The Supreme Court on Monday asked for additional briefings in two cases concerning President Donald Trump’s bid to shield his financial documents from Congress.
The court asked the parties to address whether the court even has the ability to decide who should prevail in the dispute.
Lower US courts have upheld US House of Representatives’ use of committee subpoenas for Trump’s financial records dating back years from his longtime accounting firm Mazars USA, and from Deutsche Bank and Capital One.
House investigators contended they needed the information as the House was considering new legislation related to money laundering and government ethics.
Trump’s lawyers, who intervened to stop the subpoenas directed at Trump accountants and banks, reject the contention of a valid legislative purpose, saying that if those grounds are affirmed, any committee would force presidents to relinquish information by claiming it was writing legislation.
In a brief order Monday, the justices directed the lawyers to address “whether the political question doctrine or related justiciability principles bear on the Court’s adjudication of these cases.”
Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for May 12.
Mazars and Deutsche Bank have indicated they would comply with the House subpoenas, noted Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and professor at the University of Texas School of Law.
“It appears that at least some of the justices may be looking for some kind of off-ramp – a way to not have to reach the substantive questions presented in these cases,” Vladeck said . “But if these third parties, including Mazars and Deutsche Bank, would comply with the subpoenas anyway, such a ruling would likely be a loss for President Trump.”
“The harder question is whether it would, in the process, also make it harder for Congress to use the courts to mandate compliance with its subpoenas going forward,” he added.