The Instigator
clsmooth
Pro (for)
Losing
9 Points
The Contender
mors202
Con (against)
Winning
18 Points

Wesley Snipes: Not Guilty!

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Vote Here
Pro Tied Con
Who did you agree with before the debate?
Who did you agree with after the debate?
Who had better conduct?
Who had better spelling and grammar?
Who made more convincing arguments?
Who used the most reliable sources?
Reasons for your voting decision
1,000 Characters Remaining
The voting period for this debate does not end.
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/1/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,270 times Debate No: 2358
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (9)

 

clsmooth

Pro

Wesley Snipes was acquitted on charges of tax fraud and conspiracy related to his "failure" to file federal income-tax returns. He believed his advisors who said that the Sixteenth Amendment did not give Congress the authority to lay taxes against the income of citizens derived from domestic activity. The income tax, as applied, is NOT constitutional or legal and Wesley Snipes is a hero. This story will be buried by the tax-hungry mainstream media, but the truth is mounting against the illegal IRS regime.

My argument is two-fold:

1. Congress had no power to lay taxes on citizens' income prior to the Sixteenth Amendment. After the passage of the amendment, the Supreme Court held that the Sixteenth gave Congress "NO NEW TAXING AUTHORITY." If Congress couldn't tax incomes before the Sixteenth, this means they couldn't do so afterwards. All other arguments for the income tax are moot -- it is unconstitutional, whether or not there "is a law" or not.

2. Even if the income tax WERE legal (or if the powers that be illegitimately rule that it is legal), then juries have the authority to "nullify" the law by acquitting every tax-protester case. Thus, juries can make the income tax illegal through jury-nullification activism.

The income tax was instituted -- allegedly -- to help even out the distribution of income in America. That hasn't worked. That's because the income tax and the Sixteenth Amendment go hand-in-hand with the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. The federal government's (non-existent but widely accepted) taxing authority gives otherwise worthless Federal Reserve Notes "real" value by virtue of the government's acceptance thereof for income-tax purposes. We have to work for worthless pieces of paper so that we can use them to avoid going to jail (i.e. paying our taxes). However, the Federal Reserve System is a systematic racket designed to redistribute wealth from the working classes to the elite via credit expansion. Thus, the income tax -- like most government interventions -- has served the opposite of its stated intended purpose.

My argument is that Wesley Snipes was not guilty by virtue of points 1 and 2 above. And furthermore, Americans should all go on strike from Uncle Sam. Perhaps Mr. Snipes's example can lead the way.
mors202

Con

Thank you, clsmooth, for allowing me to debate you.

I'm arguing this, not because I believe the income tax is a good thing, but because the law allows Congress to levy an income tax. In addition, I disagree with my opponent's means for ending the law.

My opponent makes the correct observation that income taxes were held to be unconstitutional prior to the passage of the 16th amendment. However, while making the argument that, even after the passage of the 16th amendment, that Congress had no power to impose income tax is wrong. My opponent cites, as evidence, the case Bowers v. Kerbaugh-Empire Co., saying that the judge ruled that the 16th amendment gave no new taxing power to Congress. However, he fails to include what the judge was really saying:

"It was not the purpose or the effect of that amendment to bring any new subject within the taxing power. Congress already had the power to tax all incomes. But taxes on incomes from some sources had been held to be "direct taxes" within the meaning of the constitutional requirement as to apportionment. The Amendment relieved from that requirement and obliterated the distinction in that respect between taxes on income that are direct taxes and those that are not, and so put on the same basis all incomes "from whatever source derived"." (http://en.wikipedia.org...)

As the statement clearly shows, the judge believe that the 16th amendment did not grant Congress new taxing power, but merely clarified what, and how Congress could tax.

In addition, clsmooth, the people wanted an income tax. That is why the amendment passed anyway. The amendment was voted on by the people, and was accepted by the people--indeed, has always been accepted by the people. Remember, America is a democracy, and the people still rule. If my opponent believe that every jury will "nullify" the law by giving not guilty verdicts to tax evaders, why doesn't he advocate a constitutional amendment getting rid of the 16th amendment? Because he knows that there is not enough support for such an act. Even if individuals do not like the laws passed by the people, they must realize that they are still obliged to follow those laws, and juries still obliged to hand down verdicts based on the law, not their own ideological beliefs.
Debate Round No. 1
clsmooth

Pro

I may be trumped on the Bowers v. Kerbaugh-Empire Co. matter -- that's what I get for listening to tax protesters instead of doing my own research. This was particularly reckless of me considering the fact that I know a lot of the anti-income tax legal arguments to be without merit. But I will continue the debate, nonetheless.

