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Last Updated, August 29, 1999

Idiot Legal Arguments: A Casebook for Dealing with Extremist Legal Arguments

By Bernard J. Sussman, JD, MLS, CP


Foreword (by Mark Pitcavage)

What follows this introduction is a truly extraordinary collection of cases and decisions dealing with the "paper terrorism" tactics of the so-called "patriot" movement. While some members of this movement prefer the use of guns or bombs, the weapons of choice for many others are harassing lawsuits, harassing filings, bogus documents ranging from counterfeit money to counterfeit identification cards, tax protest arguments, and many related activities. Often these tactics are accompanied by bizarre legal or, more accurately, pseudolegal language. Many people who encounter such tactics for the first time are surprised and sometimes confused by the strange and unexpected arguments that show up in the courtroom.

Bernard Sussman has compiled the most extensive collection ever of legal citations and rulings related to these "patriot" arguments. This exhaustive concordance will be a valuable resource to attorneys and judges who will be thankful to discover that previous courts have often dealt with these issues before. However, this guide is also useful to laymen and others outside the judicial system willing to wade through all the citations. It is particularly valuable in helping people to understand the energy and ingenuity with which these extremist individuals seek to undermine or pervert the legal system through radical reinterpretations of our society’s laws. Taken together, these arguments, frivolous though they may be, represent an assault on the judicial system by people who would like to consider themselves immune to the laws that govern modern society. In putting together this collection of precedents, Bernard Sussman has provided a great service to all who wish to see the laws preserved.

Note on organization: This casebook is broadly organized by topic, i.e., rulings connected to "fringe on the flag" arguments are all collected together. Some topics are broad enough to warrant subheadings. Within each heading or subheading, the relevant cases are listed, often with explanatory comments. A hypertext index has been provided to allow readers to jump to appropriate sections, but readers should be aware that many of these topics overlap to a certain degree, and there may be related cases of interest grouped under other topic headings.

Because the casebook is so long, the on-line version is divided into ten smaller sections.  Readers may use the hypertext index below to go to a particular heading, or they may browse through the sections using the forward and back arrows provided.  In addition, it is possible to download a Microsoft Word file containing the entire text.  This is provided for those individuals who wish to print out the entire document for use at a later time.



"Some people believe with great fervor preposterous things that just happen to coincide with their self-interest." Judge Frank Easterbrook, Coleman v. CIR (7th Cir 1986) 791 F2d 68 at 69 [and quoted in several  subsequent court decisions].

This list is of court decisions, and a very few other documents, in which militia myths and similar harebrained arguments were mentioned.  In some instances the arguments were analyzed and debunked, but in most they were simply mentioned with ridicule.  The citation method, although different from the Bluebook, should be fairly clear.  "CIR", usually as a defendant, is "Commissioner of Internal Revenue", a common abbreviated title in US Tax Court cases.   "UCC" is the Uniform Commercial Code, a body of laws relating to financial and business transactions, adopted by all 50 states.  A decision described as "unpub" was not printed at length in a West reporter -- and a "(t)" following a West citation means that the case was listed therein only as a line in a table -- but almost invariably could be found on both WestLaw and Lexis and from those appearances the other citations, such as AFTR2d and USTC, were obtained; to assist in finding such decisions, the entire decision date is provided.  No porpoises were harmed in the making of this notebook.   Copyright (C) 1999 by Bernard J. Sussman.


Index (to browse from beginning, simply go to first link)

Section One: Index
Section Two:  Refusing legal process
Submitting court pleadings titled "Refusal for fraud"
Renouncing or denying US citizenship
Pretending to be "sovereign"
Quibbling about 14th Amendment or Preamble Citizenship
Section Three:  Pretending to be from a "sovereign" state or outside the US
Pretending to be a diplomat or some other official with immunity
Cannot compel recusal of judge
Accusing judge (or other official) of "constructive treason"
Accusing or suing judge (or other official) for "perjury of oath"
In general, suing judge or prosecutor for unfavorable outcome
Trying to force policeman or other govt employee to fill out questionnaire
Section Four:  Objections to name typed in block letters (all-capitals)
Insisting on having name typed with strange punctuation
Arguments based on fringe on courtroom flag
Similarly, on eagle on flagpole
Similarly, on so-called "American Flag of Peace"
Nuisance liens - - enjoined
- - invalidated
- - effect of recording
- - penalized
--prosecuted under various theories
- - some remedial legislation
Section Five:  Jury nullification
Nuisance IRS Form 1099
Counterfeit or altered IRS Form 1040
Unsigned or uninformative Form 1040
Constitutional rights related to tax evasion
Argument that tax laws apply only to "federal" areas such as D.C.
- - mention of the Buck Act
That tax laws apply only to govt employees
That taxes are voluntary
That income tax is an excise or reciprocal to a govt benefit
That income tax is contractual
Section Six:  That the Sixteenth Amendment (income tax) was not adopted ("The Law that Never Was")
That Ohio was not a state for ratifying the Sixteenth Amendment
That the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) is not "positive" law
That disagreement with the tax laws is a good defense for tax evasion
That the IRS is not really a govt agency or is not authorized to enforce the tax laws
That the tables and index of the Code of Federal Regulations interprets the laws
That wages are not taxable income
Section Seven:  That Federal Reserve Notes (FRNs) are not taxable as money
- - relying on the Coinage Act of 1792
- - quibbling about the meaning of the dollar sign ($)
- - that payments received in paper money are not taxable as income
- - that the amount received in paper money could be recalculated for tax purposes
Funny money; "Leroy checks" and the like
Section Eight:  Various tax resister cults and gurus
Allodial or allodium deeds to property
Land patents to property
Moorish Science Temple argument that black people are tax exempt
Talk about so-called Emergency War Powers Act
Various idiot demands, including ....
- - trying to enforce the order of a make-believe court
- - that judges, IRS agents, and other govt officials are foreign agents
- - that citizenship or legal responsibilities, including taxes, can be unilaterally revoked
Section Nine: - - revoking signature
- - the Phantom 13th Amendment (about titles of nobility)
- - that IRS forms are invalid without an OMB number
- - claiming "nonstatutory abatement"
--attempting to impose UCC provisions
- - relating to "unconstitutional" laws
Section Ten: - - relating to fingerprinting and other aspects of arrest and custody
  Traffic-related arguments


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