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House Dems ask Supreme Court to speed up Trump financial docs cases

Because the House term expires Jan. 3, the lawmakers' ability to continue their legal fight and pass legislation "diminishes by the day," they wrote.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, left, Associate Justice Elena Kagan, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch and Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, right before President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in the House Chamber on Capitol Hill on Feb. 4, 2020.
Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, left, Associate Justice Elena Kagan, Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch and Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, right before President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in the House Chamber on Capitol Hill on Feb. 4, 2020.Leah Millis / Pool via AP

House Democrats urged the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday to speed up the process for getting the legal battle over President Donald Trump's business records back into the lower courts.

The justices ruled last week that the president did not have an absolute right to refuse to comply with legitimate congressional subpoenas for documents. But they also said Congress does not have unlimited authority to seek materials from a president because its demands must be connected to a legitimate legislative purpose.

Supreme Court decisions ordinarily do not have legal effect until 25 days after the rulings are issued. In the Trump cases, that would be Aug. 3. But the three committees that sought Trump's taxes and other records told the court that its investigations "are ongoing, remain urgent, and have been impeded by the lack of finality in these litigations, which were initiated in April 2019."

Given that the term of the current House expires Jan. 3, the committees said their ability to continue the legal fight, "then obtain and review the subpoenaed documents, evaluate their significance to potential or pending legislation, draft such legislation or amendments, and shepherd that legislation through the bicameral process diminishes by the day."

Speeding up the Supreme Court's final steps would move things along quickly in the lower courts," the lawmakers wrote, "so that the committees may obtain the materials necessary to undertake any needed legislative reforms as quickly as possible to address, among other issues, conflicts of interest that threaten to undermine the presidency, money-laundering and unsafe lending practices, and foreign interference in U.S. elections and any other ongoing threats to national security arising from President Trump's foreign financial entanglements."

Chief Justice John Roberts ordered Trump's lawyers to respond by Thursday afternoon.