Regulation

Chief Justice Roberts temporarily shields Trump tax records from House

The Supreme Court on Tuesday temporarily halted a House panel from accessing the tax records of former President Trump ahead of their expected release.

The move, which comes in response to an emergency request Trump filed on Monday, was ordered by Chief Justice John Roberts, who handles emergency matters arising in the District of Columbia. Roberts requested a response by Nov. 10.

The latest development comes after a lower court cleared the way for the House Ways and Means Committee to obtain the records of Trump and his businesses from the Treasury Department as part of a long-running legal battle.

During Trump’s presidency, the department resisted the committee’s request, but later agreed to comply after the Biden administration entered office. 

Federal law mandates that tax returns are generally confidential unless an exception applies, one of which includes a written request by the House Ways and Means Committee. The issue in Trump’s litigation in large part turns on whether this exception is constitutional.

The latest phase of litigation arose last year when Trump asked a federal judge in D.C. to block the IRS from handing over his records, citing his privacy concerns and challenging the constitutionality of the House committee’s request.

U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump appointee, dismissed Trump’s suit late last year. His ruling was later affirmed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which last week rejected Trump’s request to rehear the case, prompting his turn to the Supreme Court.

In court papers filed to Roberts on Monday, Trump’s lawyers reiterated his claim that the House panel’s pursuit of the records is legally invalid.

“The Committee’s purpose in requesting President Trump’s tax returns has nothing to do with funding or staffing issues at the IRS and everything to do with releasing the President’s tax information to the public,” they wrote.

The committee maintains that it requires the records — six years of Trump’s tax returns and eight years of his business records — to inform its review of the IRS’s presidential audit process.

“The Ways and Means Committee maintains the law is on our side, and will file a timely response as requested. Chairman [Richard] Neal looks forward to the Supreme Court’s expeditious consideration,” a spokesperson for the committee said in a statement to The Hill.

Updated at 12:47 p.m.

Tags Chief Justice John Roberts John Roberts SCOTUS Supreme Court Trump Trump tax returns
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