« ForrigeFortsett »
Opinion of the Court.
may emerge from it, is irrelevant to the issue. The witness' relation to the inquiry is no different in a grand jury proceeding than it was in the Alexander case. Whatever right he may have requires no further protection in either case than that afforded by the district court until the witness chooses to disobey and is committed for contempt. See Hale v. Henkel, supra, and Wilson v. United States, supra. At that point the witness' situation becomes so severed from the main proceeding as to permit an appeal. To be sure, this too may involve an interruption of the trial or of the investigation. But not to allow this interruption would forever preclude review of the witness' claim, for his alternatives are to abandon the claim or languish in jail.
This analysis of finality is illustrated by Perlman v. United States, 247 U. S. 7." There, exhibits owned by Perlman and impounded in court during a patent suit were, on motion of the United States attorney, directed to be produced before a grand jury. Perlman petitioned the district court to prohibit this use, invoking a constitutional privilege. This petition was denied and Perlman sought review here. The United States claimed that the action of the district court was “not final” but merely interlocutory and therefore not reviewable by this Court. We rejected the Government's contention. To have held otherwise would have rendered Perlman "powerless to avert the mischief of the order ..." 247 U. S. at 13. Perlman's exhibits were already in the court's possession. If their production before the grand jury violated Perlman's constitutional right then he could protect that right only by a separate proceeding to prohibit the forbidden use. To have denied him opportunity for review on the theory that the district court's order was interlocutory would have made the doctrine of finality a
Compare Go-Bart Co. v. United States, 282 U. S. 344.
Opinion of the Court.
means of denying Perlman any appellate review of his constitutional claim. Due regard for efficiency in litigation must not be carried so far as to deny all opportunity for the appeal contemplated by the statutes.
One class of cases dealing with the duty of witnesses to testify presents differentiating circumstances.
These cases have arisen under $ 12 of the Interstate Commerce Act, whereby a proceeding may be brought in the district court to compel testimony from persons who have refused to make disclosures before the Interstate Commerce Commission. In these cases the orders of the district court directing the witness to answer have been held final and reviewable. Interstate Commerce Comm'n v. Brimson, 154 U. S. 447; Harriman v. Interstate Commerce Comm'n, 211 U. S. 407; Ellis v. Interstate Commerce Comm'n, 237 U.S. 434. Such cases were duly considered in the Alexander case, and deemed to rest "on statutory provisions which do not apply to the proceedings at bar, and, while there may be resemblances to the latter, there are also differences.” 201 U. S. at 121. The differences were thought controlling. Appeal from an order under 12 was again here in the Ellis case, supra, fully argued in the briefs, and again differentiated from a situation like that in the Alexander case. "No doubt” was felt that an appeal lay from the district court's direction to testify. "It
• Burdeau v. McDowell, 256 U. S. 465, is consistent with our analysis. In that case proceedings were commenced in the district court for the recovery of documents held by the Government for use before a grand jury. The district court granted the relief sought, and the Government appealed. In this Court the action of the district court was treated as final, and hence subject to review. But the practical considerations there involved were entirely different from those which must govern here. In Burdeau v. McDowell the action of the district court was itself an interruption of the grand jury's inquiry; appeal by the Government did not halt the "orderly progress" of the inquiry.
* 25 Stat. 858; 49 U.S. C. $ 12.
Opinion of the Court.
is the end of a proceeding begun against the witness”. was the pithy expression for this type of case. 237 U.S. at 442. And it is a sufficient justification for treating these controversies differently from those arising out of court proceedings unrelated to any administrative agency. The doctrine of finality is a phase of the distribution of authority within the judicial hierarchy. But a proceeding like that under $ 12 of the Interstate Commerce Act may be deemed self-contained, so far as the judiciary is concerned—as much so as an independent suit in equity in which appeal will lie from an injunction without the necessity of waiting for disobedience. After the court has ordered a recusant witness to testify before the Commission, there remains nothing for it to do. Not only is this true with respect to the particular witness whose testimony is sought; there is not, as in the case of a grand jury or trial, any further judicial inquiry which would be halted were the offending witness permitted to appeal. The proceeding before the district court is not ancillary to any judicial proceeding. So far as the court is concerned, it is complete in itself.
