Boris Bittker

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Boris Bittker
Born(1916-11-28)November 28, 1916
Rochester, New York
DiedSeptember 8, 2005(2005-09-08) (aged 88)
New Haven, Connecticut
Nationality United States
Alma materCornell University
Yale Law School
Scientific career
FieldsTax law
InstitutionsYale Law School

Boris Irving Bittker (November 28, 1916 – September 8, 2005) was a prominent United States legal academician. A professor at Yale Law School, Bittker was a prolific author, writing many textbooks and over one hundred articles on tax law.

Born in Rochester, New York, Bittker attended Cornell University ('38) and Yale Law School ('41). After law school, Bittker clerked for Judge Jerome Frank of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. From 1942 to 43 Bittker worked as an attorney for the Lend-Lease Administration in Washington, D.C. During the next two years Bittker fought and was wounded in World War II, receiving a Purple Heart. Returning from Europe, Bittker went back to government service, working for the Office of the Alien Property Custodian.

Bittker reluctantly returned to his alma mater as an assistant professor in 1946. Eventually he gained tenure in 1951, became a Southmayd Professor in 1958, and Sterling Professor of Law in 1970. By the time Bittker retired from teaching in 1983 to pursue scholarship full-time, his was one of the most recognizable names on the illustrious roster of Yale's faculty.

In 1973, Bittker wrote The Case for Black Reparations, inspired by SNCC leader James Forman, who in 1969 interrupted a church service to demand reparations for slavery. Bittker defended the spirit of Forman's appeal, but argued that a reparations lawsuit for school segregation had a stronger legal basis.

Bittker was also a dedicated environmentalist, serving as a trustee of the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Bittker was married to Anne (died on February 2, 1997) and had two children, Susan and Daniel.

Publications (selection)[edit]

  • The Case for Black Reparations. Boston: Beacon Press. 1973. ISBN 9780394480947.
  • Lokken, Lawrence (1981). Federal Taxation of Income, Estates and Gifts. Boston: Warren, Gorham & Lamont. ISBN 0-88262-460-1.
  • Eustice, James (1987) [1959]. Federal Income Taxation of Corporations and Shareholders (5th ed.). Boston: Warren, Gorham & Lamont. ISBN 0-88712-991-9.
  • "Constitutional Limits on the Taxing Power of the Federal Government". The Tax Lawyer. 41 (1): 3. 1987.