The Supreme Court of the United States for the third time in 48 years has stood up to a President who asserted “Executive Privilege”, and was smacked down by a court including members appointed by the President who was involved in the Court case.
First, we had US V Nixon in July 1974, having to do with Richard Nixon and the Watergate tapes, which the Court unanimously, 8-0, ordered them handed over to the Watergate Special Prosecutor and the House Judiciary Committee. This led within weeks to the resignation of Richard Nixon. Associate Justice William Rehnquist recused himself from the case, appropriately, as he had worked earlier in the Nixon Justice Department, but the other three Nixon appointees, Chief Justice Warren Burger, and Associate Justices Harry Blackmun and Lewis Powell, joined the unanimous decision.
Next, we had Clinton V Jones, 1997, which involved the issue of whether Bill Clinton could be required to testify in a civil trial while in office, a case brought by Paula Jones against Governor Clinton for sexual harrassment. The Court unanimously, 9-0, including his two appointees, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, ruled that he had to give testimony, and this helped to lead to his impeachment in 1998. So there was no immunity from civil law litigation for acts done before taking office, and unrelated to the office.
And now, we have Trump V Thompson, a lawsuit brought by Donald Trump against the January 6 House Committee investigation of the January 6, 2021 Insurrection, in the name of Chairman Bennie Thompson. So documents to show the series of events leading to the Insurrection are now to be made available to the House committee, as it investigates the wrong doing of the 45th President. This is a major victory, and all three Trump Supreme Court nominees—Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett—voted with the majority 8-1, with only Clarence Thomas in oppostion.
This is a conflict of interest by Thomas, who should have recused himself, as William Rehnquist did in the Nixon case. Since Thomas’s wife was involved in the planning of the January 6 Insurrection, encouraging lawlessness, this should be grounds for removal of Clarence Thomas from the Supreme Court, highly unlikely, but would be appropriate!