Split likely in Supreme Court decision on disclosure of Trump records

In hearing two cases on access to President Donald Trump’s personal financial records, the U.S. Supreme Court seemed poised to limit access for Congress but to allow a New York prosecutor to examine tax records. The majority seemed to think it was excessive to demand years of Trump’s records along with those of family members. But a majority also expressed the opinion that the president was subject to the justice system including a grand jury subpoena. (NBC News, May 12, 2020, by Pete Williams)

John Kruzel writes in The Hill, May 12, 2020, “The court’s more conservative justices tended to focus on the risk of granting Congress overly broad powers, including the potential for presidential harassment, while liberal justices aired concerns about placing unduly restrictive limits on lawmakers. One area of apparent common ground, though, was the view that the cases, which asked the justices to draw lines between governmental powers, had handed them a difficult constitutional task.” The House of Representatives lawyer argued that Trump records are needed to check for financial misdeeds and to assess current ethics and disclosure laws. The president’s lawyer said that there was no legislative purpose in the inquiry in that the records do not concern the workings of the government.

Legal analyst Joan Biskupic, CNN, May 13, 2020, thinks that Chief Justice John Roberts rejects the notion that Trump is not subject to subpoenas but may find ways to delay release of Trump tax records until after the November election. Roberts also seemed to side with those arguing against burdening Trump with distractions.

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