Washington, DC — Today, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 7-2 ruling in Moore v. United States, rejecting a challenge to Congress’ power to enact a one-time transition tax included in the 2017 Trump-era tax cuts that could have created years of tax uncertainty for small businesses and upended much of the country’s tax code. 

The Mandatory Repatriation Tax (MRT) is a one-time tax provision established by 2017 Trump-era cuts, limited to the past profits that corporations held abroad. While the case appeared narrowly focused on one specific tax provision, the Moores’ position would unwind legal precedent and disrupt the existing federal system of taxation that millions rely on to be predictable. Their arguments would have been potentially devastating for the U.S. economy and the success of small businesses — which make up 99.9 percent of businesses and employ nearly half of our nation’s workers.

Democracy Forward represented Main Street Alliance (MSA), Small Business Majority, and Anne Zimmerman (business owner, and co-chair of Small Business For America’s Future) in a brief to the Supreme Court. Democracy Forward also led a broad coalition following oral arguments of people and groups from across the ideological spectrum—from small businesses, to legal scholars, to tax professionals — in urging the Supreme Court to reject the Moores’ radical arguments.

“Today, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected an extreme legal argument that would have undermined Congress’ constitutional power to work for the American people. While the ruling is positive for America’s small businesses, the fact this case has reached the nation’s highest Court is the latest example of the lengths the far-right legal movement will go to sow chaos and undermine a functioning society,” said Skye Perryman, President and CEO of Democracy Forward. “Small businesses rely on a predictable, stable tax code in order to grow and prosper, and an uncertain tax environment would make it harder for small businesses to compete against larger, more well-resourced corporations. Today, small businesses and people across the ideological spectrum can breathe a sigh of relief that the Supreme Court decided against imposing another undue burden on the heart of the American economy, our small businesses. Yet, the case underscores the harms that the nation is experiencing from the far-right legal movement, which continues to seek to challenge longstanding law and precedent and to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to endorse baseless views. Indeed, some of the same interests that sought to rewrite the Constitution in this case have also been behind efforts to radically undermine the Constitution and our federal elections in cases such as Moore v. Harper.”

Notably, the Moores were represented by David B. Rivkin, Jr., who interviewed Justice Alito for the Wall Street Journal article where Alito claimed Congress could not regulate Supreme Court ethics, and who is also representing Leonard Leo in defying Senate investigations into Leo’s close and potentially unethical ties to Supreme Court justices. Rivkin has also championed baseless election law theories such as the “independence theory of the state legislature,” which the Court rejected in Moore v. Harper last year. 

To speak with Perryman or another Democracy Forward spokesperson about the implications of this case and the far-right movement that backed it, please email dgrahamcaso@democracyforward.org. For more information about Democracy Forward and its role in Moore v. United States, see here.

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