Trump v. Vance

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: December 13, 2019
  • Case #: 19-635
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: 941 F3d 631 (2d Cir 2019)

Whether a grand jury subpoena on accountants that hold a president’s personal records violates Article II and the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

Respondent served a grand jury subpoena on President Trump’s accounting firm as part of an investigation into potential criminal violations of state law. In part, the subpoena demanded production of President Trump’s tax returns. President Trump filed a federal action asserting immunity under Article II and the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. The action also sought a permanent injunction prohibiting enforcement of the subpoena until the President leaves office. The district court denied the request for injunctive relief and dismissed the complaint, reasoning that it must abstain from exercising jurisdiction under Supreme Court precedent. On appeal, the Second Circuit ruled against President Trump’s immunity argument, reasoning that the materials sought in the subpoena did not implicate executive privilege because the subpoena sought information from a third party relating to businesses President Trump owns in his capacity as a private citizen. President Trump now argues to the Supreme Court that allowing a prosecutor to investigate a sitting President through a criminal investigation circumvents the Constitution’s rules for impeachment, because Article II requires that impeachment and removal from office precede any form of criminal process against a sitting President. In addition, President Trump argues that the Second Circuit’s decision violates the Supremacy Clause by making the federal government subservient to the power of states where the Supremacy Clause exists to ensure that states cannot defeat the legitimate operations of the federal government.

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