Washington

Trump on collision course with Supreme Court; justices may avoid interference in 2020 election

CLOSE

The Justice Department wants the Supreme Court to look at some legacy cases before the lower courts have finished with them.
Hannah Gaber Saletan, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – President Trump is on a collision course with the Supreme Court, a trajectory that threatens to put the justices in the middle of the 2020 election.

Disputes over congressional subpoenas for documents and testimony, as well as legal battles over administration policies and Trump’s businesses, finances and personal affairs, are moving inexorably toward a court Trump has sought to shape in his image. 

In one box are myriad disputes over immigration, as well as health care and transgender troops in the military. In another are lawsuits seeking to pry open – or keep secret – Trump’s business dealings, financial records and tax returns. Even his Twitter account is a target. 

Most recently, the president’s vow to fight all subpoenas from House Democrats and Attorney General William Barr’s refusal to testify before a House panel have threatened to add another layer to the looming high court showdown. 

Some battles already have reached the justices. They ruled narrowly last year in favor of the president’s travel ban on several majority-Muslim countries. They seemed inclined last month to allow the Commerce Department to add a question on citizenship to the 2020 census, again by the slimmest of margins.

The question now is how many hot-button squabbles the high court will settle or sidestep in the 18 months remaining before Election Day.

Several factors may delay or derail many of the confrontations. The wheels of justice turn slowly. The Supreme Court turns down 99 of every 100 cases that come its way.

And the justices likely want to stay “three ZIP codes away” from political controversy, as their newest colleague, Brett Kavanaugh, put it during his confirmation hearing last year.

“All these cases are long shots for multiple, independent reasons,” said Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas who follows the high court closely. “If this is a one-term presidency, the clock will run out while these cases are still percolating.”

The likelihood that the Supreme Court will face a flurry of Trump-related cases increases exponentially if he wins re-election, however. Second terms tend to be litigious; think Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal and Bill Clinton’s Whitewater investigation. If Democrats retain control of the House or win the Senate in 2020, the collisions could come in bunches. 

Special interest groups challenging Trump up and down the federal court system hope they don’t have to wait that long. 

“I think it could be next year that we get the beginnings of the Trump rule-of-law docket,” said Elizabeth Wydra, president of the liberal Constitutional Accountability Center. “You don’t want the court to essentially sit on these issues simply to avoid grappling with the tough questions.”

Mixing politics and law

Since Kavanaugh’s high-wire confirmation last fall, the justices have sought a lower profile, although not always with success. That’s particularly true for the nation’s 17th chief justice, John Roberts, who shuns mixing politics and the law.

For three months, the court has been sitting on a Justice Department petition to end protections for undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children – as if the court is waiting for the White House and Congress to negotiate a compromise. 

Following that case in lower courts are others challenging immigration policies on asylum, temporary protections and families separated at the border. 

The administration has lost a series of court decisions in its effort to withhold funds from local governments that refuse to help federal immigration authorities. Now it faces a handful of lawsuits over the use of emergency funds to build part of a wall along the southern border.

Lurking in federal appeals courts are lawsuits challenging the Affordable Care Act passed under President Barack Obama in 2010, which the Supreme Court has upheld twice before, as well as federal policies restricting access to abortion and contraception services.

The justices weighed in earlier this year on Trump’s partial ban on transgender troops in the military, ruling along ideological lines that it could take effect while lower court challenges continued. The broader policy switch still may reach the justices in the future.

On that issue and others, the Trump administration’s chances of legal salvation are better at the high court than many of those en route. Its conservative majority, bolstered by Kavanaugh’s replacement of retired Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy, likely will be sympathetic toward executive branch authority over immigration and national security policy. 

“I think these are all plausible cases for the administration,” said Eugene Volokh, a prominent conservative professor and blogger at UCLA School of Law. 

Roberts, in particular, “thinks the court should play an important role in resolving legal questions,” Volokh said. “It’s hard to do that if you punt on those legal questions.”

