Congress/Judiciary to POTUS: What Bill of Rights?

 

Two Obama-appointed judges have upheld the “most invasive Congressional subpoenas for private financial information in American history.” The judges refused to grant a stay for appeal, so banks have turned over to the US Congress financial records of private citizen Donald Trump (and, by extension, his family) before he became President. Democrats have made a power play that boggles the mind in its violation of some of the most basic freedoms granted US citizens in the Bill of Rights.

Attorney Robert Barnes penned a good brief, cogent summary of how and why the judges’ decisions were wrong. Barnes notes that Congress’ investigative subpoena power in the past has been “so sparingly employed,” the Supreme Court had “few cases” to review its use for most of our history (Watkins v. United States, 354 U.S. 178, 193 [1957]). There’s some strong language in previous decisions, however, which comes down heavily on the side of upholding citizens’ rights in face of Congressional subpoena power that stood out to me:

“Investigations conducted solely for the personal aggrandizement of the investigators or to punish those investigated are indefensible.” Watkins v. United States, 354 U.S. 178, 186 (1957)

The Court early on rejected the power of Congress to inquire into the private affairs of a famous company connected to politics. Kilbourn v. Thompson, 103 U.S. 168 (1881).

“a general inquiry designed to ascertain plaintiff’s personal wealth or general net worth is not pertinent to the investigation and plaintiffs are constitutionally protected from disclosure of this type of information.” Bergman v. Senate Special Committee on Aging, 389 F.Supp. 1127, 1130 (S.D.N.Y. 1975).

A district court (SDNY) held that purely personal records could not be subpoenaed by Congress (emphases in this paragraph mine), stating “the request for these documents by the Subcommittee amounts to unauthorized action without valid legislative justification in violation of certain of their constitutional rights.” Bergman v. Senate Special Committee on Aging, 389 F.Supp. 1127, 1130 (S.D.N.Y. 1975).

To quote Robert Barnes, “There is literally no precedent for the scope of the subpoenas these two Obama-appointed Judges approved.” Their refusal to stay their judgment to allow for appeal points to partisanship given they’ve jumped the shark on some pretty clear legal precedent. And if they do not know the legal precedents, they surely cannot be blind to have noticed Democrats’ repeated calls for impeachment and fulsome punitive threats/actions against the current POTUS and members of his administration. So much for Chief Justice Roberts’ claim to a non-partisan judiciary: “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges.”

Democrats are shredding precedent and US history all over the place to unseat Donald Trump. New York legislature has recently amended their laws regarding double jeopardy and tax disclosure (aimed at Trump but affecting all New Yorkers), and a few other states are attempting to change their electoral college allocation.

It will be interesting to watch if Mitt Romney, Justin Amash, or any of the Trump critics who vocalize their opposition as based on principle speak to this trampling of our Constitution. With this forced seizure of personal financial records, we have not only the infringement of citizen Trump’s civil liberties, but also an overreach by two of the three branches of the federal government.

Then there’s the rest of the world. Since the election of Donald Trump and the positions/policies he’s taken, citizens in other Western countries have been emboldened to vote decisively in ways that tell the Left/globalist leaning politicians “you’ve gone too far.” He’s currently doing battle with the mercantile pirate China pretty much on behalf of the free world. What message does it send that the Left in America has gone so far as to trash a President’s freedoms despite the laws/rights Americans supposedly hold so dear?

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There are 14 comments.

  1. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Excellent post, Mim. This statement was especially telling:

    Mim526: So much for Chief Justice Roberts’ claim to a non-partisan judiciary: “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges.”

     

    • #1
    • May 23, 2019, at 11:14 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  2. Rodin Member

    I cannot express the feelings this generates in me. I cry for our country, our constitution, and our liberty. 

    • #2
    • May 23, 2019, at 11:25 AM PDT
    • 9 likes
  3. ctlaw Coolidge

    Mim526: Their refusal to stay their judgment to allow for appeal points to partisanship given they’ve jumped the shark on some pretty clear legal precedent.

    That’s chapter 8639 in my book of everything I learned in law school has been crapped upon since Obama became president.

    Time to go scortched earth. The Senate should start with subpoenaing records of Democrats. Does anyone think Pelosi’s husband’s business transactions are any cleaner than Trump’s? How about Obama’s mother’s passport records? Obama’s college and law school applications?

    • #3
    • May 23, 2019, at 11:37 AM PDT
    • 15 likes
  4. Mim526 Member
    Mim526 Post author

    ctlaw (View Comment):

    Mim526: Their refusal to stay their judgment to allow for appeal points to partisanship given they’ve jumped the shark on some pretty clear legal precedent.

    That’s chapter 8639 in my book of everything I learned in law school has been crapped upon since Obama became president.

    Time to go scortched earth. The Senate should start with subpoenaing records of Democrats. Does anyone think Pelosi’s husband’s business transactions are any cleaner than Trump’s? How about Obama’s mother’s passport records? Obama’s college and law school applications?

    I understand the sentiment. Believe me, I. DO.

    But I think it’s time to go Trump…as in be brutally honest about what’s going on, including in our everyday lives. Every American who recognizes what this is should be flooding their members of Congress with complaints about their lack of fortitude in denouncing this act by the Democrat-controlled House. And it wouldn’t hurt to express to the SCOTUS displeasure with the federal judicial overreach here.

