Thursday, November 10, 2022
The solicitor general and the House today filed separate oppositions to former President Trump's emergency application to the Supreme Court for a stay of the lower court's ruling that Treasury must turn over Trump's taxes to the House Committee on Ways and Means.
The filings follow the Court's temporary stay and super-fast briefing schedule in the case. (The Court's temporary stay prevents Treasury from turning over the taxes until it resolves Trump's emergency application.)
Both briefs argued that the lower court got it right--that the Committee has a legitimate legislative purpose for requesting the taxes, and that the Committee's request doesn't violate the separation of powers.
The Committee brief added that the Court should rule quickly, because time's running out on this Congress, and (implicitly) that delays will simply play into Trump's run-the-clock strategy, should the Republicans take the House: "Delaying Treasury from providing the requested tax information would leave the Committee and Congress as a whole little or no time to complete their legislative work during this Congress, which is quickly approaching its end."
The Committee also added that a ruling for Trump would undermine Congress's authority more generally:
The "power of inquiry--with process to enforce it--is an essential and appropriate auxiliary to the legislative function." And more recently, this Court in Mazars confirmed that "[l]egislative inquiries might involve the President in appropriate cases" and rejected an approach that gave "short shrift to Congress's important interests in conducting inquiries to obtain the information it needs to legislative effectively." To rule for the Trump parties on the merits would disregard those important Congressional interests and "risk seriously impeding Congress in carrying out its responsibilities" by preventing Congress from completing any investigation involving a former President whenever there are allegations that the investigation was politically motivated.
Next move's for the Court.