The Supreme Court agreed Friday to consider President Trump’s pleas to keep his tax and financial records secret, paving way for a historic legal case that could have major implications for the 2020 election.
The high court said it will begin hearing arguments in the high-stakes case in late March, with a final ruling poised for June. By the time the ruling comes in, the 2020 campaign will be in full swing, with the Democratic National Convention to pick Trump’s challenger just weeks away.
The Supreme Court case comprises three lower court challenges involving subpoenas from Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance and three House committees seeking years of Trump’s tax returns and bank records as part of investigations into allegations of possible fraud and other wrongdoing by the president.
None of cases involve subpoenas against Trump directly.
Rather, Vance and the congressional committees subpoenaed banks and accounting firms that had the sensitive records.
Trump filed several lawsuits to block those institutions from complying, and, so far, all lower courts have ruled against him.
The president’s appeal to the Supreme Court put those rulings on ice. Friday’s announcement means Trump will be able to remain in limbo until June.
Trump attorney Jay Sekulow said the president’s team was “pleased.”
“These cases raise significant constitutional issues,” Sekulow said in a statement. “We look forward to presenting our written and oral arguments.”
The Supreme Court is the last resort, and if it ultimately rules against Trump, the records that have been one of the best-kept secrets of his presidency will finally see the light of day.
The case is unprecedented and could leave a lasting legacy on the limits of executive power.
Trump became the first president in modern memory to refuse to release his tax returns for public scrutiny upon taking office, prompting intense criticism from Democrats who questioned what he was hiding.
Michael Cohen, Trump’s imprisoned former personal attorney, testified under oath before Congress earlier this year that the president’s tax returns would corroborate allegations that he committed fraud.
“(Trump) inflated his total assets when it served his purposes,” Cohen said in February, “and deflated his assets to reduce his real estate taxes.”