23 May 2020

The Returns

Last week, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in three different cases, all dealing with Donald Trump and his attempt to hide his tax returns from any sort of judicial or legislative review.

In response, the New York Times published a biting editorial (link here) titled "Remember When Trump Said He’d Be Happy to Share His Tax Returns?" and a secondary title of "In a bid to keep his tax and financial records secret, the President’s lawyers tell the justices that he is beyond the reach of Congress and prosecutors."

Presidents Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon tried variations of the latter to keep from having to respond to court orders. Both lost in cases where the Supreme Court ruled unanimously against them.

If the oral arguments are any guide, a unanimous ruling against Trump may not be in the cards (details here). Then again, predicting court decisions based on oral arguments can often be an exercise in futility.

The end result may be that neither side gets what they want. Ultimately, the goal is to let the public know what is in Trump's tax returns. Who knows if that will happen before this year's election.

The fact that Trump has so steadfastly tried to hide his returns, after promising repeatedly to release them, one of his biggest lies, is an issue that should be front and center in the 2020 campaign. No court can rule that out of consideration by voters.

It seems all but certain that Trump is hiding embarrassing or compromising facts in his returns. What are they? That doubt should be in every citizen's mind when he or she votes in November. Hopefully, Trump's opponents will make this a major issue in the 2020 campaign, because it should be.

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