Trump’s request for a special master review is rejected by the Supreme Court

Supreme Court Rejects Trump's Request

Supreme Court Rejects Trump’s Request


On Thursday, the Supreme Court denied a last-minute application by former president Donald Trump to become involved in the legal battle over secret documents that were taken from his Mar-a-Lago resort in August.

In a move that may have allowed his legal team to analyse the records and argue that they should be off-limits to prosecutors in a criminal case, Trump had asked the justices to overrule a federal appeals court and permit a special master to review around 100 documents marked confidential. The court, however, rejected the plea in a brief ruling. No notable dissents were present.

The documents will continue to be out of the special master’s reach for the time being. In a time when the conservative-leaning court’s favour ratings have dropped to new lows and liberals, including President Joe Biden, have questioned the institution’s legitimacy, the court’s judgement remains clear of the political fray. The directive was given during the House Select Committee hearing on the US Capitol attack on January 6, 2021.

The Justice Department had requested that the court refrains from intervening in the case while legal challenges are ongoing, describing the documents as “extraordinarily sensitive.” In a letter earlier this week, the DOJ cited a previous case and stated that judges should exercise caution before “insisting upon an inspection” of documents whose disclosure would endanger national security.

Aileen Cannon, US District Judge, issued two orders last month that is in question. She has given a special master permission to examine all materials that have been confiscated, even those that have been marked as classified. Earlier, Cannon issued a temporary injunction prohibiting the Justice Department from using the particular group of records in connection with its ongoing criminal investigation.

However, in response to a request by the Justice Department, a group of judges on the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals decided to freeze a portion of those orders while the legal fight is ongoing. Trump claims that as a former president, he may have had a legal right to obtain specific government records, including those that could have contained the most sensitive information about the nation. He further asserted that the appeals court overstepped its bounds when it dismissed his case.

President Trump last week argued before the Supreme Court that the Eleventh Circuit lacked the authority to consider, let alone stay, an interlocutory order of the District Court directing the Special Master to examine evidence seized from his residence.

The appeals court judgement will “seriously impede” Raymond Dearie, the senior US judge chosen to serve as a special master, and it will slow “ongoing time-sensitive activity,” according to Trump’s administration. The document stated, “Any restraint on the thorough and open evaluation of materials taken in the exceptional raid of a President’s house erodes public confidence in our system,”.

According to US Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar, Cannon, who was chosen by Trump, “fundamentally erred” in the initial appointment of a special master. She also stated that the Justice Department is contesting that ruling in lower courts.

The Department of Justice stated in its petition that Cannon “abused her discretion” and caused “a substantial and unnecessary interference on the Executive Branch’s ability to supervise the use and dissemination of exceptionally sensitive government records” in the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals ruling.

The DOJ’s capacity to work on the case has slowed down as a result of Cannon’s decision to deny them access to sensitive records that were confiscated from Mar-a-Lago and tagged as such. This has given Trump time to hone his defences.

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The DOJ stated that Trump’s request to the Supreme Court “concerns an unprecedented order by the district court restricting the Executive Branch’s use of its own highly classified records in an ongoing criminal investigation and directing the dissemination of those records outside the Executive Branch for a special-master review.”

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