We deem it unnecessary to say more in sustaining the Circuit Court of Appeals. The challenged judgment is
Affirmed. MR. JUSTICE MURPHY did not participate in the consideration or decision of these cases.
HELVERING, COMMISSIONER OF INTERNAL
REVENUE, v. CLIFFORD.
CERTIORARI TO THE CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE
No. 383. Argued February 5, 1940.—Decided February 26, 1940.
1. A husband who declared himself trustee of certain securities for
the term of five years, to pay to his wife the income accruing during that period, but retained in himself the right to accumulate income, and, with insignificant exceptions, the complete control over the principal fund—its conversion, investment, reinvestment, etc.—and the reversion of the corpus at the end of the term, may properly be found by the federal taxing authorities to be owner of the fund, within the intent of § 22 (a) of the Revenue Act of 1934, notwithstanding the trust, and taxable on the trust income as part of his personal income. P. 335.
Where the benefits directly or indirectly retained blend so imperceptibly with the normal concepts of full ownership, it can not be said that the triers of fact committed reversible error when they found that the husband was the owner of the corpus for the
purposes of § 22 (a). P. 336. 2. The broad language of $ 22 (a) of the Revenue Act of 1934 indi
cates the purpose of Congress to use the full measure of its taxing
power within the definable categories specified therein. P. 337. 3. Whether the creator of a trust may still be treated under § 22 (a)
as the owner of the corpus, is not determined by technicalities of the law of trusts and conveyances, but must depend on analysis of the terms of the trust and on all the circumstances attendant on its creation and operation. P. 334.
Where the grantor is the trustee, and the beneficiaries members of his family group, special scrutiny is necessary, lest what is in reality but one economic unit be increased to two or more by devices which, though valid under state law, are not conclusive
under $ 22 (a) of the Revenue Act. P. 335. 4. The fact that Congress made specific provision in § 166 of the
Revenue Act of 1934 for revocable trusts but failed to adopt a Treasury recommendation that similar specific treatment should be given income from short term trusts, did not subtract the latter
from 22 (a). P. 337. 105 F. 2d 586, reversed.
Opinion of the Court.
CERTIORARI, 308 U. S. 542, to review a judgment which reversed a decision of the Board of Tax Appeals (38 B. T. A. 1532), sustaining a deficiency assessment.
Mr. Warner W. Gardner, with whom Solicitor General Jackson, Assistant Attorney General Clark, and Messrs. Sewall Key, L. W. Post, and Richard H. Demuth were on the brief, for petitioner.
Mr. Thomas P. Helmey, with whom Mr. F. H. Stinchfield was on the brief, for respondent.
MR. JUSTICE Douglas delivered the opinion of the Court.
In 1934 respondent declared himself trustee of certain securities which he owned. All net income from the trust was to be held for the "exclusive benefit” of respondent's wife. The trust was for a term of five years, except that it would terminate earlier on the death of either respondent or his wife. On termination of the trust the entire corpus was to go to respondent, while all "accrued or undistributed net income” and “any proceeds from the investment of such net income" was to be treated as property owned absolutely by the wife. During the continuance of the trust respondent was to pay over to his wife the whole or such part of the net income as he in his "absolute discretion” might determine. And during that period he had full power (a) to exercise all voting powers incident to the trusteed shares of stock; (b) to "sell, exchange, mortgage, or pledge” any of the securities under the declaration of trust "whether as part of the corpus or principal thereof or as investments or proceeds and any income therefrom, upon such terms and for such consideration" as respondent in his "absolute discretion may deem fitting”; (c) to invest "any cash or money in the trust estate or any income therefrom” by loans, secured or unsecured, by deposits in