Supreme Court: Trump records can’t be blocked

Antelope Valley Press - - OPINION -

In what some ob­servers have de­clared was a stun­ning de­feat for Don­ald J. Trump, the US Supreme Court on July 9, ap­proved two rul­ings that clear the way for ex­po­sure of his fi­nan­cial pa­pers by New York pros­e­cu­tors.

The long-awaited de­ci­sion states that Trump had no ab­so­lute right to block re­lease of the doc­u­ments.

The de­ci­sions con­sti­tute a ma­jor state­ment on the scope and lim­its of pres­i­den­tial power.

“No cit­i­zen, not even the pres­i­dent, is cat­e­gor­i­cally above the com­mon duty to pro­duce ev­i­dence when called upon in a crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ing,” Chief Jus­tice John G. Roberts wrote for the ma­jor­ity.

A num­ber of jour­nal­ists high- lighted the fact that the 7-2 rul­ings in­cluded Yes votes from two Trump ap­pointees.

The court’s four-mem­ber lib­eral wing voted with the ma­jor­ity as did the pres­i­dent’s choices: Jus­tices Neil M. Gor­such and Brett M. Ka­vanaugh. Jus­tices Clarence Thomas and Sa­muel A. Al­ito Jr. dis­sented in both cases.

De­spite the court’s rul­ings, it is likely that the pres­i­dent’s records will be shielded from pub­lic scru­tiny un­til af­ter the Novem­ber elec­tion — and per­haps in­def­i­nitely.

In a sep­a­rate de­ci­sion, the court ruled that Congress could not, at least for now, see many of the

The U.S. Supreme Court voted 7-2, twice, in rul­ing on cases in an at­tempt to ex­pose Trump’s tax records. Although the af­fir­ma­tive vote passed, it will take months — even be­yond the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion — for some res­o­lu­tion.

same records.

The chief jus­tice wrote the ma­jor­ity opin­ions in both cases and both were de­cided by the 7 to 2 votes.

Pres­i­dent Trump im­me­di­ately at­tacked the out­come on Twitter.

“This all a po­lit­i­cal pros­e­cu­tion. Courts in the past have given ‘broad def­er­ence,’ BUT NOT ME,” he tweeted.

Trump’s at­tor­neys ar­gued that he was im­mune from all crim­i­nal pro­ceed­ings and in­ves­ti­ga­tions so long as he re­mained in of­fice and that Congress was pow­er­less to ob­tain his records be­cause it had no leg­isla­tive need for them.

Jay Seku­low, a lawyer for Trump, por­trayed the de­ci­sions as, at least, a tem­po­rary vic­tory.

“We are pleased that in the de­ci­sions is­sued today, the Supreme Court has tem­po­rar­ily blocked both Congress and New York pros­e­cu­tors from ob­tain­ing the pres­i­dent’s tax records,” he said in a state­ment.

One of the cases con­cerned a sub­poena to Trump’s ac­count­ing firm, Mazars USA, from the of­fice of the Man­hat­tan district at­tor­ney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., a Demo­crat.

It sought eight years of busi­ness and per­sonal tax records in con­nec­tion with an in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the role that Trump and Trump Or­ga­ni­za­tion played in hush-money pay­ments made in the run-up to the 2016 elec­tion.

Vance ex­pressed sat­is­fac­tion with the rul­ing in his fa­vor.

“This is a tremen­dous vic­tory for our na­tion’s sys­tem of jus­tice and its found­ing prin­ci­ple that no one — not even a pres­i­dent — is above the law,” he said.

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