Trump Takes Tax Return Fight With New York to the Top

President argues immunity, asks justices to take up case this term
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 14, 2019 6:15 PM CST
Trump Takes Battle Over Tax Returns to Supreme Court
President Trump appealed a ruling to the Supreme Court on Thursday.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Arguing that he's protected from criminal proceedings while in office, President Trump has asked the Supreme Court to reverse a lower court's order that he turn over financial records and tax returns to New York prosecutors. "We assert that the subpoena violates the US Constitution and therefore is unenforceable," Jay Sekulow, a personal lawyer for Trump, said in statement Thursday, CNN reports. The legal issues include whether the grand jury subpoena violates the section of the Constitution that specifies the president's powers; an appeals court ruled Nov. 4 that prosecutors can enforce the subpoena demanding Trump's accounting firm provide the records, rejecting his immunity claim.

Trump's filing sets up a historic test of the judiciary's independence, per the Washington Post. The case involves a criminal investigation of Trump and his Trump Organization, per Reuters. New York prosecutors agreed to postpone enforcing the subpoena if Trump's lawyers would ask the high court to hear his appeal this term. They did that. The president has been losing in lower courts, but he'll now be counting on a court on which he has put two justices. The Supreme Court doesn't have to take the case, of course. Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton lost their arguments for sweeping power at the high court during their terms, which doesn't bode well for this president. Nor does the fact that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, in interviews before the 2016 election about Trump, "How has he gotten away with not turning over his tax returns?" (Read more Trump tax return stories.)

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