President Donald Trump on Monday filed an emergency request, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to prevent a House committee from accessing his tax returns.
SCOTUSBlog reported that the emergency request aims to block the Democrat-led House Committee on Ways and Means from obtaining six years of President Trump’s tax returns. Trump’s legal team argued that allowing the committee to access those private records would breach the separation of powers and violate a prior Supreme Court ruling in another congressional attempt to access the tax records.
“If allowed to stand, it will undermine the separation of powers and render the office of the Presidency vulnerable to invasive information demands from political opponents in the legislative branch,” the filling claims.
The president’s legal team has argued that the committee’s purpose of obtaining the records “has nothing to do with funding or staffing issues at the IRS and everything to do with releasing the President’s tax information to the public,” the document states.
“On top of this objective mismatch, Chairman Neal and Speaker Pelosi’s on-the-record statements, as well as statements by other officials involved in making the request, evince quite a different purpose: exposing President Trump’s tax information to the public for the sake of exposure,” the legal team added.
The legal battle between Trump and the committee stems back to 2019 when the Ways and Means Committee urged the IRS to release tax returns allied with Trump and his businesses, SCOTUSBlog noted. Federal law grants the committee access to “any return or return information,” including tax returns of any taxpayers from the IRS.
Under the Trump administration, the Department of the Treasury declined the committee’s request, and a lawsuit followed, the outlet added. After the 2020 election, the committee attempted to request the records again, noting that it wanted the returns for legislation efforts. Specifically, the committee wanted to see how federal tax laws were applied to a sitting president. The Treasury accepted the request and the committee’s lawsuit was dropped.
SCOTUSBlog also reported that President Trump proceeded to file a lawsuit, attempting to block the committee from obtaining the tax records. However, U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden ruled against the president, with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit following suit and upholding the district court’s ruling.
Similarly, the D.C. Circuit declined to hear the case last week, leading President Trump to look to the Supreme Court for assistance.
The emergency filing requests the high court to act by Wednesday, Nov. 2, giving Trump time to properly ask the court to hear an appeal of the ruling or the court may also use the emergency filing as a request to hear the case, per CNBC.
The filing states:
“The only way to preserve these certiorari-worthy questions and to avoid causing Applicants irreparable harm is for this Court to grant an administrative stay by Wednesday, November 2, and then to stay the issuance of the mandate pending the filing and disposition of a petition for writ of certiorari. If the Court wishes, it could alternatively construe this application as a petition for certiorari and grant review.”