A federal judge appointed by President Donald Trump is refusing to rule on whether or not the president should be forced to hand his tax returns over to the House Ways and Means Committee, saying he will wait to see how other judges rule in similar cases.
According to The New Civil Rights Movement, Judge Trevor McFadden of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia was a volunteer on the Trump transition team and has also donated to the president’s campaign, which has some legal scholars wondering if McFadden should recuse himself completely from the case:
“(McFadden) announced he will hold up his ruling in a case brought by the House Ways and Means Committee against the U.S. Treasury Dept. The case involves gaining access to six years of Trump’s tax returns. The law clearly says the IRS ‘shall’ hand them over to Congress. The Trump administration says Congress has no right to investigate.”
Mike Scarcella, Senior Editor for Law.com, wrote an incredibly insightful piece on McFadden, and he noted that the judge does indeed have close ties to the Trump campaign team:
Judge Trevor McFadden is a former white-collar partner at a major US law firm who joined the bench in 2017. He earlier served as an unpaid volunteer on Trump’s presidential transition team https://t.co/kd0BDyC8iq
— Mike Scarcella (@MikeScarcella) January 14, 2020
And Cristian Farias of Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University said it certainly appears Judge McFadden is trying to protect Trump:
I get it that this judge is new and Trump-appointed, but if he wants the public to have confidence in his very slow performance, he should state his reasons in a court order that everyone can read.
Otherwise, people might get the impression he’s running interference for Trump. https://t.co/s1EUVfFmzw
— Cristian Farias (@cristianafarias) January 14, 2020
Jeff Hauser of the Revolving Door Project says he thinks McFadden should be impeached and removed from office:
There is essentially ZERO connection between an interpretation of the US Tax Code’s privacy provision and McGahn’s assertion of privilege.
Judge McFaddedn ought to be impeached in 2021. https://t.co/essAfImjUs
— Jeff Hauser (@jeffhauser) January 14, 2020
Why would a judge who has a case before him wait to issue a ruling until other judges weigh in on the same matter? If McFadden wants to avoid controversy or an appearance of impropriety, he should either recuse himself or explain the reason for his reticence in doing his job. Short of that, he needs to step down from the bench or be removed by Congress.
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