Author: Mark Rahdert

Temple Law Faculty Reacts to the Trump v. Mazars USA and Trump v. Vance Decisions

On July 9, 2020, Chief Justice John Roberts delivered a 7-2 opinion in Trump v. Mazars USA, refusing to enforce congressional subpoenas that sought President Trump’s tax returns and other financial records about himself, his children, and affiliated businesses. On July 9, 2020, Chief Justice John Roberts delivered a 7-2 opinion in Trump v. Vance, allowing state prosecutors to subpoena financial records concerning President Trump and his businesses. Craig Green Professor of Law Trump v. Mazars USA: Just months before the presidential election, the Supreme Court declined to enforce subpoenas that could have publicly revealed President Trump’s tax returns and financial conduct. Congressional committees demanded various financial records using their “legislative power,” seeking to investigate the need for possible statutory reform about corruption, terrorism, money laundering, or election interference. One committee also claimed oversight power to investigate executive misconduct. Mazars is the first time that any Supreme Court examined a congressional subpoena for a President’s personal information. The majority created a new “balanced approach” that tried to respect the long history of congressional subpoenas without …

Exceptionalism Unbound: Appraising American Resistance to Foreign Law

There has been a recent trend in several states to consider and adopt state constitutional amendments or statutes that attempt to prohibit state courts from considering or applying foreign law in their judicial decisions. The first effort of this kind occurred in Oklahoma in 2010, and similar laws have been enacted in several other states in ensuing years. One aim of these provisions (which was made explicit in Oklahoma) is to prevent state courts from incorporating “Sharia” (Muslin law) into judicial decisions. Another aim is to assert a broad principle of American exceptionalism that supports exclusion of all foreign law regardless of its source. This article addresses the questions whether such a limitation on state judicial decisions is constitutional, and if so whether it represents a desirable restriction on the judicial process. In Awad v. Ziriax, Oklahoma’s attempt to prevent judicial use of foreign and international law was struck down as a violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. This result was justified by the law’s explicit attempt to single out Sharia for specific legal …