The January 6th Committee won today at the Supreme Court. But more importantly, the American people scored a solid victory at the Court, a win democracy truly required.
The Supreme Court soundly rejected Donald Trump’s request to block the release of some of his White House records to the congressional investigators seeking insight into the deadly and violent insurrection at the nation’s Capitol.
The order turned aside Trump’s request to block the record’s release while the case continues through the courts regarding his assertion of executive privilege. It means there is no legal obstacle to the release of the materials from the National Archives, and Trump’s lawyers have argued that would make the case moot.
There is one part to this story that I would have much enjoyed better understanding. The Court’s order did not provide insight into the reasoning that put Trump in his place. Only Justice Clarence Thomas made note of his dissent, but he did not offer any elaboration into this thought process. Nothing untoward should be taken from these outcomes as this was an emergency request that the Court processed.
But this does leave me with perhaps an esoteric question tonight. Is Justice Thomas the ultimate Federalist or what? With his siding with the idea that the Executive, even out of office(!), has the power to block Congressional oversight is simply more than I would argue, the Founders had in mind.
This issue, in my mind, was never and should have never become partisan. I firmly believe that the question for the Court was a critical one as it framed a (small d) democratic process question of great merit.
Weeks ago I had read Judge Patricia A. Millet; writing for a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on this case and pulled it up again tonight. I offer what she said in light of Thomas’ action.
She wrote, “. . . .Under our Constitution, we have one president at a time.”
How then would a former president have the power of such a privilege as Trump asserted? Plainly put, there is no such power or right.
The Court ruled today correctly for the direct issue at hand, but also, and perhaps even more importantly, for the larger issue at hand, too.
And so it goes.