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Much as Trump tries to obstruct Jan. 6 inquiry, Supreme Court won't play along

This appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

During his single presidential term, Donald Trump had a penchant for referring to federal judges and Supreme Court justices as though they ruled based on loyalty to the presidents who nominated them. Thus, Trump suggested, there were Obama judges and Trump judges. In 2018, Chief Justice John Roberts issued a stern rebuke: “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges. What we have is an extraordinary group of dedicated judges doing their level best to do equal right to those appearing before them.” He added, “That independent judiciary is something we should all be thankful for.” 

A lopsided high court ruling Wednesday against Trump helped dispel all notions of justices basing their decisions on personal loyalties. They dealt Trump the hardest of defeats by dismissing his mythical assertion of a post-presidential executive privilege. He had no constitutional basis to block the release of 724 pages of documents sought by the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection.

Congressional Republicans have gone to extraordinary efforts to block the Jan. 6 committee from doing its job. It’s now a matter of record that the Judicial Branch sides with congressional Democrats and the Executive Branch on the need to uncover the truth. That is: Who planned the insurrection, and to what extent was Trump’s White House involved? No matter what Trump’s cronies in Congress assert about this being a partisan witch hunt, they cannot count on the Supreme Court to help them obstruct justice.

All three Trump appointees joined the majority decision against Trump. In fact, the only dissent was from Justice Clarence Thomas, who should have recused himself from the beginning since his wife, Ginni, endorsed the pro-Trump Jan. 6 rally and tweeted her support on the day the insurrectionists invaded the Capitol.

The 724 pages in question include draft talking points for the White House press secretary and drafts of speeches prepared for Trump to deliver, along with a draft executive order concerning election integrity. Trump insisted then, and continues to insist today, that his reelection was stolen through vote fraud, as if to suggest that President Joe Biden’s backers fabricated his 7 million-vote victory margin.

The Day editorial board meets regularly with political, business and community leaders and convenes weekly to formulate editorial viewpoints. It is composed of President and Publisher Tim Dwyer, Managing Editor Izaskun E. Larrañeta, staff writer Erica Moser and retired deputy managing editor Lisa McGinley. However, only the publisher and editorial page editor are responsible for developing the editorial opinions. The board operates independently from the Day newsroom.

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