The Volokh Conspiracy
Mostly law professors | Sometimes contrarian | Often libertarian | Always independent
From Monday's district court decision in Hinds v. United States Government (E.D. Mo.):
In February 16, 2017, [self-represented] Plaintiff filed a 548-page pro se complaint, in which Plaintiff contends that by virtue of the Tax Code, the Government has established an institutionalized faith and religion of taxism. Plaintiff contends that this institutionalized religion has the effect of endorsing, favoring, and promoting organized religions, which Plaintiff believes violates the Establishment and Free Exercise clauses of the Constitution. He seeks declaratory and injunctive relief, including a permanent injunction enjoining the tax code from having any legal effect, as well as nominal damages.
On February 23, 2017, the Court ordered Plaintiff to file an amended complaint in conformity with the requirements of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 8, which provides that a pleading must contain a short and plain statement of the grounds for the Court's jurisdiction, a short plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief, and a demand for the relief sought…..
Plaintiff filed a "Hybrid Pleading Making a Conscientious Effort to Comply with the Court's Orders Manifesting an Amended Complaint" ("Hybrid Pleading"). There, Plaintiff contends that requiring citizens to file an individual tax return establishes a religion centered on the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS"), which has burdened Plaintiff's First Amendment rights to free speech and free exercise of religion. Plaintiff further alleges that the challenged government conduct and activities have no legitimate, compelling interest or clear secular purpose, but have the purpose of endorsing religion with the primary effect of advancing it….
Unsurprisingly, the district court was unimpressed.