On October 11, 2019 a federal appeals court rejected Trump’s appeal of the House Oversight Committee’s subpoena for his financial records.
Although this is a win for Americans who value transparency in government, I fear that this is an issue that will not be resolved with this decision. We have to remember that throughout the end of President Obama’s second term in office, Republicans vehemently stone-walled even the idea of Obama nominating a new Supreme Court Justice to fill the place of the late Justice Scalia.
Political commentators at the time echoed the notion that Justice Scalia was one of the most conservative members of the court and that a more liberal nominee might shift the ideological balance of the court for years.
Some would argue that these obstructionists have forgotten their oaths to the Constitution and the American people, that they have forgotten what is properly within the constitutional rights of the President of the United States. However, the truth is even more insidious. In fact, they knew full well that their blockage any Supreme Court Justice by President Obama blatantly violated the Constitution. However, political rhetoric and the power of the mainstream media clouded this issue right before the American public’s eyes.
They held out in hope that the 2016 Presidential Election would swing in their favor. In hindsight, I don’t think they expected the DNC to hand the election to them on a silver platter, but that is how the events unfolded. Despite actually losing the popular vote in the 2016 election, Donald Trump managed to win enough of the electorates in the Electoral College to secure a victory. The 2016 Presidential Election is a fabulous case study for why we should debate the contemporary utility of an institution like the Electoral College, but that is a different article for a different time.
President Obama nominated Merrick Garland in March of 2016. Garland had long been considered a prime prospect for the high court, serving as chief judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and was widely regarded as a moderate. Garland had even been praised in the past by many Republicans, including influential senators such as Orrin Hatch of Utah.
However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had other plans. Stall, stone-wall, and ignore the President’s nomination for almost a full year. Even before President Obama nominated Garland, McConnell declared that any appointment by the sitting president would be considered null and void. A bold move to make to say the least, and certainly unprecedented. Unfortunately, his partisan ploy was successful. If this goes to the Supreme Court, the conservative Justices that have been appointed by Trump may well be enough to sway the court in his favor. That case would be a true test of loyalty to a corrupt President and a crumbling administration. Hopefully, the highest courts of our country can remain truly impartial in the face of partisan politics.