Justice Gorsuch’s Dissent from Denial of Review in an Excessive Fines Clause Case
Here’s his opinion from today’s Toth v. U.S.:
In the 1930s, Monica Toth’s father fled his home in Germany to escape the swell of violent antisemitism. Eventually, he found his way to South America, where he made a new life with his young family and went on to enjoy a successful business career in Buenos Aires. But perhaps owing to his early formative experiences, Ms. Toth’s father always kept a reserve of funds in a Swiss bank account. Shortly before his death, he gave Ms. Toth several million dollars, also in a Swiss bank account. He encouraged his daughter to keep the money there—just in case.
Ms. Toth, now in her eighties and an American citizen, followed her father’s advice. For several years, however, she failed to report her foreign bank account to the federal government as the law requires. 31 U.S.C. § 5314. Ms. Toth insists this was an innocent mistake. She says she did not know of the reporting obligation. And when she learned of it, she says, she completed the necessary disclosures.
The Internal Revenue Service saw things differently. Pursuant to § 5321, the agency charged Ms. Toth with willfully violating § 5314’s reporting requirement and assessed a civ
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