that respondent was justified in his refusal on the ground that
the information was privileged.
While of the opinion that the particular questions were clearly
within the scope of the order of December 16, 1963, the Court,
after denying the defense of privilege, ordered respondent to
answer the specific questions forthwith and recessed the hearing
on the petition for a rule to show cause pending respondent's
Later, on the same day, February 12, 1965, the Court was
advised that a hearing had been held at which the respondent had
again declined to answer some of the specific questions,
including the name of his client, the attorney for the taxpayer.
Thereupon an order of contempt was entered and a fine of $100 per
day imposed until such time as respondent should purge himself of
his contempt. A short stay of execution pending appeal was
requested and granted and the case is again on its way back to
the Court of Appeals.
To date more than three years and six months have elapsed since
the check and letter were first delivered to the Internal Revenue
Service, more than two years have elapsed since respondent first
refused to answer any questions put to him about it, and more
than one year has elapsed since this Court first ordered him to
What is the future prognosis? It is obvious, of course, that if
it is ultimately held that respondent has a presently valid
defense of privilege, the sought information will never be
obtained and the passage of time will be immaterial. Let us
assume, on the other hand, that the final ruling is to the
contrary. In the light of the prior history of this case, at
least one year and, if the Supreme Court hears the case, quite
possibly a much longer period will elapse before respondent is
finally compelled to give the information which the Internal
Revenue Service has been seeking since 1961.
And what will they learn in 1966 or 1967? We know already that
they will not ascertain the name of the taxpayer or taxpayers but
only the identity of the attorney pursuant to whose request
respondent forwarded the check and letter on July 27, 1961.
Presumably the same sequence of events, hopefully shortened
somewhat by the prior experience and rulings, will then ensue. If
the petitioner is successful in each of the courts, all the
principals survive and each step of the proceedings is expedited,
the Service may, some time in 1970, learn the identity of the
taxpayer. At about that same time, the United States anticipates
that one of our astronauts will be landing on the moon and it
will be a close question which will be the greater or more costly
Unlike Scrooge, no judge has the power to prevent this pathetic
future from transpiring. Having delineated the past, the present
and the spectre of the future, the Court can only pray that the
Executive and Legislative branches, either of which can do so,
will act so that the body of justice will not continue to be
burdened by the affliction of this case.
Meanwhile, an order finding the respondent in contempt and
imposing sanctions has been entered.
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