U.S. Supreme Court

Supreme Court rejects Trump's 'narrow, technical' request in Mar-a-Lago classified documents case

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Classified documents seized from Mar-a-Lago

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.

The New York Times characterized the Supreme Court order as “a stinging rebuke” to Trump. The Washington Post, CNN and Politico also have coverage.

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.”

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “After Trump makes claims about planted and declassified documents, special master seeks specifics”

ABAJournal.com: “Trump doesn’t have to detail claims about planted documents to special master, judge says”

ABAJournal.com: “Classified documents seized from Trump can be used now in criminal investigation, 11th Circuit rules”

ABAJournal.com: “Unclean hands and executive-privilege scope debated after judge requires special master in Trump case”

ABAJournal.com: “Will Trump be indicted in Mar-a-Lago documents case? His lawyers see possibility, object to special master request”

ABAJournal.com: “Who filed phony document in Trump Mar-a-Lago search case?”

ABAJournal.com: “Trump requests special master for review of documents seized by FBI”

ABAJournal.com: “DOJ files motion to unseal warrant, property receipt relating to search of Trump’s home”

ABAJournal.com: “Trump search-warrant affidavit, released on judge’s orders, cites sensitive documents, possible obstruction”

ABAJournal.com: “Meet Raymond Dearie, the judge picked to oversee Mar-a-Lago documents review”

ABAJournal.com: “Judge who signed Trump search warrant is targeted; critics seek ‘judgment of God’”

ABAJournal.com: “Could Trump be banned from office if he’s convicted of taking government documents?”

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