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How could a shift in perspective change tax laws in the United States? That is the question at the heart of the new book
FEMINIST JUDGMENTS: REWRITTEN TAX OPINIONS (Cambridge University Press, 2017), which features a contribution by "Judge"
Danshera Cords, Professor of Law at Albany Law School.
In the book, Professor Cords takes on
Cheshire v. Commissioner, one of the first cases to interpret the expanded innocent spouse provisions in U.S. Tax Court.
"The feminist judgment written by Danshera Cords in
Cheshire v. Commissioner is a reimagined majority Tax Court opinion that grands innocent spouse relief where the original court did not," editors Bridget J. Crawford and Anthony C. Infanti wrote in the book's introduction. "[Cords'] feminist judgment is deeply informed by a feminist understanding of power dynamics in intimate relationships. In this way, the
Cheshire feminist judgment builds on the work of feminist theorists like Catharine MacKinnon who expose the way that power imbalances—particularly, but not exclusively, between men and women—are built into human relationships and then become entrenched in law and culture. By putting the woman at the center of the analysis, Cords reaches a different opinion about the wife's income tax liability for substantial omissions by her husband."
"Cords notes that it would be unreasonable to place one spouse in the role of an auditor of the other," wrote Washington and Lee University School of Law Professor Michelle L. Drumbl, who preceded Professor Cords' rewritten opinion with a detailed commentary. "Indeed, this would introduce an adversarial role into the marital dynamic, which Cords finds inappropriate."
At Albany Law School, Professor Cords teaches primarily in the areas of partnership tax, corporate tax, and individual tax. She has also taught tax policy, business organizations and Chinese law.
Professor Cords is the author of numerous articles on taxpayer rights and tax procedure, including
"Surviving Poverty in a Post-Welfare Reform America" (ABATax Times, 2016). She is also author of the book PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE IN THE U.S. TAX COURT
(Civic Research Institute, 2012).
Professor Cords returned to Albany Law School in the fall of 2017 after serving as a Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. In 2016, she spent 10 days as a visiting scholar in Beijing at the invitation of the tax department of the Chinese capital's Central University of Finance and Economics, prompted by an initiative at the State Administration on Taxation to further develop its tax laws and administration. In the fall of 2013 she received an appointment as Distinguished Foreign Professor at the Shanghai University of International Business and Economics in China, a program sponsored by Shanghai Education Committee.
Prior to joining the Albany Law faculty in 2010, Professor Cords taught at Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio. At Capital, she served as the Academic Director of the Graduate Tax and Business Program from 2005-08. From 2000-02, Professor Cords was an attorney-advisor to the Hon. Maurice B. Foley of the U.S. Tax Court in Washington, D.C.
She is a graduate of the University of Washington (B.A., Business Administration), Seattle University School of Law (J.D., magna cum laude), and New York University School of Law (LL.M.).