occurred because the Solicitor recognized that some of the
ratifying legislatures did not use exactly the same wording or
punctuation as had been enacted by Congress. The Solicitor
nevertheless recommended in a letter to the Secretary of State
that he issue his Proclamation of Ratification despite these
"errors," and he did so.
The issuance of the proclamation was an exercise of the
executive powers of the Secretary of State, and the
Solicitor's letter disclosing the facts can in no way be
considered collusion, a fraud, or a conspiracy. Much more
evidence than the defendant has presented would be required to
prove any of those conclusions, and of course the time for
examining the surrounding circumstances and state of mind of
the parties has long gone by. The Secretary exercised his
authority in good faith, on advice of counsel, and the
legislatures' errors were of no substance. Therefore, if we
were to rule on this question, it would be adverse to the
However, it has long been the law of the land that the
courts will not intrude into a political question such as the
validity of amendments to the Constitution. In Leser v.
Garnett, 258 U.S. 130, 42 S.Ct. 217, 66 L.Ed. 505 (1922),
Justice Brandeis, writing for a unanimous court, held that the
validity of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment was
not a justiciable issue because the certification by the
various States followed by the proclamation of the Secretary of
State under 5 U.S.C. § 160 was "conclusive upon the courts."
258 U.S. at 137, 42 S.Ct. at 218. In Coleman v. Miller,
307 U.S. 433, 59 S.Ct. 972, 83 L.Ed. 1385 (1939), involving the
ratification of a Child Labor Amendment, the State of Kansas at
first rejected the proposed amendment and later ratified it.
The court held that it would not review an official notice of
ratification to the Secretary of State, although the justices
differed in their reasons. All but two acknowledged the
continued vitality of Leser v. Garnett, supra.
All of the courts which have recently considered the
argument raised by defendant in his motion in arrest have
ruled that the validity of the Sixteenth Amendment cannot be
contested under the facts alleged by defendant. e.g.
United States v. Alvin Wojtas, 85 CR 45 (N.D.Ill., May 22,
1985); United States v. Wayne Wojtas, 611 F. Supp. 118 (N.D.Ill.
1985); United States v. Ferguson, 615 F. Supp. 8 (S.D.Ind.
1985). Nevertheless, we have ruled on it, alternatively,
because of the tendency of the Supreme Court to become involved
in "political" questions since 1939.
The Motion For Acquittal
Finally, defendant has filed a motion for judgment of
acquittal based upon the evidence. He contends that he did not
act willfully or knowingly in violating 26 U.S.C. § 7203 and
7205. Although defendant attempted to testify to this effect,
his own acts and testimony were sufficient to permit a
reasonable jury to find against him on this issue. He filed tax
returns prior to the tax year 1979. He stated that he
subsequently disagreed with the tax laws of the Federal
government and with the way in which his tax payments would be
spent. He received various notices from the I.R.S. notifying
him of his obligation to file, and he also had received a
letter from Congressman Philip Crane to the effect that
Congress was not inclined to "strike down current IRS laws that
consider wages as taxable income." Finally, he testified that
he attended at least one tax protester trial in December 1981
and heard the instructions of law given to the jury, yet failed
to file tax returns for tax years 1981, 1982 and 1983.
Thus the evidence in this case, taken in the light most
favorable to the government, is clearly sufficient to support
the verdicts. It is at least equal to the evidence on which
the Court of Appeals affirmed similar verdicts in United States
v. Green, 757 F.2d 116 (7th Cir. 1985) and United States v.
Latham, 754 F.2d 747 (7th Cir. 1985).
Defendant's post-trial motions are therefore denied. A Rule
58 judgment will be entered.
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