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#1
Old 05-17-2018, 02:16 PM
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What happens is a sitting president refuses to obey a summons to appear in court?

Hi

What happens is a sitting president refuses to obey a summons to appear in court? Does he have the right to refuse?

I look forward to your feedback.

https://nypost.com/2018/05/17/trumps...nied-by-judge/

A Manhattan appeals panel has rejected President Trump’s request to stay a defamation claim filed by a former “Apprentice” contestant while he’s in office.

“The motion is denied,” five justices from the state’s mid-level Appellate Division wrote in a one-page decision released Thursday. The ruling means the case can move forward.
#2
Old 05-17-2018, 02:34 PM
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That was not a ruling on a summons. It was a ruling on whether the lawsuit may go forward.
#3
Old 05-17-2018, 02:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Ravenman View Post
That was not a ruling on a summons. It was a ruling on whether the lawsuit may go forward.
I understand. My question, though was what would happen if a sitting president were actually summoned and refused?
#4
Old 05-17-2018, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by davidmich View Post
I understand. My question, though was what would happen if a sitting president were actually summoned and refused?
The trial court can enter sanctions, including a default judgment against the party refusing to appear.
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Old 05-17-2018, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by davidmich View Post
I understand. My question, though was what would happen if a sitting president were actually summoned and refused?
It appears to be a hypothetical, because it would seem overwhelmingly likely that the President would be subject to a deposition, not ordered to appear in court.
#6
Old 05-17-2018, 02:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Procrustus View Post
The trial court can enter sanctions, including a default judgment against the party refusing to appear.
Thanks Procrustus. I'm assuming that any such judgments will have little effect on him retaining his office. Or could any such judgments lead to impeachment? If not can these default judgments we carried over to a period after his term/terms of office have expired. Is this uncharted territory?
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Old 05-17-2018, 03:13 PM
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Bill Clinton was required to sit for a deposition in Paula Jones' case while he was President. He was later found by the court to have given false testimony, which resulted in a finding of contempt of court, a fine, and an agreed-upon suspension of his license to practice law. This testimony, as well as conflicts between this testimony and his testimony in the independent counsel's investigation, constituted the formal legal basis for the impeachment proceedings against him.

(Since this is GQ, I will note that I am attempting to limit my response to the bare facts, and this is not intended as any sort of comment on the merits of any of those proceedings).
#8
Old 05-17-2018, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Tildrum View Post
Bill Clinton was required to sit for a deposition in Paula Jones' case while he was President.
Technically Clinton agreed to it and was not forced. He could have tried to stay out of it and make courts force the issue or let him off but for whatever reason he didn't (almost certainly a political calculation on his part).

Quote:
In 1998, independent prosecutor Ken Starr served a subpoena on Clinton that ordered him to testify about his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Clinton soon agreed to testify voluntarily, an arrangement Starr went along with because it headed off a potential challenge to the subpoena on constitutional grounds.

SOURCE: https://apnews.com/e955c483fbbf4e069b6e547f043bf57d

Last edited by Whack-a-Mole; 05-17-2018 at 03:33 PM.
#9
Old 05-21-2018, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by davidmich View Post
Thanks Procrustus. I'm assuming that any such judgments will have little effect on him retaining his office. Or could any such judgments lead to impeachment? If not can these default judgments we carried over to a period after his term/terms of office have expired. Is this uncharted territory?
It’s usually just about money. Shouldn’t effect his ability to stay in office, but that’s up to Congress
#10
Old 05-21-2018, 01:15 PM
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Nothing will happen to Trump no matter what he does unless it is so egregious that it produces unbearable political pressure to impeach and convict because that's the only legal option when dealing with a wayward president. It takes 2/3 of the Senate to convict, and you'd never get that many Republican senators to cross over unless it was a truly horrific situation that would result in their own political demise if they did not vote to convict. He's almost bulletproof, and he knows it.
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#11
Old 05-21-2018, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Jasmine View Post
Nothing will happen to Trump no matter what he does unless it is so egregious that it produces unbearable political pressure to impeach and convict because that's the only legal option when dealing with a wayward president. It takes 2/3 of the Senate to convict, and you'd never get that many Republican senators to cross over unless it was a truly horrific situation that would result in their own political demise if they did not vote to convict. He's almost bulletproof, and he knows it.
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Let's keep the political commentary out of GQ. No warning issued, but stick to the legal issues.

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#12
Old 05-21-2018, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Procrustus View Post
The trial court can enter sanctions, including a default judgment against the party refusing to appear.
It would be really interesting to see a court try to enforce said judgement.
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Old 05-21-2018, 03:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Flyer View Post
It would be really interesting to see a court try to enforce said judgement.
That's quite easy -- a judgement is just a debt to be collected against him. So proceed like any collection effort: put a lien on his property, like Trump Tower or Mar-A-Largo, seize his bank account, repossess his car(s), send bailiffs into his house to seize furniture, artworks, electronics to sell at auction.

