Chief Justice Roberts Pauses Fight over Trump Tax Returns

U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts temporarily blocked a U.S. House of Representatives committee from gaining access to former President Donald Trump’s tax returns. 

The move by the Supreme Court’s chief justice has effectively paused the fight over a request from lawmakers that Trump claims is politically motivated.

The order from Roberts maintains the status quo while the Supreme Court assesses Trump’s emergency request, which was filed on Monday, to block a lower court ruling that upheld the House panel’s request for the tax materials as a justified part of its legislative work, while his attorneys prepare an appeal.

Roberts ordered the Democratic-led House Ways and Means Committee to respond to Trump’s bid by Nov. 10. That is two days after the midterm elections, which is expected to result in Trump’s fellow Republicans are seeking to regain control of Congress.

It drags out an already long-winded drama. 

The legal fight has lingered since 2019 when the House committee sued Trump to force disclosure of the tax returns. 

Trump was the first president in four decades years not to release his tax returns. 

Trump as president aimed to keep secret the details of his wealth and the activities of his company, the Trump Organization.

House Democrats have said they need Trump’s tax returns to see if the IRS is properly auditing presidential returns and to assess whether new legislation is needed. 

U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden, who was appointed by Trump, sided with Congress in December 2021 and threw out the case, finding that the committee holds broad authority over a former president’s tax returns.

Trump is “wrong on the law,” McFadden wrote in his ruling. “A long line of Supreme Court cases requires great deference to facially valid congressional inquiries. Even the special solicitude accorded former presidents do not alter the outcome.” 

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in August also ruled against Trump, concluding that “every president takes office knowing that he will be subject to the same laws as all other citizens upon leaving office.” 

The D.C. Circuit on Oct. 27 refused a rehearing.

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