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Supreme Court Gives President One Victory, One Loss - Pelosi Cheers: 'Not Good News for Trump'

07-09-2020
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President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walk out to participate in a National Day of Prayer event in the Rose Garden of the White House, Thursday May 2, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The U.S. Supreme Court saved two cases involving President Trump for the last hour of the last day of this busy term.   In the 7-to-2 rulings, justices handed the president a victory and a loss.

As part of an investigation into some of Trump’s financial dealings, the Manhattan district attorney went after the president’s tax returns and other records, and the Court ruled that’s probably okay, even if the person in question sits in the White House.

‘Every Man’ Includes the President

Speaking for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote:

“In our judicial system, ‘the public has a right to every man’s evidence.’ Since the earliest days of the Republic, ‘every man’ has included the President of the United States.”

That overjoyed the D.A. involved, Cy Vance Jr., who stated, “This is a tremendous victory for our nation’s system of justice and its founding principle that no one – not even a president – is above the law.”

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But Justice Samuel Alito dissented from the decision, writing:

“Never before has a local prosecutor subpoenaed the records of a sitting President. The Court’s decision threatens to impair the functioning of the Presidency and provides no real protection against the use of the subpoena power by the Nation’s 2,300+ local prosecutors.”

“While the decision will of course have a direct effect on President Trump, what the Court holds today will also affect all future Presidents—which is to say, it will affect the Presidency, and that is a matter of great and lasting importance to the Nation.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) hailed today’s decision, saying, “A careful reading of the Supreme Court rulings related to the President's financial records is not good news for President Trump.”

‘This is All a Political Prosecution’

The president tweeted his reaction: “The Supreme Court sends case back to Lower Court, arguments to continue. This is all a political prosecution. I won the Mueller Witch Hunt, and others, and now I have to keep fighting in a politically corrupt New York. Not fair to this Presidency or Administration!”

He continued, “Courts in the past have given ‘broad deference.’ BUT NOT ME!”

In the second ruling, the Court said no to Congressional Democrats wanting the president’s financial records for their many investigations.   Roberts wrote:

“This case is different.  Here the President’s information is sought not by prosecutors or private parties in connection with a particular judicial proceeding, but by committees of Congress that have set forth broad legislative objectives.”

“The courts below did not take adequate account of the significant separation of powers concerns implicated by congressional subpoenas for the President’s information.”

‘Nationwide Inquisition’ Not Authorized

Justice Clarence Thomas would have gone further than his fellow justices, saying:

“Congress’ legislative powers do not authorize it to engage in a nationwide inquisition with whatever resources it chooses to appropriate for itself.”

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany commented, "Where the president stands is he still maintains his initial position, and he agrees with Justice Thomas in the dissent who said, 'Demands on the president's time and the importance of his tasks are extraordinary. And the office of the president cannot be delegated to subordinates. The subpoena imposes both demands on the president's limited time and a burden."

Both rulings mean the cases go back to lower courts. White House attorney Jay Sekulow said that's good news. “We are pleased that in the decisions issued today, the Supreme Court has temporarily blocked both Congress and New York prosecutors from obtaining the President’s financial records. We will now proceed to raise additional Constitutional and legal issues in the lower courts.”

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