It's actually easier to collect on a judgement than it would be to enforce a prison sentence on him: that he could argue against in court on various grounds, or even flee to some other country (like Russia) where they wouldn't enforce an extradition order against him.
#14
Old 05-21-2018, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by davidmich View Post

What happens is a sitting president refuses to obey a summons to appear in court? Does he have the right to refuse?
Be serious. You know that the only answer that we can give to this question is: "Who knows? It's never happened in the past. Unless and until it does, we cannot be certain."


If you wish us to speculate, we can do so, drawing upon similar situations and their outcomes. But, as with any constitutional crisis, until it happens, we just don't know the outcome.
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Old 05-21-2018, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by DSYoungEsq View Post
Be serious. You know that the only answer that we can give to this question is: "Who knows?
...I'm pretty sure if he knew the answer to the question he wouldn't have asked the question. Perhaps an explanation of what a "constitutional crisis" is and how it applies here would be much more helpful to those of us following along.
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Old 05-21-2018, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by DSYoungEsq View Post
Be serious. You know that the only answer that we can give to this question is: "Who knows? It's never happened in the past. Unless and until it does, we cannot be certain."
There is a legal aspect to this question, and there is a political one. The legal question can be answered factually, at least to some extent (and some posters have been providing such answers). What would actually happen is a political question, and thus would require speculation.
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Old 05-21-2018, 07:20 PM
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Quote:
Quoth Jasmine:

Nothing will happen to Trump no matter what he does unless it is so egregious that it produces unbearable political pressure to impeach and convict because that's the only legal option when dealing with a wayward president.
That's true on the federal level, but the President has no special status whatsoever in state courts, which this seems to have been.
#18
Old 05-21-2018, 10:00 PM
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Ok, so hypothetically, let's say for no possible reason will the last 33 votes in the Senate ever turn against the President. (it doesn't matter why)

Can the President be removed from office if the last 1/3 of the Senate doesn't agree, or held to account in any meaningful way by a court, whether he shows or not?
#19
Old 05-22-2018, 12:20 AM
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Originally Posted by SamuelA View Post
Ok, so hypothetically, let's say for no possible reason will the last 33 votes in the Senate ever turn against the President. (it doesn't matter why)

Can the President be removed from office if the last 1/3 of the Senate doesn't agree, or held to account in any meaningful way by a court, whether he shows or not?
By what means would he be removed from office, if not impeachment and subsequent conviction in the Senate?

Last edited by D'Anconia; 05-22-2018 at 12:22 AM.
#20
Old 05-22-2018, 03:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
That's true on the federal level, but the President has no special status whatsoever in state courts, which this seems to have been.
(Emphasis supplied)
That is totally incorrect. Although the SCOTUS in Clinton v Jones 520 U.S. 681 (1997) refused to consder the issue of immunity to suit in State Court, at pg 691 the did state obiter that there would be fedralism and comity concerns.

28 US 1442 permits removal of criminal or civil proceedings institutued against an officer of the US to be removed to Federal Court, so your no special status statment is wrong.
#21
Old 05-22-2018, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Colibri View Post
There is a legal aspect to this question, and there is a political one. The legal question can be answered factually, at least to some extent (and some posters have been providing such answers). What would actually happen is a political question, and thus would require speculation.
But he asked it AS a factual question, which was my point, right? Indeed, I said so, referencing the idea of speculating (any attempt to answer the question with a "legal" response is simply speculating what would happen).
#22
Old 05-22-2018, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by D'Anconia View Post
By what means would he be removed from office, if not impeachment and subsequent conviction in the Senate?
The 25th Amendment process, in which the Cabinet and Congress declare him "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office", which is even less likely. It happens a lot in Hollywood, though.
#23
Old 05-22-2018, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by DSYoungEsq View Post
But he asked it AS a factual question, which was my point, right? Indeed, I said so, referencing the idea of speculating (any attempt to answer the question with a "legal" response is simply speculating what would happen).

The legal question is factual and legitimate for GQ. What would happen in the real world is speculative.

If you don't like the question, you don't need to try to answer it.
#24
Old 05-22-2018, 05:50 PM
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The 25th Amendment process, in which the Cabinet and Congress declare him "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office", which is even less likely. It happens a lot in Hollywood, though.
Well, that depends on the circumstances. If the President were to have a stroke and lapse into a coma, for instance, the 25th might well be invoked. But just for "This guy's policies are crazy, even though they're similar to the policies we've been working towards and picked to the cabinet because of" probably isn't too likely at all.
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