In last month’s decision, the panel – two judges appointed by Trump and one by President Barack Obama – rejected Trump’s argument that classified documents seized at Mar-a-Lago on August 8 could be his property rather than that of the government. The appeals court also blocked an earlier order by U.S. District Judge Aileen M. Cannon asking the special master to review the documents to see if they should be shielded from investigators because of executive or attorney-client privilege.
As part of the 11th Circuit’s decision, the panel allowed the criminal investigation to use the seized documents, which Cannon had previously prohibited. while the special master carried out his examination. Trump’s Supreme Court case seeks only to overturn the decision of the Court of Appeal on the access of the special captain to the documents, and not the part of the decision concerning the investigation.
Trump’s attorneys argue in their filing that the appeals court’s decision ignores “the district court’s broad discretion without justification.” This unwarranted stay should be canceled as it greatly interferes with the ongoing and urgent work of the Special Master.
The 11th Circuit judges had concluded that they did not see why Trump “would have an individual interest in or need for any of the hundred documents with classification marks.”
The appeals court judges – Robin S. Rosenbaum, Britt Grant and Andrew L. Brasher – said the order was not a decision on the merits of the case, but simply an agreement with the Department of Justice that Cannon’s order went too far.
The trial court “abused its discretion in exercising its jurisdiction … with respect to the classified documents,” the panel wrote in a 29-page opinion. The college of the court of appeal only ruled on the narrow question of some of the parameters of the special master’s work. Cannon appointed Raymond J. Dearie, a longtime federal judge in New York, to serve as special master.
The appeals panel rejected the idea that Trump could have somehow changed the classification of the documents, some of which Justice Department lawyers say require the most access clearance. high. Plus, the panel said it didn’t matter.
“Applicant [Trump] suggests he may have declassified these documents when he was president. But the file contains no evidence that any of these documents have been declassified. And before the special master, the plaintiff resisted providing any evidence that he had declassified any of these documents,” the judges wrote. “In any event, at least for these purposes, the declassification argument is a red herring because declassifying an official document would not change its content or make it personal.”
During an appearance on Fox News last month, Trump offered a new interpretation of the process unsupported by precedent.
“I declassified the documents when they left the White House,” Trump said. “There doesn’t need to be a process as I understand it. You are the President of the United States, you can declassify… even thinking about it.
Trump chose a third of the nine justices of the Supreme Court, a body that has shifted to the right on issues dear to conservatives, such as abortion, gun rights and religion. But the court was a disappointment for the former president on issues that concern him personally.
In July 2020, the Supreme Court flatly rejected Trump’s bold claims of immunity from local law enforcement and congressional investigators. He dismissed multiple challenges to the 2020 election results brought by Trump and his allies. And after the presidency, the court denied his request to retain certain White House documents from the congressional committee investigating the January 2021 riot on Capitol Hill, with only Judge Clarence Thomas indicating he would support Trump’s plea.