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Three myths about the Electoral College

Since the election, we Americans have engaged in a healthy debate about the Electoral College. My instincts in this debate are those of an institutional conservative: Writing our Constitution from scratch today, we would not have designed the Electoral College as it has evolved. However, institutions become embedded in societies. To further this debate, consider these three contentions often heard today about the Electoral College.

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So long and thanks for all the tweets

Today is my last day editing the OUPblog. Back in January 2012, I took over as blog editor without so much as a handover (an early maternity leave prevented one). I promptly screwed up multiple things in the first few weeks, causing great annoyance to my colleagues. Then I gradually began steering the blog on a different course.

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The Little Sisters, the Supreme Court and the HSA/HRA alternative

The Little Sisters of the Poor, an international congregation of Roman Catholic women, are unlikely litigants in the US Supreme Court. Consistent with their strong adherence to traditional Catholic doctrines, the Little Sisters oppose birth control. They are now in the Supreme Court because of that opposition.

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The best of a decade on the OUPblog

Wednesday, 22 July 2015, marks the tenth anniversary of the OUPblog. In one decade our authors, staff, and friends have contributed over 8,000 blog posts, from articles and opinion pieces to Q&As in writing and on video, from quizzes and polls to podcasts and playlists, from infographics and slideshows to maps and timelines. Anatoly Liberman alone has written over 490 articles on etymology. Sorting through the finest writing and the most intriguing topics over the years seems a rather impossible task.

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The parsonage allowance and standing in the state courts

In Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. v. Lew, the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit recently dismissed a constitutional challenge to the parsonage allowance provisions of the Internal Revenue Code (Code). Under Section 107(2) of the Code, a “minister of the gospel” need not pay income taxes on the housing allowance received by the minister as part of his or her compensation.

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The HSA/HRA response to Hobby Lobby

By Edward Zelinsky
Few recent decisions of the US Supreme Court have engendered as much controversy as Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. In that case, the Court decided that a closely-held corporation’s employer-sponsored medical plan need not provide contraception if the shareholders of such corporation object to contraception on religious grounds.

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Casey Kasem and end-of-life planning

By Edward Zelinsky
The sad story of Casey Kasem’s last illness is now over. Casey Kasem was an American pop culture icon. Among his other roles, Mr. Kasen was the disc jockey host on the legendary radio program, American Top 40. He was also the voice of Shaggy Rogers of Scooby-Doo.

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The Noto decision and double state income taxation of dual residents

By Edward Zelinsky
Lucio Noto worked for Mobil and ExxonMobil in Virginia and Texas before retiring in 2001. In his retirement, Mr. Noto and his wife Joan maintain homes in Greenwich, Connecticut and in East Hampton, New York. For state income tax purposes, the Notos are residents of both Connecticut where they are domiciled and New York where they spend at least 183 days annually at their second home.

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The Oracle of Omaha warns about public pension underfunding

By Edward Zelinsky
As the American public debated the legislation ultimately enacted into law as the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, no person was more influential than the Oracle of Omaha, Warren Buffett. Much attention was given to billionaire Buffett’s complaint that his federal income tax bracket was lower than his secretary’s tax rate. President Obama invoked “the Buffett Rule” to bolster the President’s successful effort for the Act to raise income tax brackets for high income taxpayers.

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The Gaied Decision: a rare victory for tax sanity in New York

By Edward Zelinsky
In a unanimous decision, New York’s Court of Appeals, the Empire State’s highest court, recently held that John Gaied was not a New York resident for income tax purposes because he had no New York home. Mr. Gaied was domiciled in New Jersey and had a business on Staten Island to which he commuted daily.

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The First Amendment and parsonage allowances

By Edward Zelinsky
Confronting an important constitutional question about religion and taxation, the US District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, in Freedom from Religion Foundation, Inc. v. Lew, held that Section 107(2) of the Internal Revenue Code violates the First Amendment.

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The Sister Wives make the case for abolishing civil marriage

By Edward Zelinsky
Judge Clark Waddoups of the US District Court for the District of Utah has declared unconstitutional parts of Utah’s statute outlawing polygamy. Utah’s statute was challenged in Judge Waddoups’ courtroom by the Brown family of the television show Sister Wives. Days later, Judge Robert J. Shelby, also of the US District Court for the District of Utah, declared unconstitutional Utah’s Amendment 3 which restricts Utah’s definition of marriage to a man and a woman.

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