Court Hawk
President Trump sitting in chair with scowl across his face
Fortune

Supreme Court Refuses House Call to Speed up Trump Tax Case

Three House committees have implored the Supreme Court, telling them their investigation into the president’s taxes “remains urgent”. Resolute, impassive, and frustratingly old-fashioned, the high court refused to budge. The case will be dealt with when it’s dealt with. For many House Democrats, this came as no surprise.

After all, only four of the nine justices were appointed by Democratic presidents. The remaining five, while not necessarily allies of the president, likely are in no hurry to see a case regarding his finances bumped up in the process.

House Subpoenas Sent to Lower Courts

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court heard a pair of cases involving President Donald Trump’s personal finances. In one case, House Democrats are seeking to access Trump’s tax returns as part of a Congressional investigation into potential wrongdoing.

House Democrats allege the president is somehow connected to Russian foreign assets, and are seeking his finances in connection to this claim.

The Court’s ruling rejected the president’s claim that he is completely immune to investigation while in the Oval Office. However, the court also found that Congress doesn’t have unlimited ability in terms of what they can subpoena. This, in turn, kicked the case back down to the lower courts. It’s likely that the cases will require the House to narrow its subpoena requests.

House Asks for Speedier Resolution

However, by kicking the cases back down to the lower courts, the Supreme Court didn’t implement their ruling into practice. As such, Trump’s (now refuted) claim to be completely immune to oversight is still, technically, standing. Until the lower courts resolve their cases, the matter isn’t settled, and Congress can still seek no documents from the President.

As such, three House committees clarified to the Supreme Court that their investigations “remain urgent”. However, the Supreme Court’s ruling don’t normally go into effect until some 25 days after they’re issued. This gives a long window of time for Congressional investigators to twiddle their thumbs. In the meantime, the Court has indicated it’s not in a hurry to resolve things for the House.

Notably, the Court took the opposite track with Cyrus Vance’s request for the same thing. Vance, the Manhattan District Attorney, is seeking Trump’s finances in connection to alleged hush money payments. The Court didn’t explain its reasoning, but it’s possible they were persuaded by Vance’s argument that he needed to return to the Grand Jury quickly. Otherwise, he risked letting the statute of limitations lapse on alleged crimes.