After a three-year legal battle, the Supreme Court gave the go-ahead for the impending delivery of former President Donald Trump’s tax returns to a congressional committee on Tuesday.
The court rejected Trump’s request for an order that would have barred the Treasury Department from providing the Democratic-controlled House Ways and Means Committee with six years’ worth of tax returns for Trump and several of his businesses without making any further remark.
Trump suffered his third Supreme Court defeat and second in as many months.
The legal dispute concerning the FBI search of Donald Trump’s Florida resort, which produced classified information, was not taken up by the court in October.
In January, the court declined to block the National Archives from providing records to the House committee looking into the Capitol uprising on January 6.
The lone vote in Trump’s favor came from Justice Clarence Thomas.
During Trump’s administration, the Treasury Department refused to turn over the documents in the controversy over his tax returns.
However, the Biden administration said that it is evident from a federal law that the committee has the authority to review the tax returns of any taxpayer, including the president.
Trump’s arguments that the committee was overstepping its bounds and wanted the records so they could be made public were rejected by lower courts, which ruled that the committee had broad jurisdiction to collect tax returns.
On November 1, Chief Justice John Roberts placed a temporary freeze to give the court time to consider the legal arguments made by Trump’s attorneys and the administration’s and the House of Representatives rebuttals.
With no apparent dissents, the court lifted Roberts’ order just over three weeks later.
The Trump campaign did not immediately answer an inquiry for comment.
The House argued that if the IRS couldn’t provide the tax returns, there would be “little or no time” for lawmakers to finish their work during the current Congress, which is rapidly concluding.
With Republicans prepared to take over the House in January, Trump could have put the committee out of business if he had convinced the nation’s highest court to get involved.
If the matter hadn’t been settled by then, they probably would have dropped the documents request.
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.