The Supreme Court on Monday made several determinations in several cases regarding former President Donald Trump directly and some on his policies. Some are good and some not so good.
Trump’s tax returns
Donald Trump suffered a major setback in his long quest to conceal details of his finances as the U.S. Supreme Court paved the way for a New York City prosecutor to obtain the former president’s tax returns and other records as part of an accelerating criminal investigation.
The justices without comment rebuffed Trump’s request to put on hold an Oct. 7 lower court ruling directing the Republican businessman-turned-politician’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, to comply with a subpoena to turn over the materials to a grand jury convened by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a Democrat.
“The work continues,” Vance said in a statement issued after the court’s action.
Vance’s investigation initially focused on hush money payments that the then-president’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen made before the 2016 election to two women – adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal – who said they had sexual encounters with Trump.
In recent court filings, Vance has suggested that the probe is now broader and could focus on potential bank, tax and insurance fraud, as well as falsification of business records.
Unlike all other recent U.S. presidents, Trump refused during his four years in office to make his tax returns public.
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SCOTUS rejected porn actress Stormy Daniels’ bid to revive her defamation lawsuit against former President Donald Trump over a Twitter post in which he accused her of a “con job” after she described being threatened over publicizing her account of a sexual relationship with him.
In bringing the case to a close, the justices left in place lower court decisions throwing out her suit. The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year agreed with a Los Angeles-based federal judge who decided in 2018 that Trump’s remarks were not defamatory and were protected by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech.
Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has said she had a sexual encounter with Trump at a Lake Tahoe hotel in 2006 – the year after he married his third wife Melania and more than a decade before the businessman-turned-politician became president. Trump has denied the sexual encounter.
Daniels has said that in 2011, an unknown man approached her and her infant daughter in a Las Vegas parking lot and threatened her after she had agreed to talk about her experience with Trump in a media interview. Daniels said the man “leaned around and looked at my daughter and said, ‘That’s a beautiful little girl. It’d be a shame if something happened to her mom.’”
In 2018, more than a year after Trump became president, she released a sketch of the man. Trump responded on Twitter to the release of the sketch, writing: “A sketch years later about a nonexistent man. A total con job, playing the Fake News Media for Fools (but they know it)!”
Daniels sued Trump in federal court claiming defamation, saying his comment conveyed his belief that she was a liar.
Mercifully this is the end of the ridiculous Stormy Daniels drama.
Election Related Cases
SCOTUS also brought a formal end to eight lingering disputes pursued Trump and others related to the Nov. 3 presidential election including a Republican challenge to the extension of Pennsylvania’s deadline to receive mail-in ballots.
The justices turned away appeals by the Republican Party of Pennsylvania and Republican members of the state legislature of a ruling by Pennsylvania’s top court ordering officials to count mail-in ballots that were postmarked by Election Day and received up to three days later.
Three of the nine-member court’s six conservative justices – Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch – dissented from the decision not to hear the Pennsylvania case.
The high court also rejected two Trump appeals challenging Biden’s victories in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin based on claims that the rules for mail-in ballots in the two election battleground states were invalid. The court also turned away separate cases brought by Trump allies in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia and Arizona.
The case brought by Pennsylvania Republicans concerned 9,428 ballots out of 6.9 million cast in the state. The Supreme Court previously rejected a Republican request to block the lower court ruling allowing the ballots to be counted.
In his dissent, Thomas said the Supreme Court should resolve whether non-legislators, including elections officials and courts, have any power to set election rules. Thomas said it was fortunate that the state high court’s ruling did not involve enough ballots to affect the election’s outcome.
“But we may not be so lucky in the future,” Thomas wrote.
Thomas’ statement seems prophetic as all Congressional Dems are pushing a sweeping election reform bill that will not go well for the GOP.
Abortion Referral Restriction
SCOTUS agreed to decide the legality of a government regulation implemented under Trump that bars health clinics from receiving federal family planning funds if they provide abortion referrals.
The justices will hear appeals in cases in which 21 states including Oregon, California and New York, the city of Baltimore and organizations including the American Medical Association and Planned Parenthood challenged the 2019 regulation issued by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Joe Biden said during the election campaign that he would reverse course from the Trump administration rule.
We’ll see how this goes. Hopefully this one will be upheld.
Trump Immigration Rule
SCOTUS agreed to examine the legality of one of Trump’s hardline immigration rules that bars immigrants deemed likely to require government benefits from obtaining legal permanent residency.
Joe Biden, who has criticized Trump’s immigration approach, is widely expected to end the so-called “public charge” rule.
The justices agreed to take up an appeal that the Trump administration had filed of a lower court ruling that found the rule likely violated federal immigration and administrative law by impermissibly expanding the definition of who counts as a “public charge” and greatly increasing the number of people who would be rejected for residency.
U.S. guidelines in place for the past two decades had said immigrants likely to become primarily dependent on direct cash assistance or long-term institutionalization, in a nursing home for example, at public expense would be barred.
Trump’s policy expanded the public charge bar to anyone deemed likely to receive a much wider range of public benefits for more than an aggregate of 12 months over any 36-month period including the Medicaid healthcare program, housing and food assistance.
If Biden gets his way on immigration it will be the end of the United States as we know it.
Reuters contributed to this report.
ARTICLE SOURCE : thefederalistpapers.org