    I say that because my first reaction upon hearing this was the same as @rodin: to cry. These people care only about the winning, the controlling. Even some conservatives who dislike Trump intensely have been convinced that he is so bad, circumventing procedure and protocol…and now the law…is justified. I don’t want to be convinced that the Left is so bad we who love what our Constitution stands for have to throw it away.

    I still have faith in ordinary Americans…that they will see and know what is happening and rue the day some of them ever gave power to the schmucks who are flushing it all down the drain just to Get Trump. Personally, I think this weaponization of govt against those who disagree/oppose has been going on since Barack Obama became POTUS; it’s just in the open now. We’ll have a choice to make soon enough. Wouldn’t bother me one bit to see every Democrat save those in East/West coast states that have already made their choice get booted out of office.

    • #4
    • May 23, 2019, at 12:22 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  5. Rodin Member

    Mim526 (View Comment):
    I still have faith in ordinary Americans…

    I have faith in ordinary Americans…with guns. The Democrats have made such a lurch into an inverted constitution that one really has to wonder what will happen if they regain the White House, Senate and maintain control of the House?

    • #5
    • May 23, 2019, at 12:31 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  6. Aaron Miller Member

    When judges blatantly and grossly overstep their authority and enact partisan lawfare, that is grounds to impeach them. Republicans must do more than complain to cameras.

    • #6
    • May 23, 2019, at 12:54 PM PDT
    • 12 likes
  7. Fake John/Jane Galt Thatcher

    If the GOP had any sort of back bone they would use these same rulings against the Dems. Have the senate ask for the same info from Democrat leaders. They want games, lets play games.

    • #7
    • May 23, 2019, at 12:59 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  8. Slow on the uptake Thatcher

    It hardly seems likely that they can find NOTHING in the records of any given very wealthy person to point at as justification for their vilification and setting aside basic and essential rights that not so long ago they would trumpet. (Is the 5th Amendment dead? The right to privacy?

    Nevertheless, for America’s sake in this case I would wish the man to be just squeaky clean: Any least questionable thing – much less any major issue – will be trumpeted to the skies as legitimate justification for their actions.

    Insofar as the proposal to get even by subpoenaing the records of Pelosi, Waters, et.al., seems to me there was justification for that long, long ago – but who will publish what is revealed? Not the NYT! Not CNN! 

     

    • #8
    • May 23, 2019, at 4:00 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  9. Fake John/Jane Galt Thatcher

    Slow on the uptake (View Comment):

    It hardly seems likely that they can find NOTHING in the records of any given very wealthy person to point at as justification for their vilification and setting aside basic and essential rights that not so long ago they would trumpet. (Is the 5th Amendment dead? The right to privacy?

    Nevertheless, for America’s sake in this case I would wish the man to be just squeaky clean: Any least questionable thing – much less any major issue – will be trumpeted to the skies as legitimate justification for their actions.

    Insofar as the proposal to get even by subpoenaing the records of Pelosi, Waters, et.al., seems to me there was justification for that long, long ago – but who will publish what is revealed? Not the NYT! Not CNN!

     

    Twitter.

    • #9
    • May 23, 2019, at 5:23 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  10. EtCarter Listener

    Personally, from the first sentence in your final paragraph until the final period I think you revealed one of the most glaring realities that is completely incongruous with mass-media reporting in the U.S.

    Thank you for sharing!

    • #10
    • May 23, 2019, at 7:45 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  11. MarciN Member

    Bob Dole’s eulogy for Richard Nixon is a speech for the ages, and it is particularly poignant right now. I would especially enjoy hearing Donald Trump quote Nixon’s famous line: “I just get up every morning to confound my enemies.” :-)

    • #11
    • May 23, 2019, at 8:16 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  12. MarciN Member
    • #12
    • May 23, 2019, at 8:17 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  13. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    ctlaw (View Comment):
    The Senate should start with subpoenaing records of Democrats. Does anyone think Pelosi’s husband’s business transactions are any cleaner than Trump’s?

    This and the records of Biden and the Obama administration as related to his son’s good fortune in Ukrainian business or government ventures. Since it is Maxine Waters who chairs the committee with which Wells Fargo has eagerly collaborated, there should be a serious probe of her improbable wealth, and of every Wells Fargo executive and board member’s conduct.

    The Democrats called Chicago rules, now Make. Them. Own. It.

    • #13
    • May 25, 2019, at 6:54 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  14. Unsk Member

    Very late to the Party. I couldn’t log on for four days.

    I am very troubled there are only 13 comments on this very important post. The Democrats, if successful in the subpoena scam of Trump’s tax records, will have created a major Constitutional crisis. This is an unbelievably big deal.

    I am sympathetic with Fake John’s idea of subpoenaing the records of the Democrats, but really I think the Judge should be charged with a serious civil rights abuse crime. There is simply no legal reason to subpoena Trump’s tax records as a private person. None whatsoever. This Judge’s criminal conduct is very damaging to our Rule of Law and to our Republic. I know Judges are protected but this abuse is way over the top. This new attack on civil liberties needs to be shut down forcefully and immediately, obliterating those who perpetuated it in the process, or this line of attack will explode into a very ugly situation and used almost without any cause against anyone who dares to confront the Left.

    • #14
    • May 26, 2019, at 4:10 PM PDT
    • 5 likes