Charles Dickens in Tax Court, courtesy Judge Mark Holmes

Bob Kamman, Procedurally Taxing: “I searched other Tax Court orders and decisions available at the Court’s website. Surprisingly, this is the only reference to Jarndyce. I searched for Dickens. There were petitioners named Dickens, and petitioners with an address on Dickens Street. But the only other Dickens reference came from an opinion by the same Judge Holmes” [U.S. Tax Court Judge Mark Holmes, who has won praise for his writing style]. It was a quote from Tale of Two Cities about oppressive rural taxation:

[The town’s] people were poor, and many of them were sitting at their doors, shredding spare onions and the like for supper, while many were at the fountain, washing leaves, and grasses, and any such small yieldings of the earth that could be eaten. Expressive signs of what made them poor, were not wanting; the tax for the state, the tax for the church, the tax for the lord, tax local and tax general, were to be paid here and to be paid there, according to solemn inscription in the little village, until the wonder was, that there was any village left unswallowed.

[Image from Joseph Hémard’s illustration of the French Tax Code, via Yale Law Library Rare Books Blog]

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