Legal experts are scratching their heads after a federal judge appointed by President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday he is delaying handing down his decision in a Trump tax returns case until other federal judges hand down their decisions in other Trump cases. That judge is a former Trump transition team volunteer and has donated to the Trump campaign.
District Judge Trevor McFadden of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia announced he will hold up his ruling in a case brought by the House Ways and Means Committee against the U.S. Treasury Dept. The case involves gaining access to six years of Trump’s tax returns. The law clearly says the IRS “shall” hand them over to Congress. The Trump administration says Congress has no right to investigate.
Trump tax returns case: US District Judge Trevor McFadden says today he will not rule on House Ways & Means lawsuit until after DC Circuit ruling in Donald McGahn subpoena case. Order: pic.twitter.com/LDDMio4Imc
— Mike Scarcella (@MikeScarcella) January 14, 2020
Back in August Judge McFadden pushed back against House Democrats, denying “their request to both expedite consideration of the case and to decide on its merits without holding a trial,” Politico had reported.
Last year over a separate case former Democratic governor and presidential candidate Howard Dean issued a strong rebuke of Judge McFadden:
Apparently the judge, Trevor McFadden, who ruled that trump could not be sued by House Dems over his executive order to fund his wall without congressional approval was a trump donor. Perhaps Justice Roberts would like to explain again how the American judiciary is not corrupt
— Howard Dean (@GovHowardDean) June 4, 2019
Law.com Senior editor Mike Scarcella offers this insight into why McFadden possibly might be staying his ruling: the judge “served as an unpaid volunteer on Trump’s presidential transition team.”
Judge Trevor McFadden is a former white-collar partner at a major US law firm who joined the bench in 2017. He earlier served as an unpaid volunteer on Trump’s presidential transition team https://t.co/kd0BDyC8iq
— Mike Scarcella (@MikeScarcella) January 14, 2020
Meanwhile, legal experts are perplexed.
Here’s a writer in residence for the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University:
I get it that this judge is new and Trump-appointed, but if he wants the public to have confidence in his very slow performance, he should state his reasons in a court order that everyone can read.
Otherwise, people might get the impression he’s running interference for Trump. https://t.co/s1EUVfFmzw
— Cristian Farias (@cristianafarias) January 14, 2020
Exec. Editor of legal website Above the Law:
Trump judge trying to look for a way to prop up Trump’s terrible arguments without looking like he’s a Trump judge. https://t.co/fzJ0HZue0T
— Elie Mystal (@ElieNYC) January 14, 2020
National Law Journal reporter covering the DC courts and the legal side of politics:
McFadden scheduled a 3 pm phone conference on this today at 2:54 pm, per court alerts. Why did he suddenly get spooked about this case, especially since he heard oral arguments in November? https://t.co/lfY2aj70x7
— Jacqueline Thomsen (@jacq_thomsen) January 14, 2020
There is essentially ZERO connection between an interpretation of the US Tax Code’s privacy provision and McGahn’s assertion of privilege.
Judge McFaddedn ought to be impeached in 2021. https://t.co/essAfImjUs
— Jeff Hauser (@jeffhauser) January 14, 2020
Image via Wikimedia
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