Let me quite clear at the start; I am NOT a Legal scholar, nor a Jurist or Justice, nor even an attorney or lawyer. I am just a dedicated student of the both the Law, the Constitution and it’s history. I do take no little pride in having been this for almost 50 years now. Because of this I feel I can, with some trepidation put my two cents in. I also look forward to anyone who is any of those things I said I wasn’t above to jump in an correct any error or misstatements I make here. That said……
Given what the ‘new’ Attorney General Barr has said this week along with other persons in the Administration have said about turning over Pres. Trumps federal tax returns I am going to do something I haven’t done since November 2016. I’m going to make a prediction about what is going to happen politically. But first a little back story: 48 years ago when I started my study of the law (Business Law 101) on of the things Professor McNutt drilled into our heads was that words in the law often had very firm definition and usage. He started with two of the most, according to him, miss read words in the law. They are “will” and “shall”. I will not bother with all he told us about “will” as it is the word “Shall” that is going to be making all the news.
My prediction is this, that the IRS and/or the Treasury Dept. will refuse to supply the requested Tax returns of President Trump on one or mer grounds. The first, and I think most obvious, is that the Congress has no ‘ legitimate’ legislative purpose for see the documents. The second is that do to the separation of powers the law in question( 26 US Code 6103) can not be applied to the President. There maybe more but my knowledge of the subject is not great enough for me to venture deeper. Also just these two are more than enough to give SCOTUS a very severe case of heart burn.
I’m not going to even attempt to guess how the Court will rule, I’ll only say that both are set with many pitfalls and the Court is facing the real possibility of writing a decision to rival ‘Dread Scot’. As for myself I would like to see how things would evolve if the Court Rules that there are some laws that can not be applied to the President just because s/he is the President. Just what an author of apocalyptic SF needs to fill in the back story. I can just see it now, none of the executive branch needs to follow any of the laws passed by Congress because of the doctrine of the. Unitary Executive and no law can be applied to the President because of separations of powers.
I’m now going to make my prediction: it will take anywhere from 9 to 12 months for all of the challenges to the demand of the Congress to work it’s way up to the SCOTUS and the court will not issue anything till the last minute. I expect and hope the court will say Pres. Trump must comply and I expect Pres. Trump to stonewall it just like Pres. Andrew Jackson did. This would then give the House an actual impeachable act but not enough time before the election to actually impeach the President before the election.
Thought Experiment Time:
It is Wednesday 4 Nov 2020 and one of the following things has happened:
- Donald Trump has lost the election
- Donald Trump has won. The GOP has retaken the House and kept the Senate.
- Donald Trump has won. The Dems have kept the house and the GOP has kept the Senate
- Donald Trump has won and the Dems have taken both houses of Congress.
Now lets build our Apocalyptic future history.