In a recent historical analysis of the U.S. Supreme Court, Dianne Post posted on this blog, The Destruction of the Supreme Court. Her conclusion:
Today’s Supreme Court is no longer a trusted, independent part of the Constitutional checks and balances established by the founders. It no longer protects people’s rights under the Constitution. Because of the lifetime tenure of the justices, it’s harder to change than either the Congress or the executive. In November, we have to change both to save our democracy and protect our rights.
I fully agree.
Over the next five weeks or so, the Supreme Court is going to announce opinions in the 26 cases remaining to be decided this term (including the DACA case). We are about to learn whether the sun has set on the rule of law and democracy in America (above photo) because five Republican appointed justices — four of whom were appointed by presidents who did not win the popular vote in the election, but were the beneficiaries of a vestige of slavery in the Constitution, the Electoral College: John Roberts and Samuel Alito appointed by George W. Bush (Alito was appointed in 2006, but “W” would not have been the GOP nominee in 2004 but for the Supreme Court having made him president in the election of 2000), and Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh appointed by Donald Trump — have decided that now is the time for permanent Republican rule under an authoritarian Republican regime led by a despotic “mad king.”
Justice delayed is justice denied.
Based upon oral argument, it appears the Trump financial documents cases will be remanded to the trial court with further instructions from the court for review, which will delay any release of the documents at least into next year. SCOTUS will devise a new standard for presidential subpoenas, remand back to lower court.
On Wednesday, the justices also blocked the release of the Mueller grand jury documents to Congress.
Amy Howe of SCOTUSblog reports, Justices block release of secret Mueller grand jury materials:
Today the Supreme Court blocked the disclosure to the House Judiciary Committee of grand jury materials from the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The Department of Justice had asked the court 13 days ago to put the release of the materials on hold while it appeals a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that would require it to provide portions of the Mueller report that had been redacted, along with grand jury transcripts and materials that had been kept secret. Today the justices granted that request, temporarily staying the D.C. Circuit’s ruling until DOJ files its petition for review, which now has a June 1 deadline, and the Supreme Court rules on that petition.
* * *
In its brief opposing the government’s request, the committee urged the justices to stay out of the dispute and leave the D.C. Circuit’s order requiring the disclosure of the grand jury materials in place. The justices are not likely to grant DOJ’s eventual petition, the committee argued, because – among other things – the unanimous ruling by the D.C. Circuit was correct: The Constitution, the Federalist Papers and the Supreme Court’s own cases all confirm that a Senate impeachment trial is a judicial proceeding. And it doesn’t matter, the committee added, that the impeachment trial ended earlier this year, because the investigation into the president’s conduct continues; if “this material reveals new evidence supporting the conclusion that President Trump committed offenses that are not covered by” the articles of impeachment that the House adopted last year, then the committee could respond by recommending new articles.
Moreover, the committee stressed, it has put protocols into place to ensure that the materials will remain secret when they are disclosed, so DOJ’s need to block the release is significantly reduced. By contrast, the committee suggested, it has been over a year since the committee first asked for the materials, and more than six months since the district court ordered their release: The committee needs the materials to carry out an investigation, and DOJ should not be able to “run out the clock on the impeachment process” with more delays. But if the court did block the release of the documents, the committee concluded, it should require DOJ to expedite the filing of its petition, so that the justices can decide whether to review the case on the merits before their summer recess.
In its reply brief, DOJ indicated that it did not object to fast-tracking its petition for review. Alternatively, the department suggested, the justices could treat its request to temporarily block the release of the grand jury materials as a petition for review, grant that petition, “and set the case for argument at the earliest opportunity.”
Today’s order turned down the department’s request to treat the stay request as a petition for review, but it did put the dispute on a fast track, as the committee had requested. The justices indicated that the release of the materials would be put on hold until DOJ could file, and they could rule on, a petition for review, as long as the petition is filed by 5 p.m. on June 1 – the deadline that the committee had suggested. Although the court did not say so explicitly, such a timetable strongly suggests that the justices do intend to decide whether to take up the case on the merits before they leave for their summer recess, whenever that might be.
I have no doubt that there are four Republican justices who will grant certiorari. This appeal will not be heard until after election day, with a decision to follow sometime next year.
This is the same “delaying justice” tactic the Republican justices took with the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals case striking down “Obamacare” in its entirety. The court could have easily decided this frivolous claim in this term, but instead put it on the calendar for its 2020-21 term for argument in October, and a decision to follow next year.
The Republican justices on the court are doing everything they can to protect Donald Trump from any adverse legal decisions before election day by delaying making a decision in cases that could harm his reelection efforts. This is an entirely inappropriate political calculation by a supposedly independent and impartial judiciary. It is the corrupt result of the decades-long effort by Republicans to politicize the court.
More importantly, if Trump wins in November, the Republican Justices on the court are likely to rule in favor of the president, cementing Attorney General William “Coverup” Barr’s legal theories of an imperial presidency under the unitary executive theory. We will be living the nightmare of permanent Republican rule under an authoritarian Republican regime led by a despotic “mad king.”
If Trump loses in November, however, the Republican justices are likely to rule correctly in these cases, albeit for the wrong reason and wrong motivations. The Republican justices will do so to enable Republicans in Congress to pursue subpoenas and investigations of the new Democratic president, exactly the opposite of their defense of Donald Trump that he is above the law and cannot be investigated or held accountable at law.
This is a Republican culture of corruption.