Last week, the United States Supreme Court issued a pair of long-awaited decisions related to President Donald Trump’s tax returns and other financial information.
As The Hill reports, the high court’s rulings in effect make it virtually certain that President Trump’s financial records will not be made public before the general election this November, much to the chagrin of Democrats.
Further consideration needed
Both decisions concluded by sending the two matters — one involving a state-level records request and one involving congressional subpoenas — back to the lower court for further proceedings, as Politico noted.
In the case involving New York prosecutors, the justices ruled that the Manhattan district attorney is indeed able to subpoena the president’s financial records — including his tax returns — for an ongoing investigation within that jurisdiction, according to CNBC. But at the same time, the Supreme Court made clear that other arguments may exist that Trump’s legal team could still utilize in an attempt to block those records demands once and for all.
It is unclear at the moment whether Trump’s lawyers will indeed make alternative arguments in the lower court, but if they do, that will assuredly prolong a final resolution by a significant amount of time.
In the second matter, the justices ruled that several House committees that sought the president’s financial information could not gain access to that information — at least not immediately, as Fox News reported. Here, the justices found that the lower courts failed to properly consider the constitutional separation-of-powers concerns raised by those requests, and so they sent the case back to the lower court for further consideration.
With both matters headed back where they began, it is unlikely that any major movement in the cases is imminent, and November is just a few months away.
Clock is ticking
As The Hill goes on to point out, even if these two cases were somehow resolved by the lower courts before November, it is still unlikely that the president’s financial records would be made public before the election.
For example, in the case with the Manhattan district attorney, even if Trump was ordered by the courts to hand over his financial records, these documents would still be kept from the public due to the fact that grand jury proceedings are secret, and as such, the materials would not be public unless indictments were ultimately issued — though there is always the possibility of an illegal leak.
Then, with regard to the case involving the House committees, the problem is that the two banks — Deutsche Bank and Capital One — from which some of Trump’s financial records have been sought, have claimed in court that they don’t possess any documents that are in fact responsive to the congressional subpoenas, The Hill noted.
Ultimate outcome unclear
The bottom line here is that it is looking increasingly doubtful that President Trump’s financial records will be made public before the election, contrary to the wishes of Democrats. Those on the left have held out hope that the records are evidence of something which would either allow them to impeach Trump for a second time or help them to achieve victory this November.
But as The Hill notes, although the outcomes at the Supreme Court may be short-term political victories for President Trump, they may yet turn into long-term legal defeats depending on what happens in the courts below — and that’s certainly something to watch going forward.