The Republican-led House and Senate ran roughshod all over the Democrats during the Barack Obama presidency. Senate Leader Mitch Grim Reaper McConnell (R-KY) has been the ultimate bottleneck for choking House bills to death. However, Democrats won another court battle.
The Trump administration claimed that since the Dems were in the minority, they had no standing to enforce their right to receive information from the government used to complete their investigations.
A three-judge panel for the Washington DC Court of Appeals found two to one for a group of Democrats. They wrote that the House Democrats’ Oversight and Reform Committee could request and receive the information they requested from the General Services Administration (GSA). The Democrats wanted background data on the lease of the Old Post Office building. This is the building that Donald Trump’s company leased for the Trump International Hotel.
Judge Patricia Millett was an Obama appointee, and she wrote the majority opinion for the Court:
‘It is concrete—the request was made and straightforwardly denied; the Requesters have been and remain empty-handed. The injury is personal and particularized to the Requesters themselves, not to any other legislators, to a legislative body, or even to their Committee seats.’
The federal appeals court found that those charged with oversight by definition can bring lawsuits as a means of enforcing their information requests. That would hold true even if they did not hold the majority on a committee. The ruling would give “subpoena-like power” to the committee if there were at least seven Democratic House members and five Democrats in the Senate.
Two of the federal appeals judges ruled that the House Democrats had proven they “suffered harm” when the Trump-controlled GSA would not meet their demands to go to court.
The Trump Department of Justice (DOJ) represented the GSA in this case. Unfortunately, this is only the first hurdle. However, the win was good for the Democrats’ morale. Of course, the DOJ can appeal the ruling.
The reason the Democrats were in the House minority is that the case had been filed in November 2017, before they took the House.
According to the National Public Radio (NPR), Donald Trump had managed some shady behind-the-scenes activity:
‘President Trump intervened in a big federal building project to help protect business for his hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, a group of House Democrats alleged on Thursday.
The president wanted to keep the FBI’s headquarters intact across the street from his DC hotel. This was so that no one could build a hotel and compete with his;
‘Trump wants to demolish and rebuild the FBI’s headquarters, the Democrats say, to preserve the site’s government ownership and deny any potential competitors to the Trump International Hotel at the Old Post Office Pavilion up the street.
‘The Democrats called that an abuse of power and a violation of the regulations that are supposed to protect such arrangements from political influence.’
Click on this link to read the entire Washington DC Court of Appeals finding.
The Mueller Report Adventures: In Bite-Sizes on this Facebook page. These quick, two-minute reads interpret the report in normal English for busy people. Mueller Bite-Sizes uncovers what is essentially a compelling spy mystery. Interestingly enough, Mueller Bite-Sizes can be read in any order.