Nancy Pelosi suffered a huge and “unprecedented” loss today at the hands of the DC Circuit Court regarding her right to subpoena Trump officials. Pelosi was furious and issued a statement:
“The same three-judge divided D.C. Circuit panel that had wrongly found that the House lacked standing – a ruling reversed by the full D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals – today issued another decision that is wrong as a matter of law.
Its ruling is fundamentally at odds not only with the earlier en banc decision in McGahn, but with Supreme Court precedent. The panel’s decision seeks to establish, as the dissent notes, ‘a view of Presidential power expressly rejected by the Supreme Court.
If allowed to stand, this wrong-headed Court of Appeals panel ruling threatens to strike a grave blow to one of the most fundamental Constitutional roles of the Congress: to conduct oversight on behalf of the American people, including by issuing our lawful and legitimate subpoenas. The ruling represents a flawed judicial attack on the entire House of Representatives; in the past, both Republicans and Democrats have successfully sought to enforce House subpoenas in court.
This unprecedented ruling again represents a direct challenge to our Constitution’s system of checks and balances and therefore to our very Democracy, particularly in light of this Administration’s blanket defiance and obstruction of Congress’s constitutional legislative oversight authority.
The House will immediately pursue an en banc rehearing of this decision.”
A divided federal appeals court panel dealt a severe blow to the U.S. House of Representatives’ investigative power Monday, ruling that the House can’t go to court to enforce subpoenas because there is no statute giving that chamber the authority to do so.
The 2-1 ruling marked the second time a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals panel essentially voided a subpoena the House issued last year to Donald McGahn demanding the former White House counsel testify about his dealings with President Donald Trump related to the investigation into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
If the decision stands, it could cripple the House’s ability to demand information from sources unwilling to give it up readily. That would upend decades of congressional oversight and investigations and could snuff out several legal fights pending in Washington over House subpoenas, including one involving Trump’s financial records and another involving a demand for records about the administration’s effort to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
The panel majority said Congress is free to pass a law making House subpoenas enforceable, but the courts can’t create a legal mechanism to mandate compliance in the meantime. The House is likely to ask the full bench of the appeals court to take up the question.
Today’s unprecedented ruling by a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals panel is a challenge to our system of checks & balances, and is at odds with Supreme Court precedent. The House will immediately pursue an en banc rehearing of this decision. https://t.co/oNqII9mYPx
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) August 31, 2020