Supreme Court temporarily blocks order for IRS to give Trump tax returns to congressional committee

Congressional Democrats have been trying to get their hands on former President Donald Trump’s tax returns for several years, and one such effort reached the Supreme Court this week in an emergency appeal.

In a move that is sure to enrage Trump’s haters, the Supreme Court just temporarily blocked a lower court order that would have resulted in the IRS handing over Trump’s tax returns to the Democrat-led House Ways and Means Committee, the Conservative Brief reported.

The former president’s emergency appeal followed an appeals court decision just last week to not block the lower court that had ruled in favor of the Democrat-led committee’s demands for the official tax records.

Temporary stay issued

Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday issued a stay “pending further order” on an appeals court panel ruling that upheld a district court’s order for the IRS to turn over former President Trump’s tax returns to the committee.

In at least considering taking up Trump’s emergency appeal, but not yet ruling on the merits, Roberts further set a date of Nov. 10 for a response to the former president’s filing, which had the effect of temporarily blocking the lower court’s order until that time.

Ongoing battle over tax records since 2019

SCOTUSblog reported that the Democrat-led House Ways and Means Committee had first made its demand for former President Trump’s personal and business tax returns in 2019, but was denied from obtaining them by the Treasury Department at that time, which precipitated the current lawsuit.

Following the change in administration, the Treasury Department, now under President Joe Biden, reversed its prior opposition and agreed to hand over the returns, which prompted Trump to intervene in the case to keep that from happening.

A district court judge, who happened to have been appointed by Trump, ruled in favor of the committee, which lead to an appeal to the D.C. Circuit Court by the former president, but a three-judge panel in August again sided with the committee and against Trump.

Trump then asked the entire D.C. Circuit Court to reconsider the matter and overrule the lower court and three-judge panel, but the court declined to do so, which resulted in the former president’s attorneys filing the emergency appeal with the Supreme Court on Monday.

Legitimate legislative purpose or just public exposure?

At issue in this dispute is the federal law known as 26 U.S.C. Sec. 6103(f), which provides an exception to the prohibition against disclosure of otherwise confidential taxpayer records for certain congressional committees — so long as those records are necessary for legislative purposes and not simply for the sake of public exposure, as was established by the precedent set by the Supreme Court in its 2020 Trump v. Mazars decision.

The Democrat-led committee, of course, insists that it has a valid legislative purpose for needing Trump’s tax returns, but Trump, naturally, has countered by asserting that the committee only seeks to obtain those records “for the sake of exposure” and as part of the incessant fishing expedition in search of some sort of crime.

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