The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the House subpoena of President Donald Trump’s financial documents Tuesday morning.
The Supreme Court consolidated Trump v. Mazars USA, LLP and Trump v. Deutsche Bank AG, two cases that arose out of House Democrat efforts to subpoena Trump’s financial records from when he was a private citizen. At focus is whether Congress has the authority to obtain such information.
The Chief Justice led the oral argument in the new virtual format, rotating time for each justice to ask questions to the attorneys.
Trump’s attorneys argue that the Congressional subpoenas harass the president and burden his ability to perform his constitutional duties. At one point during oral argument Tuesday morning, Justice Elena Kagan questioned exactly how his duties would be compromised by the grant of the subpoenas. Trump’s attorneys responded that it would change the balance of separation of powers. They also noted that it would have a lasting effect, undermining the office of the President.
Attorneys supporting House Democrat subpoena efforts assert that the requests are within the authority of the legislative branch. Chiefly, the attorneys argue that the subpoenas serve a valid legislative purpose. In a notable exchange, Justice Samuel Alito suggested that applying this standard to subpoena requests offers nonexistent protection to the President, as every request could have some conceivable legislative purpose. The attorney retorted that the Congressional authority to legislate is very broad.
The decision could have an impact on the 2020 presidential election, as Democrats have been seeking information surrounding Trump’s tax returns since before his election to the presidency.