House Democrats are jubilant because last week, they won two court victories in their ongoing battle to get President Donald Trump's tax returns and decades of his personal and business banking records.
But their glee won't last long. These federal district court rulings are likely to be overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. Trump will prevail, along with taxpayer privacy and political fair play.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's history as a defender of taxpayer privacy adds to the favorable odds that Trump will win in the high court. In 1986, as an appeals court judge, Ginsburg expressed her appreciation that "taxpayer confidentiality must be jealously guarded." She stressed the importance of protecting "sensitive or otherwise personal information" in tax returns, saying privacy is "fundamental."
The House can legitimately demand information -- even a president's tax returns -- if it's needed to formulate legislation. But House Democrats could care less about legislating. They're on a fishing expedition, looking for failed deals, tax write-offs, and anything else they can use to smear Trump before the 2020 election.
The two judges, both Obama appointees, who upheld the document demands said it isn't the court's job to take into account the Democrats' "ulterior motives" or "political considerations." They're wrong. Intent matters in the law. At the height of the shameful McCarthy era, the Supreme Court smacked down the House Un-American Activities Committee for trying to expose an individual's private affairs with no other purpose than to destroy him.
Yet, now House Democrats are repeating those slimy tactics.
Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has concocted a phony legislative rationale for demanding Trump's tax returns. Neal claims his committee wants to make sure the IRS is thoroughly auditing Trump, as it's supposed to audit every president while in office. Neal's pretext is an obvious lie. Otherwise, he would demand only Trump's tax returns as president, not six years' worth.
Another House Democrat, Maxine Waters, D-Calif., who is chairwoman of the Financial Services Committee, makes no bones about her intentions. "Impeach Trump" are the two words that issue from her mouth whenever she's at a podium or in front of a television camera. Her committee is demanding decades' worth of banking records, including every single check and credit card swipe, by Trump and his children for many years before he became president.
Zealous anti-Trump Democrat and Oversight Committee chair Rep. Elijah Cummings subpoenaed Trump's accountants for tax records. No surprise there.
What is shocking is the gibberish that U.S. District Court Judge Amit Mehta offered in upholding Cummings' subpoenas. Mehta said if Congress can impeach the president, it must have the "the power to investigate him for unlawful conduct." Judge Mehta needs a refresher course. The Supreme Court has ruled repeatedly that Congress's investigatory powers are limited to lawmaking, not law enforcement. Count on the Justices to rule that way again.
House Dems seem hell-bent on ignoring the Constitution. Crazed by Trump's 2016 election, they are single-minded in their determination to thwart his presidency, instead of fulfilling their role, which is to legislate. The deluge of subpoenas and ongoing investigations by the House Democrats is an attack on our constitutional system and an insult to the public. We've got a country to run, but these fanatical anti-Trump Dems would rather sabotage the president.
Albany Democrats are off their rockers, too. Last Wednesday, they passed a bill to hand over the state tax filings of President Trump -- a New York resident -- to the congressional committees seeking them.
An early version of the legislation named only Trump -- an obvious violation of the U.S. Constitution's Article I, Section 9 -- which prohibits any law intended to target one individual. So the Dems tacked on a few other officeholders. Even so, this venomous law won't survive a constitutional challenge.
The New York bill shows how low Albany Democrats will stoop to do the party's dirty work. State Senate Republican Leader John Flanagan said the bill reflected the Democrats' "utterly displaced priorities." Add a lack of respect for taxpayer privacy and the Constitution -- the same sick attitude afflicting Dems in D.C.
Betsy McCaughey is a former lieutenant governor of New York State. Contact her at email@example.com.