The release of former President Donald Trump’s tax returns to a congressional committee was temporarily put on hold by Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday.
Trump filed an urgent appeal with the Supreme Court on Monday, and Roberts’ decision allowed the court time to consider the legal arguments.
Without a court order, the Treasury Department could have sent the House Ways and Means Committee, controlled by Democrats, the tax returns as early as Thursday.
The committee was given till November 10 by Roberts to answer.
The chief justice handles urgent appeals in the nation’s capital, where the dispute over Trump’s taxes has been ongoing since 2019.
Trump’s accusations that the committee was overstepping were rejected by the courts, who determined that the committee has extensive jurisdiction to collect tax returns.
Trump may postpone a judgment until the next Congress in January if he can persuade the nation’s top court to take on this case.
Republicans might abandon the records request if they win back the majority in the House in the upcoming election.
Roberts’ temporary halt is the court’s third order recently made in cases involving Trump.
Sen. Lindsey Graham’s emergency petition to avoid testifying before a Georgia grand jury looking into possible criminal intervention by Trump and his associates in the 2020 election is being considered separately by the court.
Kelli Ward, chairwoman of the Arizona Republican Party, has also filed an emergency petition with the court to stop the release of phone records to a House committee looking into the Jan. 6, 2021, uprising in the United States Capitol.
Trump’s tax returns were initially requested by the House Ways and Means Committee and its Democratic chairman, Richard Neal of Massachusetts, in 2019 as part of an inquiry into the Internal Revenue Service’s audit program and the former president’s compliance with tax law.
According to federal law, the Internal Revenue Service “must furnish” the returns of any taxpayer to a select group of senior politicians.
Under the Trump administration, the Justice Department has defended Steven Mnuchin’s choice to withhold the tax returns from Congress. Mnuchin said he could refuse to release the records because he believed Democrats were looking for them for partisan purposes.
A court case followed.
The committee reissued its request for Trump’s tax returns and additional material from 2015 to 2020 when President Joe Biden assumed office.
According to the White House, the Treasury Department was forced to cooperate since the request was legitimate.
Then, in court, Trump attempted to block the transfer.