‘A very different world’

Lawsuits involving Trump’s tax returns, hotels and golf courses, and private life are less likely to be considered by the high court during the 2020 campaign. But that won’t stop challengers from trying.

Subpoenas from House Democrats seeking testimony and documents, including a redaction-free copy of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, are expected to result in protracted negotiations. The same goes for the battle over Trump’s tax returns.

Democrats continue to press their case that Trump violated the emoluments clause of the Constitution by doing business with foreign governments while in office. A federal appeals court in Virginia appeared skeptical of that challenge during a hearing in March. But U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled Tuesday that Democrats in Congress can press ahead with allegations that Trump is violating the Constitution’s ban on foreign gifts and payments.

A federal appeals court in New York, meanwhile, is nearing a decision on whether Trump had the right under the First Amendment to ban followers from his Twitter account.

“Many of these cases may not make it all the way to a merits decision at the Supreme Court if Trump’s is a one-term presidency,” said Joshua Matz, a lawyer and legal blogger who co-authored a book on impeachment last year. “If Trump’s is a two-term presidency, then we’ll be living in a very different world.”

Post to Facebook

Posted!

A link has been posted to your Facebook feed.

Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr, right, walks with deputy independent council, John Bates, left, and associate independent council, Brett Kavanaugh on Monday, June 23, 1997, in Little Rock, Ark. In a victory for Whitewater prosectors, the Supreme Court, Monday, rejected White House efforts to withhold notes that lawyers took of their conversations with Hillary Rodham Clinton. Mike Wintroath, AP

