Newark Morning Ledger Co. v. United States, 507 U.S. 546, 3 (1993)

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Opinion of the Court

Kent L. Jones, Robert S. Pomerance, Francis M. Allegra, and Steven W. Parks.*

Justice Blackmun delivered the opinion of the Court.

This case presents the issue whether, under 167 of the Internal Revenue Code, 26 U. S. C. 167, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) may treat as nondepreciable an intangible asset proved to have an ascertainable value and a limited useful life, the duration of which can be ascertained with reasonable accuracy, solely because the IRS considers the asset to be goodwill as a matter of law.1

*Briefs of amici curiae urging reversal were filed for Black & Decker Corp. et al. by Mark I. Levy, Arthur I. Gould, Roger J. Jones, and Andrew L. Frey; for Charles Schwab Corp. by Glenn A. Smith, Robert C. Alexander, and Teresa A. Maloney; for Donrey, Inc., by Lester G. Fant III, Daniel M. Davidson, Rex E. Lee, and Carter G. Phillips; for the Independent Insurance Agents of America et al. by Kenneth J. Kies; for Magazine Publishers of America, Inc., by James L. Malone III and George W. Benson; for the New England Fuel Institute et al. by Gary J. Klein, Bernhardt K. Wruble, and John S. Moot; for the Tax Executives Institute, Inc., by Timothy J. McCormally and Mary L. Fahey; and for Worrell Enterprises, Inc., by Malcolm L. Stein and Stanley E. Preiser.

Briefs of amici curiae were filed for the American Bankers Association by John J. Gill III, Michael F. Crotty, Joanne Ames, Philip C. Cook, Terence J. Greene, and Timothy J. Peaden; for the American Business Press by Robert A. Saltzstein, Stephen M. Feldman, and David R. Straus; for Colorado National Bankshares, Inc., et al. by James E. Bye and Richard G. Wilkins; for Coopers & Lybrand by David L. McLean; for the Investment Counsel Association of America, Inc., by Kenneth W. Gideon; for the Newspaper Association of America by George L. Middleton, Jr., and Corrine M. Yu; for Philip Morris Companies Inc. by Jerome B. Libin and Padric K. J. O'Brien; and for Frederic W. Hickman et al., pro se.

1 Section 167 states: "(a) General rule "There shall be allowed as a depreciation deduction a reasonable allowance for the exhaustion, wear and tear (including a reasonable allowance for obsolescence)—

"(1) of property used in the trade or business, or

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