House Democrats are planning to revive their efforts to obtain President Donald Trump’s personal financial records following a Supreme Court ruling Thursday.
“In assessing whether a subpoena directed at the President’s personal information is ‘related to, and in furtherance of, a legitimate task of the Congress,’ Watkins, 354 U. S., at 187, courts must take 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,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion.
“Congressional subpoenas for information from the President … implicate special concerns regarding the separation of powers. The courts below did not take adequate account of those concerns.”
The justices created a four-part test to determine whether a congressional effort to obtain personal papers from a sitting president is proper, according to Politico.
Supreme Court rulings don’t usually go into force immediately and could take weeks to take effect without intervention.
In a late Monday filing, Douglas Letter, the House of Representative’s top lawyer, asked the Supreme Court justices to immediately effectuate the ruling so the House can ask the U.S. district court judge who initially heard the case for renewed consideration.
“The committees’ investigations are ongoing, remain urgent, and have been impeded by the lack of finality in those litigations, which were initiated in April 2019,” the filing read.
“Immediate issuance of this Court’s judgments would accelerate the proceedings in the lower courts so that the Committees may obtain the materials necessary to undertake any needed legislative reforms as quickly as possible to address, among other issues, conflicts of interest that threaten to undermine the Presidency, money-laundering and unsafe lending practices, and foreign interference in U.S. elections and any other ongoing threats to national security arising from President Trump’s foreign financial entanglements.”
Trump’s legal team did not immediately have a position on the House’s request, but the president responded to the Supreme Court’s Thursday ruling on Twitter.
“The Supreme Court sends case back to Lower Court, arguments to continue. This is all a political prosecution,” Trump tweeted.
“I own the Mueller Witch Hunt, and others, and now I have to keep fighting in a politically corrupt New York. Not fair to this Presidency or Administration!”
The Supreme Court sends case back to Lower Court, arguments to continue. This is all a political prosecution. I won the Mueller Witch Hunt, and others, and now I have to keep fighting in a politically corrupt New York. Not fair to this Presidency or Administration!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2020
Renewed consideration in the lower courts could go on for months, and Democrats are unlikely to obtain Trump’s financial records before November.
In his filing, Letter ensured the court knew that Congress’ term ends on Jan. 3, 2021.
“The Committees’ window of opportunity to litigate the remands in these cases, then obtain and review the subpoenaed documents, evaluate their significance to potential or pending legislation, draft such legislation or amendments, and shepherd that legislation through the bicameral process diminishes by the day,” he wrote.
In its Thursday ruling, the Supreme Court pointed out it has never had to consider the appropriateness of a congressional subpoena for a president’s papers, and said that lawmakers should narrowly detail their requests and only ask for what is necessary for their efforts.
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