In an emergency application filed on Monday to Chief Justice John Roberts, who is responsible for such requests for the D.C. Circuit, Mr. Trump’s lawyers asked the court to issue an interim order known as a stay by Wednesday. Such an order would block the Democratic-controlled House Ways and Means Committee from accessing the tax documents until further legal briefs are filed before the justices.
A stay would also ensure that the court can consider the “unprecedented separation-of-powers issues” raised by the case, Mr. Trump’s lawyers said in their emergency application.
The tax records are set to be turned over to the Ways and Means Committee this week if the court doesn’t act. It would take additional action by the committee to publicly release any of the documents or information from them.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on Thursday declined to reconsider a three-judge panel’s ruling from August that said the House Ways and Means Committee could obtain the tax returns.
The appeals court’s decision not to reconsider its ruling means the tax returns will be disclosed if the Supreme Court does not immediately intervene.
Under federal law, tax returns are kept confidential but there are some exceptions, including one that allows the chairman of the committee to request them.
The legal battle began in April 2019, when Rep. Richard Neal, D-Mass., the chairman of the committee, asked for Trump’s returns and those of related business entities. He said he sought the information as part of the committee’s inquiries into whether tax law concerning presidents should be amended.