Newark Morning Ledger Company v. United States

PETITIONER: Newark Morning Ledger Company
RESPONDENT: United States
LOCATION: Safeway grocery store

DOCKET NO.: 91-1135
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1991-1993)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

CITATION: 507 US 546 (1993)
ARGUED: Nov 10, 1992
DECIDED: Apr 20, 1993

ADVOCATES:
Lawrence G. Wallace - on behalf of the Respondent
Robert H. Bork - on behalf of the Petitioner

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Newark Morning Ledger Company v. United States

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - November 10, 1992 in Newark Morning Ledger Company v. United States

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - April 20, 1993 in Newark Morning Ledger Company v. United States

William H. Rehnquist:

The opinion of the Court in No. 91-1135, Newark Morning Ledger Company versus United States will be announced by Justice Blackmun.

Harry A. Blackmun:

Well, this case comes to us from the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

It does not lend itself easily to announcement from the Bench and perhaps it suffices to say that it concerns the income tax deductibility of an item called "paid subscribers" that a newspaper publisher acquired in the acquisition of another news organization.

The Internal Revenue Services regarded this asset as indistinguishable from goodwill and disallowed any deduction for it.

When suit was instituted in the District in New Jersey, however, judgment was given for the taxpayer petitioner and the Court of Appeals reversed.

It held that even though the asset may have a limited useful life that can be ascertain with reasonable accuracy, its value was not distinguishable from goodwill.

In an opinion filed with the Clerk today, we reverse that judgment and hold that this particular taxpayer may depreciate the item in question.

We conclude that this taxpayer has successfully borne its very substantial burden.

Justice Souter has filed a dissenting opinion and has joined therein by the Chief Justice and by Justices White and Scalia.