President Donald Trump’s tax returns may be safe for now as the Supreme Court temporarily blocked an order from House Democrats to turn the files over.
Chief Justice John Roberts signed the temporary stay order, and the House Committee on Oversight and Reform must respond to the order by Thursday. Roberts’ order Monday contains no hint about what the court ultimately will do regarding the much sought-after tax returns.
The Democrat-controlled House Oversight Committee says it needs Trump’s returns so it can consider an update to its legislation concerning ethics in government.
The court’s hold could last a matter of days or weeks, if the court is willing to let an appeals court ruling in favor of the House remain in place without granting full review of the case. But the delay could extend for months if the justices decide they need to hear arguments and issue a written opinion.
Earlier Monday, the House said it would agree to a brief halt for the orderly filing of legal briefs but it opposes any lengthy delays. Those written arguments will give the justices a basis to decide whether they will jump into the tussle between Congress and the president. The justices will meet in private to discuss the future of the case Friday.
It was the latest development in an ongoing effort by multiple parties to secure Trump’s tax returns as he continues efforts to keep his financial records a secret. He is the first president in decades to deny access to his tax returns while in office, which he previously promised to release in the past.
In a similar case, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office is also seeking Trump’s tax returns. Last week, the president’s lawyers submitted a petition to overturn a ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to turn over the documents, but the justices have not responded yet.
If the Supreme Court declines to hear the case, Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA, will have to provide the tax returns.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.