When the Democrats still controlled the House of Representatives, they attempted to use that power to compel former President Trump to hand over records related to the Trump Hotel in Washington, DC, that Trump owned during his time in office. He refused and so a legal battle resulted, with Democrats attempting to force him to hand over the records and him taking the battle all the way to the Supreme Court.
As background, the General Services Administration (GSA) leased the Old Post Office Pavilion to Trump. The lease let him convert the old building into a luxury hotel. After he became president, Democrats raised concerns about both the bidding process for the building and potential conflicts of interest when Trump served as president. Trump denied any wrongdoing. The Democrats then demanded documents about the hotel from the GSA, which refused.
The Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal of the Biden Justice Department around the same time that the Democrats dismissed the dispute in a lower court. Both sides, Democrats on one and the DOJ on the other, then wrote to SCOTUS and requested that it toss the case as moot.
The Democrats, who didn’t want SCOTUS to hear the case anyway, said, “Here, respondents do not appear to have formally withdrawn their Section 2954 request or explicitly renounced any attempt to seek the disputed documents in the future. But under the circumstances, their notice in the district court and letter to this Court should be regarded as a definitive abandonment of their claims.”
The DOJ, for its part, said, “Three weeks after the Court granted review, respondents filed a notice of voluntary dismissal in district court. Although that notice does not of its own force terminate proceedings in this Court, respondents’ abandonment of their claims does render this case moot.
They did so in a brief order Monday. In it they both vacated the lower court’s ruling and send the case back with orders to dismiss it. Biden’s appointee, Justice Ketanji Jackson, dissented and said she would have dismissed the case via a different procedural mechanism.
In any case, the original cause of the case had been mooted from a practical perspective even before the dismissal of the case, as the Democrat members of Congress had managed to obtain most of the documents at issue by other means.
However, by agreeing to moot the case, SCOTUS lost the opportunity to decide to what extent the minority party in Congress can use the “Seven Member Rule” to scrutinize a presidential administration. The DOJ had asked SCOTUS to declare that Democrats could not sue to enforce the Seven Member Rule, which allows any group of seven members of the House Committee on Oversight and Accountability or any five members of the Senate Homeland Security Committee to ask for information from executive agencies so long as the information is within their purview
Regardless of this outcome, former President Donald Trump is still facing a slew of legal battles. For example, the trial federal case against him for his handling of classified documents that is taking place in Florida is set to begin on August 14.