In this Oct. 9, 2018 photo, police office guards the main entrance to the Supreme Court in Washington. The Supreme Court has ended the court fight over repealed Obama-era “net neutrality” rules that required internet providers to treat all online traffic equally. The court on Monday rejected appeals from the telecommunications industry seeking to throw out a lower court ruling in favor of the “net neutrality” rules. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Just the News reports that due to the coronavirus crisis, the Supreme Court has made the decision to postpone opening arguments scheduled for the second half of March. A spokeswoman said, “The Court will examine the options for rescheduling those cases in due course in light of the developing circumstances.”
This is the first time the Court has rescheduled arguments citing public health concerns in over a century. The last time this occurred was in October 1918, during the outbreak of the Spanish flu. Prior to that, it happened in the late 1800s due to the outbreak of yellow fever.
House Democrats are likely not too pleased with this development, because the Court was scheduled to hear opening arguments in their case against President Trump. They are trying to subpoena his financial records.
The Supreme Court agreed on December 13, 2019 to review three cases related to subpoenas issued by the House Oversight and Financial committees and New York State prosecutors for the President’s financial records. The subpoenas were served upon two banks as well as Trump’s accounting firm. Lower courts have upheld these subpoenas.
The President’s attorneys, who rightly consider this an unnecessary intrusion into his privacy and yet another partisan attempt to search for a crime, are trying to block access to this information. Arguments were scheduled to be heard by the court in March and a ruling had been expected by June.
House Democrats have claimed their interest in Trump’s financial records stems from his payments to silence Stormy Daniels during his 2016 campaign. “The Office of Government Ethics found those payments were improperly recorded as legal fees” to the President’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen. Additionally, they cite statements made by Cohen during his Congressional testimony, who accused Trump of inflating the values of his assets on loan applications and deflating their values for tax purposes.
We all know exactly what their interest is.
Following this development, President Trump’s personal attorney, Jay Sekulow said, “We are pleased that the Supreme Court granted review of the president’s three pending cases. These cases raise significant constitutional issues. We look forward to presenting our written and oral arguments.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement which said House leaders are “confident the Supreme Court will uphold the Constitution, the rulings of the lower courts and ensure that Congressional oversight can proceed.”
The House Oversight, Intelligence and Financial Committees issued a joint statement. It said, “While we are disappointed that Congress will now have to wait several more months to get a final ruling, we look forward to presenting our case to the Supreme Court.”
Much has happened since the Supreme Court agreed to hear these cases on December 13. Five days later, on December 18, the House voted to impeach President Trump. He was acquitted by the Senate on February 5, 2020. One of the Articles of Impeachment was based on Trump’s decision to refuse the House’s demands for documents and testimony from key Trump aides.
The second Article of Impeachment charged that Trump “has directed the unprecedented, categorical, and indiscriminate defiance of subpoenas issued by the House of Representatives.”
1. Stripping out the matter of Trump’s financial records weakened what was a rather pathetic case against the President to begin with.
2. The article was left with the refusal of White House officials (claiming executive privilege) to appear before the House impeachment inquiry committees. House Democrats were most interested in the testimony of former White House counsel Don McGahn.
3. On February 5, 2020, President Trump was acquitted by the Senate.
4. On February 28, 2020, a federal appeals court in Washington ruled that McGahn did not have to testify before Congress. This decision can be appealed. Knowing the House Democrats as we do, they probably will appeal. But I can’t imagine anything will come of it.
Anyway, with the opening arguments pushed out (in the financial records cases), the ruling will be delayed until likely the summer. By then, the conventions will be taking place and we’ll be heading into the homestretch of the election season.