Justice Roberts Opens Up Can Of Whoop Ass On Donald Trump


The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that Manhattan authorities may access President Donald Trump’s tax returns. Manhattan-area District Attorney Cy Vance has sought the material as part of an investigation into the Trump Organization connected to the financial corruption that was wrought by the infamous hush money scheme targeting women with whom Trump had affairs. Specifically, the company falsified records to hide the true purpose of payments to Michael Cohen, who was getting reimbursed for some of the hush money. The Court didn’t just rule that Trump’s tax returns could be released to authorities — 7 justices out of 9 ruled against the president, with only two dissenting.

In the ruling, Chief Justice John Roberts — an appointee of George W. Bush — insists that “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,” and he continues, drawing a parallel to a treason trial all the way back in the early 1800s:

‘In 1807, John Marshall, presiding as Circuit Justice for Virginia over the treason trial of Aaron Burr, granted Burr’s motion for a subpoena duces tecum directed at President Jefferson. In rejecting the prosecution’s argument that a President was not subject to such a subpoena, Marshall held that a President does not “stand exempt” from the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee that the accused have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses for their defense… The sole argument for an exemption was that a President’s “duties as chief magistrate demand his whole time for national objects.”.. But, in Marshall’s assessment, those duties were “not unremitting,”… and any conflict could be addressed by the court upon return of the subpoena.’

In other words — Roberts explains that during a case all the way back in 1807, the federal court system ruled that a president must abide by basic legal standards, including compliance with subpoenas and, as Roberts added, accompanying demands for the “release of papers” — like Trump’s tax returns.

Roberts notes that across two hundred years of American history, “successive Presidents from Monroe to Clinton have accepted Marshall’s ruling that the Chief Executive is subject to subpoena and have uniformly agreed to testify when called in criminal proceedings.” Now, Trump wanted special treatment and the chance to break with literal centuries of legal precedent. He’s not going to get that special treatment.