Sources indicate that Colin Kaepernick’s legal team will seek subpoenas for President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and other officials relating to the quarterback’s collusion case against the National Football League.
Kaepernick’s lawyers hope that a fishing expedition will reveal pressure exerted on NFL owners by the Trump administration.
What has to happen for Trump to be subpoenaed?
Due to the nature of the rules in collective bargaining grievances, reeling in sworn testimony from the political sector will create at least one additional hurdle for Kaepernick’s camp. The quarterback’s legal team first must notify the system arbitrator of the need for targeted depositions beyond the boundaries of the agreement between the NFL and the player’s union. That would entail presenting a detailed argument to the system arbitrator overseeing the grievance, spelling out the relevance and impact that testimony from Trump or others could have on the grievance. If the arbitrator rules the testimony would be justifiable, that would open the door for Kaepernick’s attorneys to seek the subpoenas in a district court under the Federal Arbitration Act.
That’s also where the process would get more complicated and contentious.
Should the system arbitrator and a federal judge find there is a basis to force Trump or others to sit for depositions, it would raise an argument over whether the president can actually be compelled by the courts to sit for a deposition. Trump could choose to ignore the order or simply decline, leaving it up to the justice system to enforce the subpoena.
Whether that would ever happen is a significant matter of debate.
President Trump’s lawyers have already argued that the president couldn’t be compelled to comply with a criminal subpoena from special counsel Robert Mueller regarding the Russian collusion investigation. Obviously, Trump would also refuse to comply with a subpoena from Kaepernick’s arbitration case and the quarterback’s lawyers know that. But, Kaepernick and his lawyers would surely love the publicity and liberal fanfare following such a move.