Does the Federal Budget Trump Constitutional Rights?

An article by SEAT co-founder Laura Snyder was recently published by the Hofstra Law Review.

The article is entitled “Does the Federal Budget Trump Constitutional Rights?

The article’s abstract appears below.

The article is available via this link.



Even though most American nationals living outside the United States do not owe U.S. federal income tax, the U.S. nationality-based income tax system nevertheless places considerable burdens on them. In doing so, the system violates Fourteenth Amendment equal protection as well as other constitutional and human rights.

The purpose of the system is not to raise revenue. Instead, its purpose is to punish and scapegoat American nationals living outside the United States, for no reason other than the fact that they live outside the United States. This is evidenced by the statements and actions of policymakers as well as by Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) data and the approach the IRS takes with respect to international taxpayers. The amounts collected by the system are insignificant, as compared both to income tax revenue from all individuals and to government spending.

Congress has abdicated to two unelected bodies—the Congressional Budget Office (“CBO”) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (“JCT”)—considerable power to determine the outcome of policy initiatives. If these bodies do not assign a positive budget score, the initiative is likely to die.

This has devastating consequences for reform of the U.S. nationality-based tax system. Reform is desperately needed. But, as long as a positive budget score is required, true reform—reform that will end the system’s violations of constitutional and other fundamental rights for all Americans—is impossible.

Instead of a budget score, there are many other factors that should be considered—factors that will actually make a difference for Americans living both outside and inside the United States. Will the policy initiative: (i) end the discrimination on its face, in the text of the relevant statutes and regulations; (ii) allow overseas Americans to live normal lives, freed of the limitations that the U.S. federal tax system places on no one except them; (iii) allow overseas Americans to open and maintain bank accounts in the countries where they live and under the same conditions as the other residents of the countries where they live; (iv) relieve overseas Americans of the inordinate stress, expense, and danger of complying with U.S. federal taxation; and (v) enable overseas Americans to remain U.S. citizens?

Ultimately, the most important question is: will the proposed legislation accord to all Americans, regardless of where they live today, individual self-determination?

Should the federal budget trump constitutional and human rights? Should constitutional and human rights be protected only if and to the extent the initiative receives a positive budget score? When constitutional and human rights are at stake—such as equal protection before the law—should a budget score matter at all?

Surely the response to each of these questions must be no. Otherwise, Congress will have abdicated to the CBO and JCT both its power and its duty to protect constitutional and other fundamental rights— when neither the CBO nor the JCT has the mandate, expertise, or processes to do so. It would prioritize the federal budget over constitutional and other fundamental rights. It would deny the protection of fundamental rights if doing so would negatively impact the federal budget.

This article examines one example of how Fourteenth Amendment equal protection rights (among other rights) are sacrificed on the altar of the budget score. Which—and whose—rights will be sacrificed next?

Download the article here.

One thought on “Does the Federal Budget Trump Constitutional Rights?

  1. The federal government takes care of itself and ignores everyone, even when it causes the problem. Courts go along with the charade and rubber stamp the lawlessness. The constitution is a meaningless document.

    Indeed, a lot of bills are passed without scoring. Pet projects, like funding Ukraine, are rarely scored and when they are, the number is ignored. Elites created the scoring to kill off people agendas.

    A new UN claim is needed which details how “they” have deliberately trampled our rights. “They” consider the diaspora an adversary and has designed a whole government approach against us. Guilt shaming is their modus operandi to enable the cruelty.

    Great article.

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