United States v. Williams, 514 U.S. 527, 15 (1995)

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Cite as: 514 U. S. 527 (1995)

Rehnquist, C. J., dissenting

* * *

The judgment of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is


Justice Scalia, concurring.

I join the opinion of the Court, except insofar as it holds that Williams is a "taxpayer" within the meaning of 26 U. S. C. 6511(a) and 7701(a)(14), see ante, at 534-536. That seems to me unnecessary to the decision, since 6511(a), an administrative exhaustion provision, has too remote a bearing upon 1346(a)(1), the jurisdictional provision at issue, to create by implication the significant limitation upon jurisdiction that the Government asserts.

I acknowledge the rule requiring clear statement of waivers of sovereign immunity, see post, at 544 (dissenting opinion), and I agree that the rule applies even to determination of the scope of explicit waivers. See, e. g., United States v. Nordic Village, Inc., 503 U. S. 30, 34 (1992). The rule does not, however, require explicit waivers to be given a meaning that is implausible—which would in my view be the result of restricting the unequivocal language of 1346(a)(1) by reference to 6511(a). " 'The exemption of the sovereign from suit involves hardship enough where consent has been withheld. We are not to add to its rigor by refinement of construction where consent has been announced.' " United States v. Aetna Casualty & Surety Co., 338 U. S. 366, 383 (1949) (quoting Anderson v. Hayes Constr. Co., 243 N. Y. 140, 147, 153 N. E. 28, 29-30 (1926) (Cardozo, J.)).

Chief Justice Rehnquist, with whom Justice Kennedy and Justice Thomas join, dissenting.

The Court, in an unusual departure from the bedrock principle that waivers of sovereign immunity must be "unequivocally expressed," holds that respondent may sue for a refund of a tax which was not assessed against her. In so doing, it


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