Trump tax return cases will be argued this week at Supreme Court

Decision should come by end of June. Possible the SC will punt and say they cannot decide the cases.

The case is a compendium of several separate cases that have percolated up through various lower courts, all of which have ruled against Trump. So if the Supreme Court rules that it can’t rule, does that mean the lower court rulings stand?

Or, if SCOTUS rules that the case(s) are political and outside the purview of the courts, does that mean they are saying those lower courts also can’t rule, and their opinions are therefore annulled? If so, then what?

If SCOTUS rules that this is a political question it would likely overturn the lower courts’ decisions. They would likely then remand the matter to the lower courts for further proceedings consistent with their decision.

For the present moment such a decision would quash the subpoena presumably only for the duration of Trump’s presidency. That would leave prosecutors able to reissue a subpoena when Trump leaves office. Until then the prosecutor would be out of luck with no alternative but to wait.

A related case is whether the subpoenas issued by a House subcommittee is a political question that the courts cannot rule on. If SCOTUS decides that is the case then the House would be left with the option of attempting to impeach him if he does not voluntarily comply. They could reissue such subpoenas after Trump leaves office.

The unanswered question is whether prosecutors and/or the House would bother to reissue such subpoenas after Trump leaves office.

Isn’t it the other way around in the case that involves a prosecutor? Trump is asking the federal courts to stop that subpoena from being enforced on a third party, so if it’s a political question, the federal courts have no grounds to grant his request.

A blanket ruling that the whole thing is a political question would be in Trump’s favor in the congressional subpoena cases, but against him in the Mazars case AFAIK.

Supreme court ruled 9-0 Clinton could not avoid the Paul Jones lawsuit since it had nothing to do with his duties as president. Some law experts says this should be 9-0 as well in favor of Congress.

Of course it should be. But “should” and “will” are two different things. Expect Kavanaugh, at least, to rule in Trump’s favor (remember, this is a guy who thinks it should be illegal to investigate the President).

I listened to a bit of the case today. From what I heard this could go either way. It will not be unanimous.

I was responding to the hypothetical of **Senegoid **that the court rules the case(s) are a political matter beyond judicial review.

It is MUCH more likely that the case about the House subpoenas (Trump v Mazars) would be ruled as a political matter than the NY state DA’s subpoenas (Trump v Vance) case.

But the justices did not seem to focus on the political question doctrine during oral arguments in Mazars. As I write this the justices have not explored the political question doctrine in Vance so far. So, IMHO, it is unlikely they will rule that way in either case.

But, ***if ***the court were to rule in *Vance * that courts do not have the authority to rule on the validity of a state prosecutor’s subpoena in this case then SCOTUS would vacate the lower court’s ruling affirming the subpoena. It would not be a ruling that SCOTUS has no power to vacate. It would effectively be a ruling that the courts have no authority to enforce a subpoena. This effectively would quash the subpoena for now. Presumably such a ruling would be limited to Trumps term in office.

If everyone thinks a Presidential candidate should release their tax records then why not just pass a law making it a requirement? Better you, why not add an Amendment to the Constitution? Why spend all this time arguing over it “this time” instead of solving it for ALL TIME?

Sideline question: How are you going to feel about it if your employer all of a sudden decides that they have the right to see YOUR tax records and you know that of course they will then go public? I don’t think I’d like that. I think that if that a requirement that goes with the job it should be IN THE RULES from the very beginning. Making up new rules aimed at people you don’t like isn’t the right way to handle things.

I’m pretty sure I’d think the same thing regardless of who was in the White House.

It would be a ruling that the federal courts have no authority to enforce a subpoena. But the Vance case is about a state subpoena. The state courts have had (AFAIK) no problem with enforcing the subpoena.

Ruling that the state courts cannot enforce the subpoena is, AFAIK, mutually incompatible with a finding that it’s not justiciable as a federal matter.

As I understand it, Congress can see anyone’s tax records- including the President’s. Trump is arguing that, as President, he is immune to that.

Trump is the one changing the law, not his enemies.

My employer DOES have the right to do that. They can demand my returns for review at any time. And I’m under no illusions that once they have them they can stay secure. It’s all part and parcel of the job.

Relevant law quoted below. Notice no exceptions for serving officials. Also notice that the information would be released in closed session of the committee. (Of course recently we have seen how much respect there is for the “closed sessions”.)

One of the president’s lawyers’ arguments seems to be that this only applies if there is a directly legislation-related purpose that is not targeted at the person – but the law does not say that. More worrying is that the sum total of their arguments on the multiple cases would suggest their ideal outcome would be that a sitting President (and by extension any Executive Branch official) is shielded from having to deliver information in any investigation or legal action, be it in state or federal court or Congress, about the President’s past or present dealings.

Now, the bit about “all Presidential candidates should as a matter of course disclose their tax returns to the public”, THAT is **not **a law. That was a political practice out into place after Watergate.

Has the House lawyer actually brought up this law in the Supreme Court yet? If the Court wants a limiting principle, then specific statutory authority would be a good one. Either a President must sign a law or it must be approved by 2/3 of the House and Senate; more than would be needed to remove a President through impeachment.

From what I read in the 2nd case the lawyer for NY state did a much better job than the house lawyer in the first case

Is there any way that the courts will decide against Trump, but phrase it in such a way that it allows him to run out the clock on actually complying with it before the election?

As I understand it the House case was for Trump financial records and NOT the subpoena for his tax records from the IRS.
The NY state case is for his tax records.

I don’t think this has anything to do with what Trump does. It’s a question of whether the IRS will furnish the returns to Congress as required by the law.

The law alone is not the limiting principle. Trump’s lawyers are saying, yes this is the law, but (oversimplifying bigly here) the limiting principles are “except the President” and/or “only if directly relevant to an actual piece of legislation”. Apparently the problem here is the House’s lawyer, even when given paths there by the Justices’ questioning, did a terrible job of giving a satisfying answer as to what would the opposite limiting principle (granting that it cannot be “just because Rep. Neal wants to see anyone’s tax return”) actually look like.

Bumped with this update: