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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "DC Court of Appeals"

SCOTUS, here we come: Trump loses appeal on tax records

Westlake Legal Group trump-arms SCOTUS, here we come: Trump loses appeal on tax records The Blog tax returns Supreme Court neomi rao impeachment House Oversight Committee donald trump DC Court of Appeals

This hasn’t been a good week for Donald Trump in court when it comes to keeping his income tax returns private. On Monday, a federal judge rejected Trump’s challenge to a Manhattan DA’s subpoena for his tax records, blasting Trump’s “repugnant” claim of absolute immunity while in office. The DC Court of Appeals bookended Trump’s week by ruling that his accounting firm must comply with a House Oversight Committee subpoena for the records, although the ruling left time for Trump and Mazars to appeal:

A federal appeals court ruled Friday that President Donald Trump’s accounting firm must turn over financial records requested by a House committee, a legal blow to the administration’s efforts to block congressional investigations of his finances.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee sent a subpoena to Mazars USA, in April asking for documents related to Trump’s accounts going back to January 2009. His lawyers sued to block the subpoena, arguing that Congress had no legitimate legislative purpose for getting the materials.

But in a 2-1 ruling, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said the committee “possesses authority under both the House rules and the Constitution to issue the subpoena, and Mazars must comply.”

The appeals court put a seven-day hold on the legal effect of its ruling, which will give Trump’s lawyers time to appeal. The president’s lawyers will undoubtedly fight the ruling, either before the full appeals court or by going directly to the Supreme Court.

Expect to hear quite a bit about the partisan split in this ruling, especially when it comes to confirming later appointments by Trump to appellate courts. The dissenting judge, Neomi Rao, was recently confirmed to the bench after her appointment by Trump. The two that ruled in favor of the House, David Tatel and Patricia Millet, got appointed by Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, respectively.

In this case, let’s start with the dissent. Rao argued that the House does not have the authority to act in a judicial manner unless and until they have formally authorized an impeachment inquiry. She accused the other two jurists of blurring that line without any precedent in support:

The majority breaks new ground when it determines Congress is investigating allegations of illegal conduct against the President, yet nonetheless upholds the subpoena as part of the legislative power. The Committee on Oversight and Reform has consistently maintained that it seeks to determine whether the President broke the law, but it has not invoked Congress’s impeachment power to support this subpoena. When Congress seeks information about the President’s wrongdoing, it does not matter whether the investigation also has a legislative purpose. Investigations of impeachable offenses simply are not, and never have been, within Congress’s legislative power. Throughout our history, Congress, the President, and the courts have insisted upon maintaining the separation between the legislative and impeachment powers of the House and recognized the gravity and accountability that follow impeachment. Allowing the Committee to issue this subpoena for legislative purposes would turn Congress into a roving inquisition over a co-equal branch of government. I respectfully dissent.

The majority disagrees, insisting that requiring financial disclosure is a valid legislative purpose:

In sum, we detect no inherent constitutional flaw in laws requiring Presidents to publicly disclose certain financial information. And that is enough. Without treading onto any other potentially fertile grounds from which constitutional legislation could flower, we conclude that given the constitutionally permissible options open to Congress in the field of financial disclosure, the challenged subpoena seeks “information about a subject on which legislation may be had.” Eastland, 421 U.S. at 508.

To the dissent, however, this makes no difference. Although acknowledging that the Committee is pursuing a “valid legislative inquiry,” the dissent insists that the Mazars subpoena is nonetheless invalid because it “seeks to investigate individual suspicions of criminality against the President,” an inquiry that “may be pursued only through impeachment.” Dissenting Op. at 44. In support, the dissent claims to rely on the “text and structure of the Constitution, its original meaning and longstanding practice.”

The purpose behind the demand, however, isn’t to craft legislation; as Rao points out, it’s to pursue impeachment, which is not a legislative function. The House has made that point increasingly explicit even as it attempts to avoid making it formal. If the House wants to require presidents to disclose their tax returns while in office, their first step should be to propose that in legislation, or at least pretend that’s the purpose of the demand for evidence. That would seem to be more the case when demanding subpoenas for private tax records for years when a president wasn’t in any elective office at all.

Of course, this is far from over. Pete Williams does a good job of breaking down the dispute for NBC and notes that Trump now has two choices. He can either appeal this to the full DC Circuit for an en banc ruling, or he can take it to the Supreme Court — where the balance at least appears to favor him. That appearance is precisely why the Supreme Court would rather rehash Roe than get involved in any way, but it seems highly likely that Trump would get the requisite four votes for a grant of cert when he appeals this ruling. At that point, the court might as well take all of the Trump tax-return actions and consolidate them, if for no other reason than to only have to do this once.

Prediction: For Christmas, John Roberts will ask Santa a six-month supply of Pepcid and Excedrin.

