Trump’s Bad Day in Court

The conservative assault on the federal courts has been very substantial during the first two years of Trump’s presidency but things have still not broken irrevocably. On Friday, the Supreme Court declined to intervene on the administration’s behalf to stop a case asking Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross why he wants to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census questionnaire. The administration also lost a bid to get a stay on complying with disclosure requirements in the Emoluments case brought by the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia. The best part about the latter ruling is that involves one my favorite things, which is when judges cite the president’s own words and actions while slapping down his attorneys.

The Justice Department asked for the judge’s permission to appeal his rulings and to delay discovery in the meantime. But Judge Messitte said the department could follow the typical legal process and appeal when the case is over.

“If the president is permitted to appeal the court’s decisions in piecemeal fashion, ultimate resolution of the case could be delayed significantly, perhaps for years,” he wrote. “That, as a matter of justice, cannot be countenanced.”

The judge also dismissed the president’s argument that discovery would be unduly burdensome, noting that Mr. Trump had threatened to sue his former campaign chief and others. “The president himself appears to have had little reluctance to pursue personal litigation despite the supposed distractions it imposes upon his office,” he wrote.

For whatever reason, I find that sidesplittingly funny.

Naturally, the whole ball game in the Emoluments suit is about getting discovery. People deserve to know who is staying at Trump’s hotel while doing business at the White House, and they also need to see his tax returns. To avoid these disclosures, the Trump administration (using the resources of the Justice Department) will try to short-circuit the process by asking for an expedited appeal, perhaps directly to the Gorsuch-Kavanaugh Supreme Court. That might not sound very hopeful for the plaintiffs, but the Gorsuch-Kavanaugh Supreme Court just neglected to shield Wilbur Ross, so you never know, right?

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