Paul L. Caron

Monday, August 3, 2020

CNN: Inside The Supreme Court's Internal Deliberations Over Trump's Tax Returns

CNN, Inside the Supreme Court's Internal Deliberations Over Trump's Taxes:

Chief Justice John Roberts had the majority on his side after the Supreme Court heard arguments on whether President Donald Trump's financial records could be released to congressional Democrats and a New York prosecutor, according to multiple sources familiar with the inner workings of the court.

But the vote among the justices was close, and the narrow margin did not satisfy Roberts -- or his colleagues.

They wanted a coalition of liberal and conservative justices -- as much ideological unity as possible -- for the decisions regarding presidential power, four sources with knowledge of the internal deliberations told CNN. It would take nearly two months to produce the two 7-2 rulings. ...

Together, the final decisions represented a masterstroke of mutual interests that in these polarized times avoided a direct clash with Trump. ...

In the Trump subpoena cases, the justices had a particular reason to sweat a narrow vote. In such moments involving presidential privileges, the Supreme Court had in the past set aside ideological and political differences and produced unanimous rulings.

In 1974, the court required President Richard Nixon to turn over Watergate tapes. In 1997, the court's action led to President Bill Clinton's testimony in Paula Jones' sexual harassment civil lawsuit and, through separate US House proceedings, his eventual impeachment.

Roberts and his colleagues were clear-eyed about the fact that both cases were decided unanimously against each president. And they recognized that the judiciary in recent months had been in the crosshairs of partisans on both sides, sources told CNN. ...

Prompted by a memo from Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the justices asked each side to address whether the case between Trump and House Democrats was too political for a court to resolve. It offered an alternative from hearing the case, but the strategy could also have crippled Congress' investigative power and led, in the short term, to the release of the Trump financial documents.

Both sides told the justices that the court had the ability and responsibility to decide the subpoena dilemmas. ... Kavanaugh's colleagues on the bench ultimately were not enticed by the idea either. ...

As Trump appointees, Kavanaugh and Justice Neil Gorsuch were traversing their own issues in the disputes over the President's tax and financial records. They ended up fully joining Roberts and the liberals in the House case -- perhaps offering a message of independence from the two "Trump judges" and reinforcing Roberts' message of nonpartisanship.

| Permalink


Chief Justice Roberts is no longer calling balls and strikes; he’s wearing uniforms and playing innings.

Posted by: Anon | Aug 7, 2020 2:45:23 PM