Supreme Court rejects Trump's 'narrow, technical' request in Mar-a-Lago classified documents case
A photo of documents from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach, Florida, submitted as evidence by the Department of Justice in federal court in Florida. Image from the Department of Justice.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday refused to reinstate a federal judge’s order requiring classified documents seized from the residence of former President Donald Trump to be reviewed by a special master.
The Supreme Court denied the emergency request by Trump’s lawyers in a short order that did not indicate any dissent.
Trump’s lawyers had asked the Supreme Court to allow the classified document review by staying one part of a Sept. 21 federal appeals court ruling based on jurisdictional grounds. At issue was whether the appeals court had jurisdiction to bar a special master from including the classified documents in his privilege review of thousands of documents seized from Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach, Florida.
Trump’s emergency application, filed Oct. 4, argued that appointment of the special master “was not jurisdictionally before” the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals at Atlanta.
Trump argued that the appeals court could only review an injunction barring the government from using the materials for investigative purposes. The 11th Circuit didn’t have “pendent appellate jurisdiction” to review the special master appointment and his scope of review, the emergency application argued.
Stephen Vladeck, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law, explained the argument in a series of tweets Oct. 4.
Even if Trump’s lawyers were right about the pendent appellate jurisdiction issue, Vladeck said, they would still have to show that the 11th Circuit’s action was causing him harm. And that showing is “conspicuously absent” from the application for emergency relief, he said.
“This is what good lawyers who are stuck do to appease bad clients: The jurisdictional argument is narrow, technical and nonfrivolous,” Vladeck tweeted. “It’s a way of filing something in the Supreme Court without going all the way to crazytown and/or acting unethically.”
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