It ought by now be obvious that one of the very, very few things that President Trump has been right about is that there’s literally nothing he could do or that could be learned about him that would change the mind of even a single voter. Still, hopeful Democrats persist in the fiction that there is something in Trump’s tax returns that will finally be the thing that sinks him, or that will enable his indictment or second impeachment and that will sink him, and therefore continue to fight tooth and nail to reveal them, while Trump and his legal team do the same to keep them from the prying eyes of his enemies and less-prying eyes of his supporters because (a) that is what they do and (b) it’s a good way to own the libs. And so, three precious hours of the Supreme Court’s time had to be spent adjudicating who, if anyone, will get to see these tax returns and other financial records, and the unedifying answer to this unedifying question and spectacle is: probably some prosecutors and 23 residents of Manhattan, and not before November.

A majority of the justices appeared skeptical of Mr. Trump’s argument, in response to a subpoena from the Manhattan district attorney, that he was absolutely immune from criminal investigation while he remained in office. But the court seemed more receptive to Mr. Trump’s argument that the three House committees had asked for too much information for reasons unrelated to their legislative responsibilities…. If the Manhattan prosecutors prevail, the records would not immediately be made public under the secrecy rules that apply to grand juries….

Some of the justices’ questions raised a third possibility: that the court could return the cases to lower courts for reconsideration under stricter standards. That would have the incidental effect of deferring a final decision beyond the 2020 presidential election.

Of course, there is more at stake than that, given that Trump is of a Nixonian-royalist mindset about things. But even his own people don’t seem so of Trump’s divine presidential right to do whatever the hell he wants.

Several justices disputed that, saying the Watergate investigation of President Richard M. Nixon and the Whitewater investigation of President Bill Clinton provided apt analogies…. “History and practice matter quite a bit in separation of powers cases,” Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh said….

“How do we avoid the conclusion there,” Justice Neil M. Gorsuch asked, referring to the Clinton case, “that the president wasn’t subject to some special immunity but here is?”

“There,” said Justice Gorsuch, who was appointed by President Trump, “they sought the deposition of the president while he was serving. Here, they’re seeking records from third parties.”

On the third hand, there might be nothing at stake, as society is on the brink of collapse and Trump’s minions seem rather intent on accelerating it, so really who cares?

Supreme Court Hints at Split Decision in Two Cases on Obtaining Trump’s Financial Records [NYT]



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