The Supreme Court Held Today That No President Is Above The Law

Screengrb / Ryan Struyk / Twitter

PMH

“Article II and the Supremacy Clause do not categorically preclude… a state criminal subpoena to a sitting President.”

Law&Crime reports that in a 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of the Manhattan District Attorney in Trump v. Vance. Chief Justice John Roberts authored the opinion and wrote,

Article II and the Supremacy Clause do not categorically preclude, or require a heightened standard for, the issuance of a state criminal subpoena to a sitting President.

  • In Trump v. Vance, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance had subpoenaed tax returns as part of a criminal investigation into the Trump Organization and falsified business records used to conceal hush payments.
  • President Donald J. Trump withheld his organization’s tax returns. His lawyer, Jay Sekulow, posited during oral arguments that the President “is himself a branch of government” and therefore “the Constitution itself, both in structure and text” makes Trump “temporarily immune” to state prosecution.
  • During those oral arguments, Justice Stephen Breyer appeared to disagree and brought up the precedent set by Clinton v. Jones.
  • Roberts was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Brett Kavanaugh, and Neil Gorsuch in the majority. Kavanaugh wrote a separate concurring opinion, which Gorsuch joined. Justices Clarence Thomas and Sameul Alito dissented.
  • In the majority opinion, Roberts argued that although Trump has claimed that the criminal investigation would impede his ability to fulfill the duties of his office, the court does not see how the criminal justice process would impact him so much exceptionally more than another citizen.
  • Additionally, while Trump’s attorneys argue that the President should not be forced to risk tarnishing his reputation by involvement in criminal proceedings, the “risk of association with persons or activities under criminal investigation [can’t] absolve a President of such an important public duty” as responding to a subpoena. Additionally Roberts ruled that grand jury secrecy was an appropriate protection against such hypothetical tarnishment.
  • After announcing the Trump v. Vance decision, the Court also released its 7-2 decision in Trump v. Mazars. The same justices joined the majority and dissent as in Trump v. Vance.
  • Authoring the majority opinion, Roberts wrote that recent Congressional subpoenas issued against Trump were “broader than reasonably necessary to support Congress’s legislative objective.”
  • He returned the dispute to a lower court and vacated judgments on the subpoenas’ validity as they presently stood.

Law&Crime notes that although both cases are “far from over,” the “bottom line is that in neither case were the president’s assertions of absolute immunity and privilege accepted.”

President Donald Trump issued a series of Tweets criticizing the decision and the courts. He asserted that there was a “totally corrupt previous administration” and that the Supreme Court “would never have given” this ruling “for another President.”

We have a totally corrupt previous Administration, including a President and Vice President who spied on my campaign, AND GOT CAIGHT [sic]...and nothing happens to them. This crime was taking place even before my election, everyone knows it, and yet all are frozen stiff with fear.

No Republican Senate Judiciary response, NO “JUSTICE”, NO FBI, NO NOTHING. Major horror show REPORTS on Comey & McCabe, guilty as hell, nothing happens. Catch Obama & Biden cold, nothing. A 3 year, $45,000,000 Mueller HOAX, failed—investigated everything.

Won all against the Federal Government and the Democrats send everything to politically corrupt New York, which is falling apart with everyone leaving, to give it a second, third and fourth try. Now the Supreme Court gives a delay ruling that they would never have given for another President. This is about PROSECUTORIAL MISCONDUCT. We catch the other side SPYING on my campaign, the biggest political crime and scandal in U.S. history, and NOTHING HAPPENS. But despite this, I have done more than any President in history in first 3 1/2 years!

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