  • The formal 2018 portrait of the Supreme Court of the United States. Seated from left: Associate Justice Stephen Breyer, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice of the United States John G. Roberts, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Associate Justice Samuel Alito, Jr. Standing behind from left: Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice Elena Kagan and Associate Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh.1 of 38
  • Chief Justice John Roberts shakes hands with President Donald Trump before the president's first address to a joint session of Congress in February 2017.2 of 38
  • Chief Justice John Roberts addresses his daughter's high school graduating class in 2018.3 of 38
  • Chief Justice John Roberts speaks at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Neb., in 2014.4 of 38
  • New Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts walks down the steps of the court with Associate Justice John Paul Stevens after Roberts' investiture ceremony in 2005.5 of 38
  • Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee during his 1991 confirmation hearing.6 of 38
  • Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife Virginia Thomas arrive for the funeral of fellow Associate Justice Antonin Scalia at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in 2016.7 of 38
  • President George H.W. Bush shakes hands with Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas after a news conference at the Bush compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, in 1991.8 of 38
  • Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas speaks with a member of the clergy as they leave St. Matthew's Cathedral after the Red Mass in Washington in October 2016.9 of 38
  • Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas administers the oath of office to Vice President Mike Pence during the 2017 Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol on Jan 20, 2017. 10 of 38
  • Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg acknowledges applause as she arrives to speak to Georgetown University law students in Washington, D.C., in 2017.11 of 38
  • Supreme Court Associate Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia pose with members of the cast of Ariadne auf Naxos following a performance at the Washington National Opera in 1994.12 of 38
  • Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg with documentary filmmakers Betsy West and Julie Cohen at the RBG premiere during the 2018 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.13 of 38
  • Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg prepares to administer the Oath of Allegiance to candidates for U.S. citizenship at the New York Historical Society on April 10, 2018 in New York City.14 of 38
  • Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer speaks at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., in 2016.15 of 38
  • Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer descends a stairway at the French Cultural Center in Boston followed by center members  Mary Ann Sorel and her husband Pierre Sorel in 2017.16 of 38
  • Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer participates in a panel at the Gewirz Student Center on the campus of Georgetown University Law Center in 2014.17 of 38
  • Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer attends a Hanukkah reception hosted by President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House in 2017.18 of 38
  • Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito administers the oath of office to Hamilton Township, N.J., Mayor Kelly Yaede in 2016.19 of 38
  • Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito gestures while speaking to the graduating class at Georgetown University Law Center in 2016.20 of 38
  • Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito enjoys a laugh after accidentally breaking a glass before testifying to a House appropriations subcommittee in March 2019.21 of 38
  • Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor gives the commencement address to graduates at the University of Rhode Island in 2016.22 of 38
  • Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a diehard Yankees fan, talks with other fans in the Judge's Chambers before a game against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium in 2017.23 of 38
  • Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor gestures while speaking with actress Eva Longoria Baston to discuss Sotomayor's life story and promote her new book during an event at George Washington University in March 2019.24 of 38
  • Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor appears with actress Eva Longoria Baston to discuss Sotomayor's life story and promote her new book during an event at George Washington University in March 2019.25 of 38
  • Supreme Court Associate Justice Elena Kagan smiles as she testifies before a House appropriations subcommittee in March 2019.26 of 38
  • Supreme Court Associate Justice Elena Kagan leaves the White House  Rose Garder after attending new Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch's ceremonial swearing-in ceremony in 2017.27 of 38
  • Supreme Court Associate Justice Elena Kagan speaks at the University of Mississippi School of Law in 2014.28 of 38
  • Swearing in of Coloradan Neil M. Gorsuch as the newest member of the, United States Court Of Appeals For The Tenth Circuit, with his wife Louise Gorsuch, holding the bible, and his two daughters, Belinda Gorsuch age 4, and Emma Gorsuch age 6 on Nov. 20, 2006 in Denver. 29 of 38
  • The late Justice Antonin Scalia and Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, who is in line to be his successor, on the Colorado River during a fishing trip.30 of 38
  • Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch fist-bumps four-year-old Charles Marshall of Dover, Delaware, in a Senate office building hallway as he makes the rounds meeting senators during his 2017 confirmation process.31 of 38
  • Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil M. Gorsuch, left, shares a laugh with Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb.as he arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington, for his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on March 21, 2017. Former New Hampshire Sen. 32 of 38
  • Prior to the investiture ceremony, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch and his wife, Louise Gorsuch, stand outside the Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. on June 15, 2017.33 of 38
  • Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr, right, walks with deputy independent council, John Bates, left, and associate independent council, Brett Kavanaugh on Monday, June 23, 1997, in Little Rock, Ark. In a victory for Whitewater prosectors, the Supreme Court, Monday, rejected White House efforts to withhold notes that lawyers took of their conversations with Hillary Rodham Clinton.34 of 38
  • Brett Kavanaugh shakes hands with President George W. Bush after he was sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy to be a judge to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia as his wife Ashley looks on during a swearing-in ceremony at the Rose Garden of the White House June 1, 2006 in Washington, DC. Kavanaugh was confirmed by the Senate with a vote of 57 to 36. 35 of 38
  • Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald J. Trump's nominee to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, and Vice President Mike Pence walk up the steps of the Capitol to meet with Senators in Washington, DC, on July 10, 2018. 36 of 38
  • Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee in September 2018 during his contentious confirmation hearing.37 of 38
  • Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., administers the Constitutional Oath to Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh in the Justices Conference Room in the Supreme Court Building. Mrs. Ashley Kavanaugh holds the Bible on Oct 6, 2018 in Washington.38 of 38

Read more: Download the USA TODAY app

 

Article source: http://rssfeeds.usatoday.com/~/601627788/0/usatodaycomwashington-topstories~Trump-on-collision-course-with-Supreme-Court-justices-may-avoid-interference-in-election/

Loading...

Best Wordpress Plugin development company in India     Best Web development company in India

Related posts

President Trump: I 'probably won't' ask possible Supreme Court nominees about Roe v. Wade

Times of News

Report: Trump willing to talk with Kim Jong Un

Times of News

Nunes on leaked audio: Rosenstein hasn't been impeached because of 'timing'

Times of News