US Supreme Court temporarily blocks release of Donald Trump tax returns

Matter won't be revisited by Republican-led court until after the midterm elections

The nine-person Supreme Court is controlled by six conservative justices, including three whom Mr Trump appointed. AFP
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US Chief Justice John Roberts on Tuesday temporarily blocked a US House of Representatives committee from gaining access to former president Donald Trump's tax returns, effectively pausing the fight over a request from lawmakers that he claims is politically motivated.

The order maintains the status quo, while the Supreme Court assesses Mr Trump's emergency request, filed on Monday, to block a lower court ruling that upheld the House panel's request for the tax materials as a justified part of its legislative work, while his attorneys prepare an appeal.

Mr Roberts ordered the Democratic-led House Ways and Means Committee to respond to Mr Trump's bid by November 10.

That is two days after the US midterm elections in which Mr Trump's fellow Republicans are seeking to regain control of Congress.

The legal fight has lingered since 2019, when the committee sued Mr Trump to force disclosure of the tax returns.

Mr Trump was the first president in four decades not to release his tax returns as he aimed to keep secret the details of his claimed wealth and the activities of his company, the Trump Organisation.

The nine-person Supreme Court is controlled by six conservative justices, including three whom Mr Trump appointed.

House Democrats have said they need Mr Trump's tax returns to see if the IRS is properly auditing presidential returns and to assess whether new legislation is needed.

US District Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump appointee, sided with Congress in December 2021 and threw out the case, finding that the committee holds broad authority over a former president's tax returns.

Mr Trump is "wrong on the law," Mr McFadden wrote in his ruling.

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in August also ruled against Mr Trump, concluding that "every president takes office knowing that he will be subject to the same laws as all other citizens upon leaving office."

- Reuters contributed to this report

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Updated: November 02, 2022, 5:51 AM
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