained that the massive steps did in fact lead to the original entrance—in fact, the entire courthouse was designed to be open, with judges easily accessible. However, due to modern security concerns, they have had to work against the building's design to protect everyone's safety. 

Chief Judge Kerrigan and Chief Special Trial Judge Carluzzo gave us an overview of the history of tax law in the United States and how the Tax Court functions. Interestingly, the judges at the Tax Court actually travel for cases, which I did not know. Later, Judge Stong told me that she had once traveled to my hometown—Juneau, Alaska—for a case. She said that the case eventually settled in large part because everyone wanted to get away from the Alaskan winter weather. 

After meeting with Judge Kerrigan, we drove to the Supreme Court so our guests could take photos. Due to the current climate, the Supreme Court had a high fence around it and was heavily guarded. Haley noted that the Court didn't used to be so heavily protected; in college she slept outside it to attend a hearing the morning after. Combined with the high security at the U.S. Tax Court, it felt like a poignent moment to be showing visitors around our capitol.