President Donald Trump requested the Supreme Court to block a subpoena urgently from House Democrats regarding his financial papers, and this is the second time Trump asked the justices to shield his records in as many days, The Hill reported.
Trump’s latest request to the high court follows recent losses at the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C. At issue is a subpoena from the House Oversight and Reform Committee for financial records from Trump’s accounting firm Mazars USA that was set to take effect next week.
In a 2-1 ruling, a three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit last month said the Democratic-led House Oversight and Reform Committee could subpoena Trump’s accountants for his records. This week, the same court voted 8-3 against rehearing the case, prompting Trump’s emergency request that the Supreme Court stay, or suspend, that order.
“For the first time in our nation’s history, Congress has subpoenaed the personal records of a sitting president from before he was in office,” Trump’s attorney Jay Sekulow said in a statement announcing the Friday filing. “And, for the first time in our nation’s history, a court upheld a congressional subpoena to the president for his personal papers. Those decisions are wrong and should be reversed.”
Trump’s lawyers asked the Supreme Court to temporarily suspend the D.C. Circuit’s ruling from going into effect on Nov. 20 to allow the justices to consider a more formal forthcoming petition that the appeals court’s decision be overturned.
Trump’s requests to the Supreme Court this week set the stage for potentially groundbreaking deliberations over the separation of powers, the scope of Congress’s oversight authority and the boundaries of presidential immunity.
The case at issue in Trump’s emergency filing arose after Democratic lawmakers in April subpoenaed Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, for years of financial records belonging to Trump and his businesses. Democrats said the records would help determine if updates were needed to current ethics-in-government laws.
Trump challenged the subpoena on the grounds that Democrats’ request lacked a legitimate legislative purpose. A federal district court judge sided with the Oversight and Reform Committee, as did the D.C. Circuit on appeal.
Writing for the majority, Judge David Tatel, a Clinton appointee, said that the Oversight and Reform panel’s subpoena sprang from a “legitimate legislative investigation,” and that it could reveal information that could help shape new laws. His opinion was joined by Judge Patricia Millett, an Obama appointee.
“In sum, we detect no inherent constitutional flaw in laws requiring Presidents to publicly disclose certain financial information,” Tatel wrote. “And that is enough.”
Judge Neomi Rao, a Trump appointee, dissented from both the rulings.
In the decision to not rehear the case, seven of the eight judges to vote against rehearing were appointed by Democrats. All three dissenters, Rao, Judge Gregory Katsas and Judge Karen Henderson, were Republican appointees.
Trump’s emergency filing on Friday comes a day after his personal attorneys asked the Supreme Court to intervene in a separate New York suit to prevent the release of his tax returns to Manhattan prosecutors.