The Supreme Court Must End Congress's Attack on the Presidency
By Hessie Harris
According to The Washington Post (May 13, 2020), Congress’ alleged reason for seeking President Trump’s tax returns is that they have a responsibility to investigate potential wrongdoing and propose legislation to prevent it.
This is tantamount to saying that a person should be arrested and tried for a crime he might commit.
In the case of President Nixon, access to presidential records, in the form of tape recordings, was sought to determine if evidence existed of a specific crime. In this case, Congress wishes to have access to the president’s personal records in order to hunt for a possible crime or some other material to disclose that would cast the president in a negative light, hoping to challenge his fitness for office.
There is no justification for the disclosure that is being sought. It is just another disgraceful effort on the part of Congress to discredit the president and drive him from office.
There is no law to compel that disclosure. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has observed that previous presidents have voluntarily disclosed their tax returns. That may have been the custom. But only a law could authoritatively direct and/or proscribe those actions.
President George Washington, declaring that two terms were enough for any man to be president, declined to serve a third one. However, there was no law to prevent President Franklin Roosevelt from running for an unprecedented third and fourth terms. Today, the law prevents a president from serving more than two terms, or more than two terms and a portion of the term of his predecessor, should that prove necessary.
Attorney Patrick Strawbridge observed in the same Post article that the purpose in this instance is to “harass the president and undermine his ability to discharge his duties.” President Trump was harassed, spied upon and subject to attempts at sabotage by his opponents, the Democratic National Committee, and the highest levels of the previous administration when he was a candidate. That was followed by baseless investigations, within Congress and without. Then came the ultimate indignity of a politically based, fraudulent impeachment and the promise by members of Congress that after failing to drive him from office, they would seek to impeach him again and again on new charges.
This case before the Supreme Court is an effort to fulfill that promise. It is long past time for the witch hunt to end.
Hessie Harris is Co-chair of the Black Republicans of Montgomery County, a member of the Potomac Republican Women’s Club, the Chevy Chase Republican Women’s Club and Help Save Maryland.