AFL Files Amicus Brief in Support of President Trump in Case Against the Politicized January 6th Committee

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, America First Legal (AFL) filed a brief at the Supreme Court of the United States in support of former President Donald J. Trump. AFL’s brief asks the Court to reign in the January 6th Committee, and to protect the separation of powers and the rule of law.

As AFL pointed out in its brief, without enforced constitutional checks and balances, free government can never in practice be duly maintained. Our founding fathers understood this to be so, and set up a system of checks and balances that establish safeguards against tyranny. Yet, as it currently stands, the Biden Administration and its allies in Congress have acted in a carefully coordinated manner to erode those safeguards. And in so doing, they have acted to deny former President Donald J. Trump the same equal protection under the law as any other president should be entitled.

Specifically, AFL’s brief made these primary points:

– The lower court erroneously ceded judicial authority to a unified political faction in the Biden Administration and its allies in Congress.

– The Biden Administration and its allies in Congress pounced on “interbranch accommodation” to circumvent constitutional limits, and to disclose former President Trump’s records.

– But “interbranch accommodation” cannot be a Trojan Horse for a unified political faction to breach a former president’s executive privilege and to subvert the separation of powers.

– The lower court failed to properly exercise judicial power by deferring to a political faction and substituting idiosyncratic, subjective, and standardless views for the hard and delicate work of judging President Trump’s privilege claim.

– The January 6th Committee lacks authority to seek or obtain presidential records.

– The House of Representatives may not violate legal rights or ignore its own rules in conducting executive branch oversight. Questions relating to third parties’ claims that rights are violated or rules ignored are for the Judiciary to decide.

– The January 6th Committee was not properly constituted and is not operating in accordance with its authorizing rules.

– Under the law and House rules, only standing committees, or one of their subcommittees, may conduct executive branch oversight.

– Accordingly, the January 6th Committee’s agreements, demands, and subpoenas lack legal force or effect.

– The lower court misconstrued the Presidential Records Act.

– The Presidential Records Act does not allow a sitting president to have legally meaningful say in the matter of a former president’s executive privilege in this context. Rather, it is only in the context of public disclosure pursuant to FOIA that a sitting president can have a meaningful say.

– If Congress had intended the incumbent to decide whether a former president’s executive privilege should be waived for congressional oversight, or to have the authority for the White House Counsel to “direct” the Archivist to release records, then the Presidential Records Act would so provide. It does not.

– The Supreme Court should rein in the January 6th Committee.

– The January 6th Committee is out of control, with its Chairman even going so far as to say that it is gathering evidence in support of potential criminal referrals–rather than in support of any legislative purpose.

– It is almost certain that the political pendulum will swing back, and it may swing back hard, so the need for vigilance against unconstitutional excess is great. What the Supreme Court does now will certainly have implications for future presidents

America First Legal is proud to stand up to support former President Donald J. Trump and the rule of law, and we will continue to hold accountable those who display clear disregard for the rule of law.

Statement from America First Legal Vice-President and General Counsel, Gene Hamilton:

Ours is a nation of laws. As our Founding Fathers rightly understood, our liberty and our freedom depend upon the separation of powers–where the excesses of any one branch are curtailed by the checks and balances of the others. The Biden Administration and its allies in Congress, who apparently have no appreciation for the past and no anticipation of the future, are charting a path that ends in the destruction of executive privilege. Their haste will surely erode the effect of those checks and balances to the detriment of Americans everywhere. AFL is proud to submit this brief, and to stand in support of President Trump and equal protection of the law,” Gene Hamilton said.

Read the Amicus Brief here.

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