The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan ruled Monday that President Donald Trump's tax returns must be handed over to a state grand jury. Trump's lawyer Jay Sekulow said that his legal team will appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.

"The decision of the Second Circuit will be taken to the Supreme Court. The issue raised in this case goes to the heart of our Republic. The constitutional issues are significant," Sekulow said in a statement.

The Manhattan District Attorney's Office has sought Trump's tax records while investigating whether two women who Trump may have had affairs with were paid hush money before the 2016 presidential election. In October, a federal district court judge in Manhattan rejected Trump’s effort to protect his tax returns from Manhattan state prosecutors, who in September had subpoenaed his accounting firm, Mazars USA, to get access to his personal and corporate tax returns since 2011.

Trump's legal team has claimed that he is shielded from such investigations due to his status as president. In October, Trump attorney William Consovoy told the court that Trump is immune from criminal investigations during the presidency, even if he shot someone on New York City's Fifth Avenue.

During the 2016 presidential election, the release of Trump's tax returns was a major source of controversy. He has said that he wouldn't release his tax returns because he says he is under a federal audit.

During the 2016 campaign and as recently as April, polls have shown that Americans want to see Trump's taxes, with 64% saying he should release them and 29% saying he shouldn't.

Democrats have urged for the tax returns to be released because they believe that he could have committed financial fraud. Former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen has cast doubt on whether Trump is under an audit and has claimed that Trump does not want his tax returns scrutinized by the public out of fears of possible penalties.

Every president since Richard Nixon has released at least some of their tax returns to the public. Nixon released his tax returns in the midst of a controversy over whether he had paid too little.