Supreme Court dismisses case in which Democratic lawmakers sued Trump hotel lease

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a case it had planned to hear regarding the limits of lawsuits brought by members of Congress against the federal government, in a dispute involving the former Trump International hotel in Washington.

The justices overturned a federal appeals court ruling that allowed a lawsuit by Democratic members of the House Oversight Committee to proceed. The court’s decision on Monday had been requested by Biden’s Justice Department, which feared the appeals court ruling, if upheld, could lead to a flood of lawsuits by individual members of Congress against the ‘administration.

Lawmakers had filed their lawsuit in 2017 over the Trump administration’s refusal to provide information about the Trump Organization’s lease of the hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue between the White House and the Capitol.

The High Court action was prompted by Democratic lawmakers’ decision earlier in June to voluntarily end their case in federal district court.

Donald Trump’s family no longer owns the hotel, now a Waldorf Astoria, and much of the information lawmakers sought has finally been provided. The only documents that had been at issue were internal legal opinions.

The justices intervened in the case last month, at the urging of the Biden administration. The Justice Department had argued that it was important to wipe the appeal decision off the books so as not to encourage many other lawmakers to sue this administration or future ones in the same way.

Members of Congress generally cannot go to federal court as individuals or small groups and claim that their status as lawmakers gives them the right to sue when the administration in power refuses to comply with their demands for information.

But a 95-year-old law allows seven members of the House Oversight Committee or five senators on that body’s similar committee to request and receive certain information from federal agencies.

Negotiations have almost always resolved disputes. But the question of how to apply the law when attempts at compromise fail has never been resolved. Since the law was enacted in 1928, lawmakers have sued only twice before and those cases, like this one, have ended without significant court rulings.

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