A listener’s guide to the historic Supreme Court arguments over whether Trump can keep his tax records secret

The US Supreme Court is seen in Washington, DC, on May 4, 2020, during the first day of oral arguments held by telephone, a first in the Court’s history, as a result of COVID-19, known as coronavirus.

A landmark clash over presidential power and the rule of law is coming to a streaming device near you.

Attorneys for President Donald Trump will finally face off against Democrats in the House of Representatives and Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, Jr., before the nation’s highest court on Tuesday in a set of cases that raise questions at the heart of America’s system of justice.

The cases, over whether Trump can keep his tax records secret, mimic battles waged and lost by Presidents Bill Clinton and Richard Nixon.

This time, there’s a twist: The fight comes in the middle of a global pandemic. As a result of the spreading coronavirus, the court has closed its building to the public. Arguments, conducted over the phone, will be streamed live.

Here’s what pilot need to know before you tune in.

How can you lis ten ?

The arguments will begin promptly at 10 a.m. ET on Tuesday and will be available for streaming on CNBC.com and the CNBC app. They will last at least two hours.

The day will be divided into two argument sessions, each lasting about an hour.

The first argument involves two cases in which Democratic-led congressional committees issued subpoenas seeking the president’s financial records from his banks and accounting firm. The second argument relates to similar subpoenas issued by the Manhattan district attorney, who is a Democrat, to the president’s business and accounting firm.

What are the cases about?

The basic question underlying both arguments is “whether governmental agencies can investigate potential wrongdoing by a sitting president,” according to Sarah Harrington, one of the most experienced Supreme Court lawyers in the country and a partner at the law firm Goldstein & Russell.

David Cole, the national legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said that what is at stake in the cases are “two of the most fundamental principles of the American constitutional system. Checks and balances on the one hand, and the rule of law and the notion that no one is above the law on the other.”

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