Former President Donald Trump accused the U.S. Supreme Court of being politically motivated after it denied his request to block access to his tax returns on Tuesday.
The high court’s order Tuesday culminates a years-long legal battle led by Democrats to obtain the 45th president’s taxes. An emergency petition submitted by Trump attempted to block the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) from transmitting his tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee.
“Why would anybody be surprised that the Supreme Court has ruled against me, they always do!” Trump said in a Truth Social post. “It is unprecedented to be handing over Tax Returns, & it creates terrible precedent for future Presidents. Has Joe Biden paid taxes on all of the money he made illegally from Hunter & beyond.”
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court’s final vote count wasn’t made public. Details on how each justice voted were also not given.
“The application for stay of the mandate presented to The Chief Justice and by him referred to the Court is denied. The order heretofore entered by The Chief Justice is vacated,” it said (pdf). Earlier, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts issued a stay on a lower court order that had told the IRS to provide Trump’s tax returns from 2015 to 2020.
House Democrats, for years, have attempted to get Trump’s records and have, in part, said that they need them to determine how the IRS conducts presidential audits. But Trump’s team said that it’s a partisan effort that would lead to leaks to mainstream media outlets.
“The Supreme Court has lost its honor, prestige, and standing, & has become nothing more than a political body, with our Country paying the price,” Trump also wrote on Wednesday. “They refused to even look at the Election Hoax of 2020. Shame on them!”
The Supreme Court in late 2020 rejected election-related lawsuits filed by Trump’s team. At the time, then-President Trump said the high court was “incompetent and weak” for not looking into allegations of voter fraud, including an order in which justices denied Texas’s request to sue Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Michigan.
In mid-October, the Supreme Court also rejected Trump’s plea to wade into the legal fight over the FBI search of his Florida Mar-a-Lago resort. The justices turned away Trump’s emergency appeal and did not offer comment after Trump’s lawyers asked the court to overturn a lower court ruling to allow a special master to review the 100 documents that were taken in the raid.
The Justice Department had called on the Supreme Court, which includes three justices appointed by Trump, to deny Trump’s petition in the Mar-a-Lago case. Trump maintained that the August FBI raid was politically motivated and that the documents that were obtained were previously declassified by him.
What Trump Argued
Trump’s lawyers had filed an emergency petition with the court, arguing that the House Ways and Means panel’s “purpose in requesting President Trump’s tax returns has nothing to do with funding or staffing issues at the IRS and everything to do with releasing the President’s tax information to the public.”
They also noted that the House panel, led by longtime Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.) is seeking records from no other former presidents.
Lower court rulings, Trump’s attorneys added, “will undermine the separation of powers and render the office of the Presidency vulnerable to invasive information demands from political opponents in the legislative branch.”
But House Democrat lawyers said that Trump’s taxes should be handed to Neal’s panel because it “plainly serves valid” purposes under Article I of the U.S. Constitution.
“Congress may inquire into any ‘subject on which legislation could be had,’ including ‘the administration of existing laws, studies of proposed laws, and surveys of defects in our social, economic or political system for the purpose of enabling the Congress to remedy them,’” they wrote.
Following the ruling, Neal issued a statement saying that his committee will now pursue his tax returns. And a spokesperson for the Department of Treasury, which oversees the IRS, told CNN that it will “comply with the Court of Appeals’ decision.”
“We knew the strength of our case, we stayed the course, followed the advice of counsel, and finally, our case has been affirmed by the highest court in the land,” Neal said. “Since the Magna Carta, the principle of oversight has been upheld, and today is no different. This rises above politics, and the committee will now conduct the oversight that we’ve sought for the last three and a half years.”
A member of the House and Ways Committee, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), told the network that the panel will attempt to get the tax returns “by next week.”
The IRS and Department of Justice have not responded to requests for comment on the Supreme Court order.