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Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Presidents Are Not Kings

In a 39-page ruling, Judge Tanya S. Chutkan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia held that the ex-president cannot keep documents away from lawmakers when the incumbent president agrees they should see the files.
Plaintiff does not acknowledge the deference owed to the incumbent President's judgment. His position that he may override the express will of the executive branch appears to be premised on the notion that his executive power "exists in perpetuity." But Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is not President. He retains the right to assert that his records are privileged, but the incumbent President 'is not constitutionally obliged to honor' that assertion. Public Citizen v. Burke, 843 F.2d 1473, 1479 (D.C. Cir. 1988)  Plaintiff is no longer situated to protect executive branch interestswith “the information and attendant duty of executing the laws in the light of current facts and circumstances.” Dellums, 561F.2d at 247. And he no longer remains subject to political checks against potential abuse of that power. Nixon v. GSA, 433 U.S. at 448