Maehr v. U.S. Department of State, No. 20-1124 (10th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
The federal government sought to encourage delinquent taxpayers to pay up: by threatening to withhold or revoke their passports until their tax delinquency was resolved. No nexus between international travel and the tax delinquency needed to be shown; the passport revocation served only to incentivize repayment of the tax debt. A challenge to the constitutionality of this approach was a matter of first impression; appellant Jeffrey Maehr was one such taxpayer whose passport was revoked for non-payment of taxes. He argued the revocation violated substantive due process, ran afoul of principles announced in the Privileges and Immunities clauses, and contradicted caselaw concerning the common law principle of ne exeat republica. The district court rejected these challenges. Finding no reversible error, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court on each of these arguments.