The Supreme Court today rejected Donald Trump’s last-ditch request that the High Court block House Democrats from viewing his tax returns, meaning House Democrats can attempt to finally get the records from the Treasury Department before Republicans take back the House in January.
The order was brief, unsigned and noted no dissents.
It is still unclear how quickly House Democrats on the Ways and Means panel, which has been trying to get the documents for years, will access the records. Democrats began promising voters in 2018 that, if they took back at least one chamber of Congress, they’d fight to see the then-president’s returns, a move only necessitated by Trump’s unprecedented refusal in 2016 to make his tax records public as scrutiny mounted surrounding his business practices.
After Democrats took the House in the 2018 midterms, the Ways and Means Committee requested the records from the IRS in April 2019, but the Trump administration refused to allow the department to hand them over, thus kicking off a years-long legal battle over the documents as team Trump attempted to run out the clock. My colleague Josh Kovensky summed up the back-and-forth well here, after Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts temporarily blocked House Democrats from accessing the documents earlier this month:
Under the chairmanship of Rep. Richie Neal (D-MA), the Ways and Means Committee waited three months before issuing the request to the IRS in April 2019. The request was then mired in a series of Trumpian legal delays that have resulted in years of litigation, with federal judges upholding requests from Trump to block the Biden administration from responding to the request after the 2020 election.
In December 2021, Trump appointee U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden for the District of Columbia ruled that the IRS had to disclose the returns to Congress.
Trump appealed that ruling, and a D.C. circuit panel ruled against him in August. Trump asked for the full appeals court to rehear the case, which led to a unanimous rejection of his bid last week.
Roberts issued that administrative stay on Nov. 1, once again blocking House Democrats from accessing the documents until the court decided how to respond to Trump’s request.
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