[U] Now Mazars LLP, In The DC Circuit: TWO Briefs Unsurprisingly Confirming Congress Has Subpoena Power… Yawn

A bit of playfulness at the dotard’s expense kicks off the Monday evening of our holiday week here, stateside. . . . [and St. Patrick knows, he deserves it.]

UPDATED July 5, 2019: On the court’s own motion, oral argument of this case is now scheduled for July 12, 2019, at 9:30 A.M. in Courtroom 20 on the Sixth floor — with 30 minutes for each side. The panel considering this case will consist of Circuit Judges Tatel, Millett, and Rao [the latter, a very recent Trump favorite]. Even so, I think the law will win: Trump will lose. End update.

I won’t unduly belabor this [it is obvious, after all], but here the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit is asked to decide whether Congress may obtain a portion of Trump’s historical financial documents from one of his accounting firms, under a subpoena.

Spoiler Alert: The answer is. . . it may. Ever since — and stretching back to — the days of. . . Merry Old England [thus my rather cheeky graphic, at right]. From the amici briefs [Brief one, from Congress] and from Brief No. two [from Constitutional Law scholars], thus:

. . . .The practice of legislative oversight predates the birth of the United States, with “roots [that] lie deep in the British Parliament.” James M. Landis, Constitutional Limitations on the Congressional Power of Investigation, 40 Harv. L. Rev. 153, 159 (1926). In the 1680s, for example, the British Parliament investigated issues as diverse as the conduct of the army in “sending Relief” into Ireland during war, “Miscarriage in the Victualing of the Navy,” and the imposition of martial law by a commissioner of the East India Company. Id. at 162 (internal citation and quotation marks omitted). These investigations were premised on the idea that Parliament could not properly legislate if it could not gather information relevant to the topics on which it wanted to legislate. . . .

The United States Congress also demonstrated early in the Republic’s history that it viewed its authority to investigate broadly. As the Supreme Court would later recount, the first Congresses used compulsory process to investigate “suspected corruption or mismanagement of government officials.” Watkins, 354 U.S. at 192. For instance, the House created a special committee in March 1792 to inquire into a significant military defeat. Records of the debate in the House show that a majority of Members believed that Congress should establish a select committee to investigate this matter itself, rather than direct the President to investigate. For example, Representative Thomas Fitzsimons believed it “out of order to request the President. . . to institute . . . a Court of Inquiry,” and instead argued that a committee was better suited “to inquire relative to such objects as came properly under the cognizance of this House, particularly respecting the expenditures of public money.” 3 Annals of Cong. 492 (1792). . . .

There you have it. This all is well-settled law. Trump loses. [And you may call him. . . a “C” — if you’d like. Her Serene Highness, the Right-wise Queen of England. . . is plainly cool with it.] Onward.


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