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House Lawyers Ask Court for Extension Because They Are Juggling So Many Trump Cases


Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (right), Rep. Richard Neal (center)

Lawyers for House Democrats asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on Thursday for more time to submit their brief because they have a busy month ahead challenging President Donald Trump in court.

The case relates to Trump’s tax returns. Notably, NRA nemesis New York Attorney General Letitia James (D), along with the House Ways and Means Committee, is a defendant-appellee in the case. Trump lawyers have accused James of conspiring with Congress to expose the president’s tax returns.

The dispute arose after a New York signed into law a mechanism in a transparent effort to make state tax returns available to Congress. This was seen as a failsafe after Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass.) failed to obtain the president’s federal tax returns from the IRS. But Neal also expressed concerns about going the state route.

“Pursuant to Circuit Rule 28(e), the Committee on Ways and Means of the U.S. House of Representatives, Chairman Richard E. Neal, and Andrew Grossman (Committee Defendants) respectfully request a 30-day extension of time, to and including October 5, 2020, in which to file their opening brief. The Court previously granted the Committee Defendants a 30-day extension and two 60-day extensions,” the filing by House lawyers began, noting that Trump lawyers consented to the motion.

House attorneys provided two reasons for the request: 1) they’re really busy litigating against Trump; 2) challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic. Listed among those challenges was the potential need, at a moment’s notice, for the Ways and Means Committee to conduct oversight over the Trump administration’s pandemic response.

On the first reason:

Undersigned counsel are responsible for filing numerous briefs on a highly expedited schedule during the coming month. Undersigned counsel plan to file amicus briefs in at least six cases challenging President Trump’s recent directive to exclude undocumented immigrants from the apportionment base used to assign seats in the House. See Common Cause v. Trump, No. 1:20-cv-2023 (D.D.C. filed July 23, 2020); New York v. Trump, No. 1:20-cv-5770 (S.D.N.Y. filed July 24, 2020); Haitian-Americans United, Inc. v. Trump, No. 1:20-cv-11421 (D. Mass. filed July 27, 2020); City of San Jose v. Trump, No. 5:20-cv-5167 (N.D. Cal. July 27, 2020); California v. Trump, No. 3:20-cv- 5169 (N.D. Cal. Filed July 28, 2020); Useche v. Trump, No. 8:20-cv-2225 (D. Md. filed July 31, 2020). Because these cases involve an effort to alter the apportionment method that has been used to determine the House’s membership since the ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, these cases are of exceptional importance to the House. Briefs in many of these cases will likely be due in mid- to late-August.

Undersigned counsel are also responsible for filing an amicus brief in a suit challenging the Trump Administration’s efforts to revoke non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ individuals in the Affordable Care Act. See New York v. Dep’t of Health and Human Servs., No. 1:20-cv-5583 (S.D.N.Y. filed July 20, 2020). The brief in this case is expected to be due in early September.

On the second:

A 30-day extension is additionally warranted given the substantial disruptions caused by the ongoing pandemic. Because the Committee on Ways and Means is the House Committee with primary legislative and oversight jurisdiction over numerous policy issues related to the federal government’s pandemic response, the Committee Defendants have significant and pressing pandemic-related responsibilities that may arise with little warning.

Read the motion below:

House lawyers ask for extension by Law&Crime on Scribd

[Image via Mario Tama/Getty Images]

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.