Donald J Trump says he, the president, will not obey the demands of Congress for records or testimony from administration officials, past or present, as Congress pursues its Constitutional oversight authority.
Trump is used to getting his way. But in this fight he faces the most formidable opponent yet.
Not Joe Biden or any of his other political opponents.
But a man who has been dead for one hundred ninety four years named John Marshall who was the 4th Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
It was Marshall who established the bedrock principle that when a dispute of law and the Constitution must be resolved it is the Courts of our land that will resolve it.
And the Courts decision will be obeyed!
Thus it was in 1974, when president Richard M Nixon fought the Congressional subpoena that demanded he turn over his White House tapes. The case made its way to the Supreme Court.
The Court ruled against him and he turned over the tapes.
Today, the first of several showdowns between the Congress and the President has received an initial ruling.
And Marshall wins the first round.
As the Washington Post reported: “President Trump on Monday lost an early round of his court fight with Democrats, after a federal judge ruled the president’s accounting firm must turn over his financial records to Congress as lawmakers seek to assert their oversight authority.
Trump called the 41-page ruling from U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta of Washington, D.C. “crazy” and said he would appeal, adding: “We think it’s totally the wrong decision by obviously an Obama-appointed judge.”
An “Obama” judge?
Well, consider this. When the Supreme Court had to rule in the case of Richard Nixon’s tapes there was a vacancy so the unanimous vote against Nixon was eight to zero. Four of the eight Justices voting were nominated to the court including Chief Justice Warren Burger by – you guessed it, Nixon.
If Mr. Nixon thought that was a “totally the wrong decision” by Judges not nominated by a political opponent but by him he had the good sense not to voice it.
Instead, he obeyed the court.
When the Congressional lawsuit against President Trump was filed, Trump’s private attorney Jay Sekulow said the president’s team “will not allow Congressional Presidential harassment to go unanswered.”
But Judge Metha flatly rejected the idea that the subpoena from Congress for records from Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA was “harassment” that served no legitimate legislative function.
Judge Mehta wrote “It is simply not fathomable that a Constitution that grants Congress the power to remove a President for reasons including criminal behavior would deny Congress the power to investigate him for unlawful conduct — past or present — even without formally opening an impeachment inquiry.”
Well, you say, when this and other cases of Subpoenas not obeyed reach the Supreme Court Trump will win in the end.
Don’t be too sure of that.
I believe Chief Justice John Roberts will vote to uphold the Constitutional authority of Congress and guess who I believe will do so also – Justice Cavanaugh. In fact, it is not beyond reason to forecast that the vote would be unanimous or at least eight to one against President Trump’s attempt to obstruct Congressional authority.
No, Donald J Trump for all his boasting that he always is a winner will have met his match at last.
And from a dead man at that.