During oral arguments Tuesday morning, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg made it clear that she isn’t buying arguments from attorneys representing President Donald Trump which suggest that Trump doesn’t have to hand his tax returns over to Congress as part of their oversight, which is clearly mandated in the Constitution.
The case of Trump v. Mazars USA, LLP, was before the high court, and solicitor general Jeffrey Wall of the Justice Department insisted that Congress cannot subpoena the president’s tax records unless they have a clear legislative purpose.
That was all Ginsburg needed to destroy Wall’s specious assertion. She told him:
“The purpose of investigation is to frame the legislation. You don’t have the legislation in mind. You want to explore what is the problem, what legislative change and reduce or eliminate the problem. For example, the Ethics in Government Act, Congress may decide that it needs to beef up that legislation. It may also decide that, for financial disclosure purposes, there should be disclosure of tax returns, so those are legislative purposes, investigate to see if you need legislation of that sort.”
And Ginsburg was far from finished giving Wall a tutorial on Constitutional law, noting that the DOJ was holding the U.S. Congress to a lower standard than it does the typical cop on the beat:
“To impugn Congress’s motive, and even the policeman on the beat, if he stops a car and gives a reason that the car went through a stop sign, you don’t allow an investigation into what the subjective motive really was. Here you are distrusting Congress more than the cop on the beat.”
Desperately trying to regain his footing, Wall responded:
“Because of the dangers of harassing and distracting and undermining the president, and that is a common theme that runs through the court cases, that the president has some measure of protection because you cannot proceed against the president as against an ordinary litigant. I’m saying Congress is not met that standard here.”
Once more, Ginsburg got the last word and the better of the debate, concluding:
“How did that work out in the Paula Jones case?”
Game, set, and match, Notorious RBG!
Here’s audio of the dust-up between Justice Ginsburg and Wall:
Featured Image Via NBC News