Supreme Court won’t speed House legal fight in Trump subpoenas

The House argued that committees’ opportunity to litigate and legislate 'diminishes by the day'

Bill Christeson holds up a sign that reads "Follow the Money" outside the US Supreme Court in Washington on July 9. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Bill Christeson holds up a sign that reads "Follow the Money" outside the US Supreme Court in Washington on July 9. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted July 20, 2020 at 10:42am

The Supreme Court on Monday declined a House request for a shortcut in the legal push to enforce subpoenas for President Donald Trump’s personal and business financial records before this session of Congress ends Jan. 3.

The Democratic-led House wanted to quickly restart the legal fight in cases about committee subpoenas for Trump records from auditing firm Mazars USA and two banks, Capital One and Deutsche Bank.

To do so, the House asked the justices to immediately issue a judgment in cases the Supreme Court had issued opinions on July 9. Those opinions did not resolve the Trump-House dispute over the subpoenas, but instead sent the cases back to lower courts to reexamine.

The House argued that it couldn’t restart that lower court action until the judgment is issued Aug. 3. The chamber sought to advance that because the committees’ “window of opportunity” to litigate and legislate “diminishes by the day.”

“Immediate issuance of this Court’s judgments would accelerate the proceedings in the lower courts so that the Committees may obtain the materials necessary to undertake any needed legislative reforms as quickly as possible to address, among other issues, conflicts of interest that threaten to undermine the Presidency, money-laundering and unsafe lending practices, and foreign interference in U.S. elections and any other ongoing threats to national security arising from President Trump’s foreign financial entanglements,” the House wrote in an application.

The president’s lawyers had opposed the House’s request to immediately issue judgments in the Trump subpoena cases. They suggested that the House could use the time “productively” to try to resolve the issues instead of a “rush back into court.”

The justices denied the request in a one-line order Monday. Justice Sonia Sotomayor was the only justice to note that she would have granted the House request.

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