Supreme Court Blocks House Dems From Trump Financial Records!

Supreme Court Blocks House Dems From Trump Financial Records!

While the victory for President Trump could be short lived, the Supreme court sends the battle back to lower courts for further litigation.


There is no law in the United States which calls for the President, or President-Elect, to publicly reveal their personal financial information. 

Nor is there any law requiring said person to disclose his financial information to either equal branch of government for inspection, dissection, and eventual new round of phony prosecution. 

Today, the Supreme Court punted on this issue that President Trump maintains is Executive Harassment, instead passing the buck back down to lower courts to decide if House Dems can access Donald Trump’s tax & financial history. 

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But at least they’re stopped for now. 

From our friends at Fox News:

The Supreme Court has deferred issuing a definitive ruling on whether congressional committees can have access to President Trump’s financial records, throwing the issue back to the lower courts in a move blocking Congress from getting the records at this time.

The 7-2 decision Thursday sidesteps a politically-charged election-year dispute that could have a major long-term impact over the extent presidents and their top advisers can be shielded from Capitol Hill investigations while in office.

“Without limits on its subpoena powers, Congress could ‘exert an imperious controul’ over the Executive Branch and aggrandize itself at the President’s expense, just as the Framers feared,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the court’s opinion.

The ruling deals with two cases that were consolidated. In one, the House Oversight Committee subpoenaed accounting firm Mazars USA for access to a slew of Trump’s financial documents from 2011 to 2018, including personal records and records of various affiliated businesses and entities. These included the president’s long-sought-after tax returns.

In a second case, the House Financial Services and Intelligence Committees subpoenaed records from Deutsche Bank, and the Financial Service Committee also subpoenaed Capital One. While both banks have various financial records related to Trump and his businesses, neither possesses his tax returns.

Throughout the litigation of these cases, a main issue was whether the House committees had the requisite legitimate legislative purpose required to access such records. In Thursday’s ruling the Supreme Court recognized that the fact that the president is involved makes the case far more complex, and without precedent.

“Indeed, from President Washington until now, we have never considered a dispute over a congressional subpoena for the President’s records,” Roberts wrote. “And, according to the parties, the appellate courts have addressed such a subpoena only once, when a Senate committee subpoenaed President Nixon during the Watergate scandal. … In that case, the court refused to enforce the subpoena, and the Senate did not seek review by this Court.”

Roberts said that historically, disputes like this between the executive and legislative branches would be settled without litigation.

“For more than two centuries, the political branches have resolved information disputes using the wide variety of means that the Constitution puts at their disposal,” he wrote. “The nature of such interactions would be transformed by judicial enforcement of either of the approaches suggested by the parties, eroding a “[d]eeply embedded traditional way[] of conducting government.”

While the majority ruled that the lower court decisions favoring the House committees should vacated and the cases sent back down for further consideration, Justice Clarence Thomas stated that the decisions should have been reversed entirely.

“I would hold that Congress has no power to issue a legislative subpoena for private, nonofficial documents—whether they belong to the President or not,” Thomas wrote in a dissenting opinion.

Justice Samuel Alito also disagreed with the court’s ruling, but took a softer approach than Thomas. While stating that he believes “such subpoenas are not categorically barred,” the House did not adequately illustrate their legislative needs for the subpoenas.

“[L]egislative subpoenas for a President’s personal documents are inherently suspicious,” he said, asserting that such documents “are seldom of any special value in considering potential legislation.”

USA Today, had this to say on the ruling:

The Supreme Court temporarily blocked congressional investigators Thursday from gaining access to President Donald Trump's personal financial records.

The 7-2 decision was written by Chief Justice John Roberts and joined by Trump's two nominees, Associate Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh. It sends the separation of powers dispute back to lower courts for further determination.

"Courts must perform a careful analysis that takes adequate account of the separation of powers principles at stake, including both the significant legislative interests of Congress and the 'unique position' of the president," Roberts wrote.

The ruling was one of two issued Thursday regarding whether investigators will have access to Trump's financial records. In the other, the court ruled 7-2 that Trump cannot keep tax and financial records from a Manhattan prosecutor investigating alleged hush-money payments during the 2016 White House race.

Both carry political as well as legal and constitutional implications for the president and Congress, where House Democrats have argued the records could reveal evidence of criminal wrongdoing or lead to new legislation on Capitol Hill.

The president, acting through his personal legal team, has refused to comply with subpoenas from three House committees seeking information from his accountant and bankers. On Thursday, Trump criticized the Supreme Court's rulings.

During oral arguments held by telephone in May because of the coronavirus pandemic, conservative and liberal justices alike wondered how to balance Congress' oversight powers against the president's claim of a need to be free from distracting, even harassing, probes.

These are the most important decisions before the Supreme Court this year.

In previous separation-of-powers battles over documents or testimony, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously against Presidents Richard Nixon in 1974 and Bill Clinton in 1997, with their court nominees in agreement. The decisions led eventually to Nixon's resignation and Clinton's impeachment, though he was not ultimately removed from office by the Senate.

The legal battle pits Trump against three House committees controlled by Democrats that have issued subpoenas for eight years of financial documents. Lawmakers claim the records will help determine the need for future legislation in areas such as campaign finance law, bank loan practices, and efforts to prevent foreign influence in elections."

The USA Today article highlights the slant that has been put on to this ruling and a coinciding ruling issued along with it. 

In this case, since the Supreme Court did not outright rule against the position of the Legislative Branch, it is a Dem win, a Trump loss, and more affirmation that Trump must somehow, someway be shredding the Constitution. 

More accurately, their decision in this case reflects that the Congress has a legislative right to subpoena, but only with just legislative cause. 

That was clear in this case, so they declined to rule definitively. 

You can read the entire opinion at The Hill, here:

Buried in the text of the ruling is the following

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In a nutshell, as the case stands now, The Legislative Branch is seeking to upend the balance of powers in our system, and if they want the records they must be able to demonstrate direct legislative need for them. 

The House argues that they need Donald Trumps personal records specifically, because they are vital for laws against "money laundering, terrorism, and foreign intereference in elections."

But we all know what they really want. 


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