But even as you have corrected regarding the above, it is you who is in need of correction as to the intended nature of United States government. First, you mistakenly say that "the amendment was voted on by the people, and was accepted by the people" -- people don't vote on constitutional amendments, mors202. And that's because we do not, and were never intended to have, this "democracy" you speak of. The United States was intended to be a voluntary compact among sovereign states for the purpose of mutual defense. The people of each state are guaranteed a REPUBLICAN form of government, not a "democracy." There is a huge distinction. In a democracy, the majority can vote to take away the rights of a minority. In a constitutional republic, that's not permissible. Individuals have a right to their life, liberty, and property, and the income tax infringes upon these rights.

I do advocate a constitutional amendment to repeal the 16th (as well as the 14th -- which was never ratified anyway -- and the 17th). But as the people do not vote on constitutional amendments, their ability to bring one about in your "democracy" is very difficult. The two parties have enshrined themselves via corrupt and monopolistic election laws, and they make a profitable enterprise doling out favors to their contributors and other special interests at the expense of the American taxpayer. Although we do not have a democracy (thank God!), the framers of the Constitution did not intend a group of nine dictators in black robes to be the sole arbiters of constitutionality -- the executive and legislative branches were to have a role as well, as well as the states AND THE PEOPLE. Jury nullification is the ultimate example of "democracy" (in the positive sense) in action, and is part of the founders' vision for a representative republic of checks and balances on power.

Whenever any form of government becomes destructive to liberty, it is the duty of the people to alter or abolish it. The income tax and IRS are destructive to liberty, and the people should rise up to abolish these tyrannical institutions. We have nothing to lose but our chains! Hooray for Wesley Snipes!
mors202

Con

My opponent said that the people did not vote on the constitutional amendments, and they don't--directly. They vote through Congress. Congress, and specifically, the House of Representatives, is the voice of the people. Constitutionally, the Congress represents the will of the people and all the laws that are passed by the Congress are done so through the consent of the people. If the people don't like what their Congressman or woman is doing, they can remove him or her come election year. To say that the people did not have a say in the amendment process is to completely ignore the special relationship between the people and their representative. The relationship is similar to that of a lawyer and his client, the lawyer is the one who speaks, but he speaks for the client, and it is understood that what he says and does is in the interest of his client.

In addition, my opponent claims that "jury nullification" is a proper remedy for unconstitutional laws and regulations. The remedy, however, ignores the constituional laws and principles that keep order in this nation. Indeed, what my opponent advocates is the entire break down of law and order. If I am on a jury, and I disagree with the constitutionality of a law, does that mean I have the ability to just ignore the law in making my decision? Being on a jury is not to exercise judicial review. Being on a jury is to impartially weigh the evidence about an offense against a particular law, and decide whether or not the defendant is guilty of breaking the law--as it stands.

America is not a pure democracy, but it is a democratic republic. The people are, ultimately, in charge. In order to keep order, to keep liberty, We the People, set up the Constitution of the United States, which binds us, contractually, to certain rules and regulations on how and when the laws are to be change, and how and when the people are to flex their political muscle. Once we lose sight of this important concept, and seek to alter the law in ways not set out in the Constitution, this country will disintegrate into anarchy.
Debate Round No. 2
clsmooth

Pro

First off, constitutional amendments must first be passed by 2/3 of both houses of Congress. If that occurs, then they must be approved by 3/4 of the state legislatures. This in no way implies the type of "direct democracy" my opponent is talking about -- especially considering people did not vote for their U.S. senators at the time the Sixteenth was passed, AND women could not vote AND blacks were effectively barred the vote in the South (where most blacks were). So my opponent's "democracy" justification is that the elected representatives of white males, through several levels of separation, passed an amendment that no one in nearly a hundred years has had a say on. That's democracy?

"If I am on a jury, and I disagree with the constitutionality of a law, does that mean I have the ability to just ignore the law in making my decision?" YES. That IS the law. How does following the law (jury nullification IS legal) equate to a breakdown in law and order? No, jury nullification is a check on tyranny, and ensures that elected officials don't run roughshod over legitimate law and order. My opponent says "Being on a jury is not to exercise judicial review," but he is WRONG.

Here is what John Jay -- one of the authors of the Federalist Papers (with Madison and Hamilton) and the first Supreme Court Chief Justice had to say about jury nullification: "It is presumed, that juries are the best judges of facts; it is, on the other hand, presumed that courts are the best judges of law. But still both objects are within your power of decision. . . you [juries] HAVE A RIGHT TO TAKE IT UPON YOURSELVES TO JUDGE BOTH, AND TO DETERMINE THE LAW as well as the fact in controversy." (Source: http://www.maxexchange.com...)

