MSU College of Law

David Blankfein-Tabachnick

David Blankfein-Tabachnick
[Hi-Res Photo]
Assistant Professor of Law
Law College Building
648 N. Shaw Lane Rm 367
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300

For 2015-16, Professor David Blankfein-Tabachnick is serving as Visiting Associate Professor of Law at Washington University in St. Louis School of Law.

Professor David Blankfein-Tabachnick's scholarly interests focus on private law, taxation and distributive values. His internationally recognized work on contract, property, intellectual property, taxation and tort appears in highly selective law reviews and peer edited journals including the California Law Review, the Michigan Law Review (forthcoming), the Virginia Law Review and the Cambridge University Press journal, Social Philosophy and Policy. His distributive account of the private law has been the subject of scholarly engagement in leading law reviews and peer reviewed journals. His articles have been reprinted in Cambridge University Press volumes on taxation and the freedom of association and his work on tort law has been reprinted in Rawls and Law, a collection of articles by acclaimed legal scholars.

Professor Blankfein-Tabachnick joined the Law College's tenure system faculty in the fall of 2014 and he is a member of the Intellectual Property, Information & Communications Law Program. He has been a visiting scholar at the Yale Law School and a visiting faculty member at Penn State Law. He is an affiliated transnational professor at the Peking University School of Transnational Law where he is a member of the founding faculty. As an active faculty-community member, he has served on faculty appointments, diversity and faculty development committees. He has broad teaching experience including courses on bankruptcy, contracts, criminal law, federal income tax, intellectual property, legal and political theory, property, remedies, tax policy, torts and trusts and estates. An accomplished classroom teacher, he is the recipient of a university-wide teaching award from the University of Virginia.

Professor Blankfein-Tabachnick holds a Ph.D. in legal and political philosophy from the University of Virginia and a degree in law from Yale.

M.S.L., Yale Law School; Ph.D., University of Virginia; M.A., University of Rochester; B.A., Ithaca College, with honors

  • Basic Income Taxation B
    (Formerly DCL 250) Like Basic Income Taxation A, this course introduces the basic concepts of federal income taxation. Basic Income Taxation B, however, goes beyond a survey course by a rigorous examination of technical tax issues, including a focus on solving complex tax problems. This course is ideal for students interested in pursuing legal practice in the tax or business fields. Students will be exposed to the same topics covered in Basic Income Taxation A, but will also study additional topics. Topics likely to be covered include: business and profit-seeking expenditures, capital expenditures, depreciation, the home-office deduction, tax planning for divorce, non-recourse debt, including issues relating to basis and amount realized, and anti-tax abuse provisions limiting tax shelters, including at-risk rules and active participation requirements. In resolving problems, students will have ample opportunity to develop facility in interpreting complex statutes and in applying law from various additional sources. Moreover, the themes studied will allow students to understand that tax legislation is a dynamic process in which the law evolves as a result of taxpayers devising new strategies and from policymakers' responses.
  • Decedents' Estates and Trusts
    Effective fall 2016 name changed to Trusts and Estates. A study of the pattern of practices for transmitting wealth in view of death. The course surveys probate jurisdiction and administration; intestate succession; limitations on testamentary power; execution requirements for wills; revocation, revalidation and revival of wills; incorporation by reference; contest of wills and related remedies. Also covered are the private express trust, inter vivos and testamentary, including functions, prohibited trust purposes and requisites for creation; informal and incomplete trusts, including resulting, constructive and savings bank trusts; termination of trusts; gifts to charity, including historical backgrounds, nature of charitable purposes and cy pres; powers and duties of the fiduciary; and remedies of beneficiaries in case of breach of duty.
  • Property
    (Formerly DCL 113) This is a survey course of the fundamentals of property law. Possessory interests of real and personal property including findings, bailments and adverse possession are discussed and analyzed. Topics also include future interests, concurrent ownership, lease holds, transfers of land and land use controls.
  • Tax Policy Seminar
    (Formerly DCl 517) This seminar covers a range of tax policy issues arising from Federal Taxation. The specific issues studied will vary but, in general, will focus on progressivity and redistribution. Topics likely to be covered include: the use of the income tax as a fiscal policy tool; the concept of income; imputed income; progressive versus flat tax rates; taxation of families; income versus consumption taxation; tax expenditures, exclusions, and deductions; taxation of business and investment income; capital gains and losses; and transfer or wealth taxes. A paper will be required. The topic will be determined after consultation with the instructor. This seminar is open to students who have taken or are enrolled in Basic Income Taxation (A or B). Others who are interested may enroll with the permission of the instructor.

“Property, Duress and Consensual Relationships” (forthcoming) 114 Michigan Law Review___ (2016). (reviewing Seana Valentine Shiffrin, Speech Matters: On Lying, Morality and the Law, Princeton University Press, 2014).

Intellectual Property Doctrine and Midlevel Principles,” 101 Calif. L. Rev. 1315 (2013); published with response, Robert P. Merges, "Foundations and Principles Redux: A Reply to Professor Blankfein-Tabachnick," 101 Calif. L. Rev. 1361 (2013).

On Belling the Cat: Rawls and Tort as Corrective Justice,” 92 Va. L. Rev. 1279 (2006) (with K. Kordana); published with response, Steven Walt, "Eliminating Corrective Justice," 92 Va. L. Rev. 1311 (2006); reprinted in Rawls and Law (Ashgate Publishing, 2012)

The Rawlsian View of Private Ordering,” 25 Soc. Phil. & Pol'y, 288 (2008) (with K. Kordana) (Cambridge University Press Journal); reprinted in Freedom of Association (Cambridge University Press 2008)

Taxation, the Private Law, and Distributive Justice,” 23 Soc. Phil & Pol'y, 142 (2006) (with K. Kordana) (Cambridge University Press Journal); reprinted in Taxation, Economic Prosperity, and Distributive Justice (Cambridge University Press, 2006)

Rawls and Contract Law,” 73 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 701 (2005) (with K. Kordana)

Tax and the Philosopher’s Stone,” 89 Va. L. Rev. 647 (2003) (with K. Kordana) (reviewing Liam Murphy & Thomas Nagel, The Myth of Ownership: Taxes and Justice, Oxford University Press, 2002))