Trump v. Vance is a 7-2 decision by CJ Roberts. As many of us argued, Article II and the Supremacy Clause do not contain an exclusion or higher standard for state criminal subpoenas for a sitting President.
"A President may avail himself of the same protections available to every other citizen, including the right to challenge the subpoena on any grounds permitted by state law, which usually include bad faith and undue burden or breadth."
As I argued in the past, the President helped to create more binding precedent against future presidents with extreme constitutional claims. This bought time for Trump but at the cost of countervailing precedent. It will push the matter beyond the election but at a high cost.
There is no spin possible. This is a major and embarrassing defeat for the President who, against the advice of many of us, advanced an unsustainable claim of absolute privilege.
Mazars looks like a win for Trump. Roberts writes another 7-2 (something of a trend in these final decisions). While the Court does not sign off on the Trump demands, it vacates the lower court decision.
... "The courts below did not take adequate account of the significant separation of powers concerns implicated by congressional subpoenas for the President's information."
Where Trump went too far in Trump v. Vance, the Congress may have been equally extreme in its demands here.
The Dem House "extreme"? You're joking, right?
... Mazars finds that the lower courts were too dismissive of valid concerns over the possible intrusion of such congressional into executive areas. This will, like the New York case, go back to lower courts. This means that the cans get kicked down the road past the election.
An interesting twist will be the new Congress in January. These subpoenas will effectively die with the current Congress. That would require the district court to move with considerable dispatch if it will beat the clock on the expiration. That would be challenging.
...You could end up with undead subpoenas, alive only for the dwindling remainder of the congressional term but dead in terms of any schedule that includes trial practice and appeals. As I argued from the outset, I think Congress has the better argument but the worst schedule.
UPDATE: Red State offers a more sanguine view than Turley: SCOTUS Rules Against Trump Over Financial Records, But the President Walks Away the Winner. For example, they argue that CJ Roberts offers a road map for Trump to renew his challenge of the subpoena in New York:
What you are seeing here is an invitation by Roberts for the Trump administration to re-challenge the subpoena on different grounds. Though they may also lose that fight in the end, it will not be a fight decided before the election. In other words, Trump has successfully shelved this issue until it will no longer matter politically.
And, of course, the decision in the Mazars case re Congressional subpoenas is no more encouraging.
ADDENDUM: By the way, regarding all things legal pertaining to Trump, Turley also has an interesting blog out that examines the possibility that Donald Trump may have an actionable case of slander against Mary Trump.
Here's how things stand:
According to Mary Trump, Trump’s friend Joe Shapiro took the SAT for him:
“Donald worried that his grade point average, which put him far from the top of the class, would scuttle his efforts to get accepted. To hedge his bets he enlisted Joe Shapiro, a smart kid with a reputation for being a good test taker, to take his SATs for him. That was much easier to pull off in the days before photo IDs and computerized records. Donald, who never lacked for funds, paid his buddy well.”
The problem with this account is that Shapiro, who died of cancer in 1999, met Trump at the University of Pennsylvania, which (if true) would make it a bit difficult for him to have cheated on the test for him. His widow, former tennis champion Pam Shriver, was outraged by the allegation against her late husband who she said was known as a person of the highest integrity.
Unless she is lying (which I have no reason to believe), that brings us to the torts question. Such an act would dishonest and has recently been prosecuted as a criminal matter in the infamous college bribery scandal which involved fraudulent test taking. If made falsely, it can be a matter of defamation. ...
Turley then raises the problem that Shapiro is dead:
The problem is that Joe Shapiro is dead. As we have previously discussed with regard to an infamous column by the Toronto Star, the common law rule is that “you cannot defame the dead,” which of course means in practical terms that you can defame the dead. Once again, I have long been a critic of that rule, here. Publishers and movie producers often wait for figures to die to have full license to defame them with no recourse to the family.
On the other hand, Donald Trump is very much alive, and as litigious as ever. Turley goes through all the ins and outs. Turley admits that these cases are always difficult, but believes that Trump has a compelling case. What he'd really like to see is this:
[Trump] would have to prove that his niece had “actual malice” where she had actual knowledge of the falsity of a statement or showed reckless disregard whether it was true or false. The failure to confirm these facts of when the two men first met would be a compelling claim despite the high burden created by the Supreme Court.
This is why the story is so important for reforming this rule. If President Trump were to sue, Shriver could join in the action and separately challenge the common law rule. We could then finally have a substantive debate over the rule that you cannot defame the dead.
Highly recommended for a fun legal read.