Trump Can't Always Get What He Wants, Not Even From Gorsuch And Kegstand :(
The Supreme Court just dropped its season finale rulings in the cases we had been most anticipating, on Donald Trump's taxes and financials, and we are going to call them WINS. Why? Well for one thing, because they are. Also, Trump seems to know he lost, because he sure is rage-screaming!
We screengrabbed this one because GOT CAIGHT is our new favorite presidential typo:
The full, reposted thread is here. There were also these:
Courts in the past have given “broad deference”. BUT NOT ME!— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1594305539.0
The Supreme Court sends case back to Lower Court, arguments to continue. This is all a political prosecution. I won… https://t.co/0uE5fWPCIi— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1594305492.0
You hate to see it.
However, don't pop the champagne just yet, because we probably won't be reading Trump's taxes and financials on the internet anytime soon, at least not before the election.
Both cases were 7-2 rulings, and in both cases, Donald Trump's handpicked boys Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh joined the more sane members of the Court to agree that Trump is not the king, laws exist, and that it matters how these things are done. You know how Trump likes to play "You Can't Always Get What You Want" at his rallies? Well sometimes, you get what you need.
(Pause here to note that it's possible/probable that both Gorsuch and Kavanaugh are fully aware that the president who installed them is DOA, and they are thinking about their future abilities to kick Democratic presidents in the shins.)
Stay tuned for full lawsplainers from the lawyers, but here, briefly, is what happened:
Trump v. Vance
The first ruling released this morning (Trump v. Vance) was about subpoenas for Trump's taxes from Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance in his investigation into Trump's hush-money porn payments before the election. It was a 7-2 ruling with Kavanaugh and Gorsuch issuing their own concurring opinion. Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that "Article II and the Supremacy Clause do not categorically preclude, or require a heightened standard for, the issuance of a state criminal subpoena to a sitting President." However, that was the only specific issue at hand, whether Trump is literally the king and the Manhattan DA is not his real dad. That's what the Court ruled on, and nothing more.
"The arguments here and in the Court of Appeals were limited to absolute immunity and heightened need. The Court of Appeals, however, has directed that the case may be returned to the District Court, where the President may raise further arguments as appropriate."
In other words, it's going back down to the appeals court, and then to the district court, where other arguments against disclosure may be considered, and that court will likely just say fuckin' hand the shit over.
Roberts agreed that presidents have a right to challenge subpoenas in criminal investigations, but the overarching theme of this opinion, and the second one, is that there is a right way to do these things, and that it still matters.Trump's taxes will still go to Cy Vance's grand jury. Eventually. Whether or not we ultimately ever get to see them ...
Trump v. Mazars/Trump v. Deutsche Bank
The second ruling (Trump v. Mazars and Trump v. Deutsche Bank) was about subpoenas from the DISHONEST AND VERY CRAZY Democratic House of Representatives, in their investigations into ERRTHING. Mazars is Trump's accounting firm. Deutsche Bank and Capital One are banks that dumbly loaned Trump money. (Vance also subpoenaed Mazars.)
This was a 7-2 ruling, where Kavanaugh and Gorsuch simply joined the Court's ruling. And this case is also going back to the lower courts, where Trump has been thoroughly smacked down already. Hooray.
The House wants Trump's financial records, paystubs, and any write-ups he's gotten for violations of the employee handbook. You can read what happened in the oral arguments here, but some court watchers felt that the justices were less open to the House's arguments than they were to Vance's, even though the Trump lawyers' arguments in both cases were basically "NONE OF YOU THE BOSS OF ME, I AM THE KING OF ALL PRESIDENTS!"
What the Court found was that sure, absolutely Congress is allowed to subpoena the president, if they can show their work and a good enough reason. But at the same time, they found that neither side's arguments were fully compelling, and that lower courts didn't really do a good job of adjudicating concerns about the separation of powers between Congress and the president. They're not amused by the president's argument that Congress is not his real dad, is not allowed to ask questions, and therefore does not exist. But at the same time, Roberts writes of the House's arguments for why it should be able to see any damn thing it wants:
Far from accounting for separation of powers concerns, the House's approach aggravates them by leaving essentially no limits on the congressional power to subpoena the President's personal records. Any personal paper possessed by a President could potentially "relate to" a conceivable subject of legislation, for Congress has broad legislative powers that touch a vast number of subjects.
In other words, you are all bad, and you should feel bad, and now you have to go back to the lower Court to try to DO BETTER.
Or in Roberts's words:
When Congress seeks information "needed for intelligent legislative action," it "unquestionably" remains "the duty of all citizens to cooperate." Watkins, 354 U. S., at 187 (emphasis added). Congressional subpoenas for information from the President, however, implicate special concerns regarding the separation of powers. The courts below did not take adequate account of those concerns. The judgments of the Courts of Appeals for the D. C. Circuit and the Second Circuit are vacated, and the cases are remanded for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
There's a right way to do things, and it matters.
So back to the DC and Second Circuit it goes! And again, Congress will probably eventually get what it wants. No fun before the election, though :(
But Donald Trump did not get what he wanted today. And part of that was delivered by the numbnuts boys he stuck on the Supreme Court to protect him.
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