United States v. Burke, 504 U.S. 229, 14 (1992)

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242

UNITED STATES v. BURKE

Scalia, J., concurring in judgment

Accordingly, we hold that the backpay awards received by respondents in settlement of their Title VII claims are not excludable from gross income as "damages received . . . on account of personal injuries" under 104(a)(2). The judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed.

It is so ordered.

Justice Scalia, concurring in the judgment.

Section 104(a)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code excludes from gross income "the amount of any damages received . . . on account of personal injuries or sickness." 26 U. S. C. 104(a)(2) (emphasis added). The Court accepts at the outset of its analysis the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regulation (dating from 1960) that identifies "personal injuries" under this exclusion with the violation of, generically, "tort or tort type rights," 25 Fed. Reg. 11490 (1960); 26 CFR 1.104-1(c) (1991) 1—thus extending the coverage of the provision to " 'dignitary' or nonphysical tort[s] such as defamation," ante, at 235-236 (footnote omitted). Thereafter, the opinion simply considers the criterion for determining whether "tort or tort type rights" are at stake, the issue on which it disagrees with the dissent.

In my view there is no basis for accepting, without qualification, the IRS' "tort rights" formulation, since it is not within the range of reasonable interpretation of the statutory text. See Chevron U. S. A. Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U. S. 837, 842-845 (1984). In isolation, I suppose, the term "personal injuries" can be read to encompass injury to any noncontractual interest " 'for which the court will provide a remedy in the form of an action for

1 Though this regulation purports expressly to define only the term "damages received," 26 CFR 1.104-1(c) (1991), and not the succeeding term we are called upon to interpret today ("personal injuries"), the IRS has long treated the regulation as descriptive of the ambit of 104(a)(2) as a whole. See, e. g., Rev. Rul. 85-98, 1985-2 Cum. Bull. 51; Brief for United States 22-23.

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