The Department of Justice stated that it is pleased with the ruling and the outcome that the House cannot use the courts to settle a political dispute with the executive branch.
Judge Thomas Griffith wrote the opinion for a three-judge panel that divided two to one. Griffith said the case presented a political conflict between two branches of government that the judiciary has no power to resolve.
"If we throw ourselves into ‘a power contest nearly at the height of its political tension,’ we risk seeming less like neutral magistrates and more like pawns on politicians’ chess boards," the decision reads. "In this case, the dangers of judicial involvement are particularly stark. Few cases could so concretely present a direct clash between the political branches."
U.S. District Judge Kentaji Brown Jackson ordered McGahn to comply with the subpoena in November 2019, rejecting administration arguments that the president’s senior aides are absolutely immune from congressionally compelled testimony.
In Friday’s decision, Griffith said the lower court ruling would force judges to supervise co-equal branches of government and set rules governing congressional investigations, thereby turning the courts into an "ombudsman for interbranch information disputes."