Special Trial Judge Receives Tax Court’s Highest Award

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On November 21, 2021, the US Tax Court announced that Special Trial Judge Daniel A. Guy, Jr., received the J. Edgar Murdock Award for his distinguished service to the Tax Court. The Murdock Award commemorates Judge John Edgar Murdock, who served on the Tax Court from 1926 to 1968 and has been described as probably the most influential person to serve on it. A story recited in the publication referenced below (and which may be more folklore than fact) is that a taxpayer once concluded their argument before Judge Murdock saying, “as God is my judge I do not owe this tax,” and Judge Murdock retorted, “He isn’t, I am, and you do.” Further background on Judge Murdock can be found here.

The Murdock Award is the highest honor bestowed by the Tax Court. It has been presented only 13 times since its creation in 1973, with the most recent recipients being former Chief Special Trial Judge Peter J. Panuthos (2012), former Judge Robert P. Ruwe (2012) and current Chief Special Trial Judge Lewis R. Carluzzo (2020).

The Tax Court is composed of 19 presidentially appointed members and also includes senior judges serving in recall and special trial judges. As explained in the publication “The United States Tax Court: A Historical Analysis” (2d ed. 2014), the Tax Court established a small tax case division following statutory changes made in the Tax Reform Act of 1969. The purpose of special trial judges is to lessen the workload of the Tax Court and allow these judges to hear cases with smaller amounts in controversy. The range of cases that may be assigned to a special trial judge has expanded over the years, and they play an important role in the tax judicial system.

Special Trial Judge Daniel has served the Tax Court in various roles, ranging from law clerk to general counsel, for more than 30 years. He was appointed as a Special Trial Judge on May 31, 2012. Partners Andrew Roberson and Kevin Spencer worked with Special Trial Judge Daniel when they clerked at the Tax Court and saw the invaluable services he provided firsthand. McDermott congratulates him on this well-deserved honor.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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