The post SCOTUS, here we come: Trump loses appeal on tax records appeared first on Hot Air.

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Jerry Nadler and Company Move Forward With Stealth Impeachment in Bizarre Gambit

Westlake Legal Group jerry-nadler-monkey-face-j-620x317 Jerry Nadler and Company Move Forward With Stealth Impeachment in Bizarre Gambit witch hunt Politics Nancy Pelosi Mueller Testimony Jerry Nadler Impeachment Inquiry impeachment House Democrts grand jury Front Page Stories Front Page fox news Featured Story Fat Jerry donald trump democrats DC Court of Appeals

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., gives his opening statement as former special counsel Robert Mueller testifies before the House Judiciary Committee hearing on his report on Russian election interference, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, July 24, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

As has been signaled for a while, the Democrats in the House want to have their cake and eat it to on impeachment.

They don’t want to actually impeach Donald Trump because that’s wildly unpopular. Instead, they want to wink and nod while demanding judges give them access to information as if impeachment had happened so they can drag this out until 2020.

That’s the plan Jerry Nadler and company are moving forward with now and this was laid out in a bizarre press conference yesterday.

The technical absurdity of “filing an application” aside, here’s what Nadler is trying to do.

Details via Fox News.

As a major next step, Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and the committee filed a petition in D.C. federal court on Friday to obtain grand jury materials from the former special counsel’s investigation. The petition claims the panel needs the information in order to determine whether to recommend articles of impeachment, in an attempt to give the request more weight in the eyes of the court.

“To meaningfully consider whether to exercise this authority — as well as to exercise its other pressing legislative and oversight responsibilities — the Committee must obtain evidence and testimony in a timely manner,” the filing reads.

Fresh off the disaster that was Robert Mueller’s testimony, Nadler has now decided to take the next step in this ridiculous game. Namely, he’s going to ask the court to make an exception in the laws dealing with grand jury testimony. Keep in mind that such exceptions are granted at such a low volume as to be almost non-existent historically. There are almost no legitimate reasons to expose people who gave grand jury testimony and political food fighting is certainly not one of those reasons.

The law protects grand jury testimony for a very important reason. If the guarantees of confidentiality are no longer there, the grand jury system becomes pointless and it encourages a lack of cooperation. This is especially true given that the mere presence of a person testifying can be used to smear them, even if they’ve technically done nothing wrong.

What Nadler is trying to do sets an awful precedent.

This is exactly right. The access Nadler seeks is reserved for actual impeachment proceedings (and even then, maybe not). There is no precedent, nor logic to opening an “impeachment inquiry” within a committee and then suddenly being given access to everything as if articles of impeachment had passed. You either pass articles of impeachment or you don’t.

If a judge rubber stamps this, it opens the door for massive abuse, not just that which will take place under Nadler, but also in future administrations. Don’t like who was elected president? Just open an impeachment “inquiry” in a committee and demand all their personal information. There’s got to be something there, right? And we just need to be sure of course.

That’s essentially what Democrats are doing. They have no real evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors. If they did, they’d have passed articles of impeachment already and we’d be halfway through a trial in the Senate by now. They can’t though, so they want to subvert the system entirely, impeaching while not actually impeaching so as to not rile public opinion against them.

Republicans are already speculating this gambit won’t work.

This description, though, prompted confusion on Capitol Hill. Republicans on the same committee insisted that the House has not entered a formal impeachment inquiry, meaning Democrats aren’t entitled to the grand jury material they seek.

“The House is either formally in impeachment proceedings, which involve both an impeachment inquiry and consideration of articles of impeachment, or we are not. It’s a binary issue,” a GOP aide said in an email.

House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins, R-Ga., blasted Nadler’s move to “sue for grand jury material to which they have no right.”

“Chairman Nadler’s legal action here is sure to fail, weakening Congress’s ability to conduct oversight now and into the future. If my colleagues want grand jury information, they should propose legislation allowing Congress to access it,” he said in a statement. “Democrats want to convince their base they’re still wedded to impeachment even after this week’s hearing, but a baseless legal claim is an odd way to show that.”

Whatever judge gets this, regardless of who appointed him or her, needs to put politics aside and slap this down hard. Ruling in favor of Democrats here would open a Pandora’s box of corruption. If Democrats want special access to materials, they need to impeach the President. Period. If they can’t do that, tough luck. They don’t get to change the rules just because they are scared of public opinion. The case law does not support them getting their way here and it shouldn’t be ignored just because Trump is president. That has become all too common and it’s a blight on our judicial system.

Hopefully, cooler heads prevail here in court, even if it means the Supreme Court having to step in eventually. The left hating Donald Trump is not a valid reason to destroy all constitutional and legal norms.

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The post Jerry Nadler and Company Move Forward With Stealth Impeachment in Bizarre Gambit appeared first on RedState.

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