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federal panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia sided 2-1 with the Democrats..., not really

Donald J. Trump, et al. (appellants) v. Mazars USA, LLP. 134 pp. (too much?)

This is hardly the first subpoena Congress has issued--legislative subpoenas are older than our country itself--and the parties draw upon the historical record to support their claims. Accordingly, before digging into the details of this case, we think it necessary to place the challenged subpoena in historical context.

The story of legislative subpoenas extends all the way back to the "emergence of [the English] Parliament"
Time will tell whether the Department's prediction is accurate. At present, however, we have no need to consider that hypothetical scenario because the only subpoena currently before us is the one directed at Mazars. And to be clear, neither the Trump Plaintiffs nor the Department has argued that compliance with that subpoena risks unconstitutionally burdening the President's core duties.

Nor could they. It is Mazars, a third-party, that will retrieve and organize the relevant information; the subpoena seeks non-confidential records in which the President has asserted no proprietary or evidentiary protections ; and Mazars, not the President, risks contempt through non-compliance. To be sure, monitoring Mazars's compliance with the subpoena might require some presidential time and attention. But as the Supreme Court made clear in Clinton v. Jones, a "burden [on] the time and attention of the Chief Executive," standing alone, "is not sufficient to establish a violation of the Constitution." 520 U.S. at 703.

Though our journey has been long, we find ourselves at the end of a familiar tale. A congressional committee, as committees have done repeatedly over the past two centuries, issued an investigative subpoena, and the target of that subpoena, questioning the committee's legislative purpose, has asked a court to invalidate it. The fact that the subpoena in this case seeks information that concerns the President of the United States adds a twist, but not a surprising one: disputes between Congress and the President are a recurring plot in our national story. And that is precisely what the Framers intended. As Justice Brandeis wrote, "[t]he doctrine of the separation of powers was adopted . . . not to promote efficiency but to preclude the exercise of arbitrary power." Myers v. United States, 272 U.S. 52, 293 (1926) (Brandeis, J., dissenting). "The purpose," he explained, "was not to avoid friction, but, by means of the inevitable friction incident to the distribution of the governmental powers among three departments, to save the people from autocracy." Id. Having considered the weighty interests at stake in this case, we conclude that the subpoena issued by the Committee to Mazars is valid and enforceable. We affirm the district court's judgment in favor of the Oversight Committee and against the Trump Plaintiffs. So ordered.

RAO dissenting, pp 67-134, "A subpoena's force extends beyond its recipient" yadda yadda

archived May 2019 deadline
Judge OKs House Oversight! Subpoena of Trump Finances
Hizzoner also liberally cites elements of Watkins to justify the "informing function" of Congress ...

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Oct 12th, 2019 at 04:31:31 AM EST
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