Paul L. Caron

Thursday, May 9, 2013

President Obama Nominates Two Tax Court Judges

Tax Court Logo 2President Obama yesterday nominated Joseph W. Nega and Michael B. Thornton to the United States Tax Court:

Joseph W. Nega, Nominee for Judge, United States Tax Court
Joseph W. Nega is a Senior Legislation Counsel to the Joint Committee on Taxation of the United States Congress, a position he has held since 2008.  His primary areas of responsibility are the individual income tax, tax exemption requirements for state and local bonds, tax credit bonds, and employment taxes.  Mr. Nega has served on the Joint Committee staff since 1985.  Prior to his current position, Mr. Nega served as a Legislation Counsel from 1989 to 2008, and as a Legislation Attorney from 1985 to 1989.  Mr. Nega received a B.S.C. in Accounting from DePaul University, a J.D. from DePaul University School of Law, and an M.L.T. (Taxation) from Georgetown University School of Law.

Judge Michael B. Thornton, Nominee for Judge, United States Tax Court
Judge Michael B. Thornton currently serves as a Judge of the United States Tax Court, a position held since March 1998.  From June 2012 to March 2013 he served as Chief Judge of the Tax Court.  Previously, Judge Thornton served in the U.S. Department of the Treasury as Deputy Tax Legislative Counsel in the Office of Tax Policy from 1995 to 1998, first joining the Department  as an Attorney-Adviser in February 1995.  He served with the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means as Chief Minority Tax Counsel in 1995, and as Tax Counsel from 1988 to 1994.  Judge Thornton was an Associate Attorney with Miller and Chevalier from 1985 to 1988 and Sutherland, Asbill, and Brennan from 1982 to 1983.  He was a Law Clerk to the Honorable Charles Clark, Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit from 1983 to 1984.  Judge Thornton received a B.S. and M.S. from University of Southern Mississippi, an M.A. from University of Tennessee, and J.D. from Duke University School of Law.

(Hat Tip: John Barrick.)

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Its too bad we can't get tax court judges with practical CPA and / or law firm experience of more than a few years...Government has a perverted view of the Code and does not have a taxpayer view or the experience of business...too bad it is merely a political appointment and not one of the person who has the broadest experience in tax.

Posted by: Sid | May 9, 2013 6:45:31 PM

I don't think we want people on the Tax Court with "practical CPA" experience any more than we want a gentleman who has been a legislative aid for his entire career. Neither type of "lawyer" has any experience in tax controversy work or litigation. Tax Court judges need backgrounds in tax, to be sure, but they are after all "judges" first and foremost. At least a few years of litigation experience might be worthwhile.

As for government having a perverted view of the IRC--wow, that's an interesting viewpoint. But then, maybe so, since major portions of the Code were written by and for business.

Posted by: Publius Novus | May 10, 2013 6:41:26 AM