Jury nullification is the law, and it is part of the original intent. Attempts to smear it are liberal revisionism. Our founding fathers went to war to secede from the British Empire over taxes far less onerous than those being applied today. They would have NEVER accepted an income tax or the judicial tyranny that my opponent endorses. There's a reason a constitutional amendment was needed to tax incomes -- the framers knew it was the ultimate instrument of totalitarianism. As stated before, the income tax serves primarily to give backing to the otherwise worthless Federal Reserve Notes that have been unconstitutionally declared legal tender. The elites in Washington are unresponsive to the people's demands for a sound economy and individual liberty, and indeed, the government has become destructive to those ends. Therefore, it is the purpose of the people to alter or abolish the government, and the most peaceful method for doing so is jury nullification of income-tax laws.
mors202

Con

I conced that my opponent is correct about "jury nullification". Nevertheless, it is not, as he claims, a panacea to all that ills the country. There can be negative aspects of it as well. For example, in the south, white juries ignored the law, both Constitutional (13th, 14th, and 15th amendments) and federal statue (the Civil Rights Acts of 1866 and '75) in order to disenfranchise the blacks. Jury nullification, like every other type of check in America, must also have its checks and balances.

In addition, my opponent claims that I said that the process of making a Constitutional amendment is by direct democracy. I never said such a thing, I said that the process was by indirect democracy, and I quote:

"My opponent said that the people did not vote on the constitutional amendments, and they don't--directly."-myself, round 2.

In addition, my opponent has raised the fact that neither blacks, due to the aforementioned disenfranchisement, or women had the right to vote on the 16th amendment. They didn't, that is historical fact, but they never voted for the Constitution either. Why is the Constitution not an example of tyranny that must be altered or abolished? Because, after blacks and women got the right to vote, they did not vote against it. Instead, they accepted the Constitution, just as they accepted all the amendments (including the 16th) to the Constitution. In his whole argument, my opponent has never cited why, if the 16th amendment is an example of governmental tyranny, it still exists in this nation, which hates tyranny. Why, clsmooth, has the populace not overthrown the 16th amendment through the act of jury nullification, or other means? For better or for worse, the people of the United States have accepted that the government has the right to tax their income. There has been no pattern of "not guilty's" during tax evasion trials. Jury nullification work both ways, if the juries begin to, on the whole, ignore a law, they have effectively nullified it; if they do not ignore the law, they have effectively given the law their stamp of approval.

In closing, I would like to say that I do not support the income tax. I do however, support the people, and their Constitutional right, whether through elections or jury nullification, to change or keep the law. My argument, contrary to what my opponent says, has not been an endorsement of the income tax or judicial tyranny. It has been an argument for Constitutional law and the democratic processes set out in the Constitution. I am not a liberal historical revisionist--I am a conservative that believes in the rule of law that the Constitution guarantees to the people, and the ability of the people to change or alter that law through a democratic process.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by mikelwallace 9 years ago
mikelwallace
Regardless of wether the 16th amendment is constitutional or not, the progressive tax rate is as unconstitutional as it gets, for Snipes to pay a higher percentage of his taxes because he makes more is unconstitutional and I am glad that he prevailed, for that I believe him to be a PATRIOT!!! The 16th amendment does speak of taxes being in proportion acording to state population, this is clearly being violated by the progressive tax rate, if a state has a larger % of high income families than another state, then with our current tax system the 16th is being violated. Go Snipes!!!
Posted by mors202 9 years ago
mors202
Very good yourself, I should have researched jury nullification further, but I assumed that "judging by the facts" meant exactly that.
This has really been about 3 debates in one.
Posted by clsmooth 9 years ago
clsmooth
Good debate, mors202. I feel like an idiot for point 1 from round 1. So I had to switch my tactics rounds 2 and 3.
9 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Vote Placed by Vikuta 9 years ago
Vikuta
clsmoothmors202Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by els21 9 years ago
els21
clsmoothmors202Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by gogott 9 years ago
gogott
clsmoothmors202Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by sully 9 years ago
sully
clsmoothmors202Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by mikelwallace 9 years ago
mikelwallace
clsmoothmors202Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Vote Placed by inrainbows 9 years ago
inrainbows
clsmoothmors202Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by thepinksquirrel 9 years ago
thepinksquirrel
clsmoothmors202Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by clsmooth 9 years ago
clsmooth
clsmoothmors202Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Vote Placed by Rousseau 9 years ago
Rousseau
clsmoothmors202Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03