Judge Carl Nichols, a Trump appointee in federal district court in Washington, DC, ruled that the DC-based court doesn’t have jurisdiction over the New York officials: Attorney General Letitia James and state tax official Michael Schmidt.
“Mr. Trump bears the burden of establishing personal jurisdiction, but his allegations do not establish that the District of Columbia’s long-arm statute is satisfied here with respect to either Defendant,” Nichols wrote.
The Judge added that Trump could renew his claims against the New York officials if future events trigger the DC statute, or he can sue the New York officials in their home state.
“But speculation that they might occur is insufficient to exercise jurisdiction over the Commissioner now,” Nichols wrote. In a footnote, Nichols also cited potential legal complications involved in having a DC federal court rule on the constitutionality of a New York state law.
The law, known as the TRUST Act, was signed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in July and calls for the commissioner of the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance to release the president’s tax returns if requested by the chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, Senate Finance Committee, or the Joint Committee on Taxation. Trump has argued that the law poses a First Amendment issue, claiming that it targets him due to his political beliefs and speech. New York Republicans also opposed the law, claiming that is what is known as a “bill of attainder” – meaning one that singles out an individual for punishment – which is prohibited by the Constitution.
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