Marvin D. Miller's “Reliance” on Benson (1989)
By: Bill E. Branscum
Copyrights 2003

In 1984, the year that Benson claims to have completed his research into the ratification of the 16th Amendment, Marvin D. Miller of Knox, Indiana, filed a federal income tax return, upon which he wrote:

"New evidence, Certified and Documented, Shows the 16th Amendment was never legally passed. This means the whole Form, The IRS and income tax Structure is Fraudulent and Illegal, doesn't it? Please Advise!"

The Internal Revenue Service responded by assessing Miller with a civil penalty of $500 for filing a "frivolous" return within the meaning of 26 U.S.C. § 6702. Miller filed a Complaint challenging this assessment and the constitutionality of the Sixteenth Amendment in US District Court.

In his pro se Complaint, Miller alleged that the Sixteenth Amendment is unconstitutional because it was illegally ratified. According to the Court documents, Miller specifically relied upon the book by William Benson and "Red" Beckman entitled The Law That Never Was (1985). The government, in turn, moved for summary judgment and requested attorneys' fees and costs for defending against a frivolous suit.

On September 3, 1987, the district court granted the government's motion, dismissed Miller's Complaint and sanctioned Miller $1500 for pursuing a frivolous defense.

On December 1, 1987, an undaunted Miller filed a Notice of Appeal. In this appeal, Miller argued that he brought his claim in good faith and that the sanctions were excessive.

On February 8, 1989, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals published a per curiam Opinion in which they stated:

“As best we can surmise, Miller has followed the advice of those associated with the "tax protester movement." The leaders of this movement conduct seminars across the country in which they attempt to convince taxpayers that the sixteenth amendment and assorted enforcement provisions of the tax code are unconstitutional.”

“The movement's manifesto, Benson and Beckman's The Law That Never Was, is a collection of documents relating to the ratification of the sixteenth amendment, and is intended to be both a call to arms for the movement and "exhibit A" in the trials of tax protesters who argue that the sixteenth amendment was illegally ratified.”

“Benson and Beckman did not discover anything; they rediscovered something that Secretary Knox considered in 1913. The Solicitor of the Department of State drew up a list of the errors in the instruments and--taking into account both the triviality of the deviations and the treatment of earlier amendments that had experienced more substantial problems--advised the Secretary that he was authorized to declare the amendment adopted. The Secretary did so. ... [his] decision is now beyond review.”

“We find it hard to understand why the long and unbroken line of cases upholding the constitutionality of the sixteenth amendment generally, and those specifically rejecting the argument advanced in The Law That Never Was, have not persuaded Miller and his compatriots to seek a more effective forum for airing their attack on the federal income tax structure.”

In reviewing this exhibit, note that the cited quotes are verbatim. It is undeniable that the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals was fully aware of William J. Benson, his book in general, and the Sixteenth Amendment related issues raised in the book in particular, nevertheless holding that the entire issue is “beyond review.”

Furthermore, the Court also referenced the long and unbroken line of cases rejecting Benson’s ratification argument.

In sum, the representations that the Court has never addressed the issues raised in the Law That Never Was, and that the government is afraid of these issues and knows they cannot win in the face of Benson’s “Reliance Package,” are well beyond merely disingenuous.

Rather than expect your Clients to accept your word for it, you can let them read the Decision and Order for themselves. See Exhibit.

I welcome your comments, questions and suggestions.

© Copyright 2002 - Bill E. Branscum. All Rights Reserved.