April 06, 2020
In a significant U.S. Supreme Court case regarding Congress’s authority to subpoena the President’s personal financial records, a team of Weil attorneys, representing a group of constitutional law scholars as amici curiae, filed a brief in support of Congress on March 4, 2020. This consolidated case arises out of subpoenas served by three House of Representatives committees seeking, among other things, financial records related to President Trump as well as his family members and business entities (the Petitioners). The Petitioners challenged these subpoenas as exceeding Congress’s constitutional powers. After the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the D.C. and Second Circuits both upheld the congressional subpoenas, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari.
The law professors’ brief argues that congressional oversight of the Executive branch is a valid legislative function that fulfills a critical role in the government’s checks and balances. In particular, oversight “provides the public with information about the conduct of Executive officers,” “informs Congress itself about Executive abuses” so it can decide whether or how to respond, and “acts as a powerful deterrent” against corruption. The law professors observe that the subpoenas at issue serve those purposes, and the subpoenas do not violate the separation of powers because they seek non-official and non-privileged documents from third-party institutions and do not impair the President’s ability to fulfill his constitutional duties. The Supreme Court will hear argument on a date to be determined.
The Weil team includes Appellate practice Co-Heads Zack Tripp and Gregory Silbert, as well as associates Corey Brady, Lauren Wands and Nathalie Sosa. Weil represents Professors Jessica Bulman-Pozen, Martin S. Lederman, William P. Marshall, Gillian Metzger, Peter M. Shane and David A. Strauss.
Mr. Tripp participated in a “Bloomberg Law Cases and Controversies” podcast focusing on high-profile Supreme Court cases involving attempts by Congress and state prosecutors to access the president’s financial records. Listen to the podcast here.
View the amicus brief here.