The team Trump asks Supreme Court to intervene in Mar-a-Lago documents case, read the story below.
On Tuesday, Trump’s lawyers asked the Supreme Court of the United States to intervene in the legal battle over the classified documents that were found during a search of Trump’s Florida estate by the FBI, escalating a dispute over the authority of the independent arbiter who was appointed to look at the records.
The Trump team asked the justices to overturn a lower court’s decision and allow the arbiter, also known as a special master, to review the roughly 100 documents that were taken during the Aug. 8 search of Mar-a-Lago and had classification markings on them. The special master’s review was limited to a much larger group of non-classified documents by a panel of three judges from the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, which is based in Atlanta.
The Justice Department’s argument that there was no legal basis for the special master to conduct his review of the classified records was supported by the judges, two of whom were appointed by Trump.
However, in their Supreme Court application, Trump’s lawyers stated that the special master needed access to the classified records to “determine whether documents bearing classification markings are classified, and regardless of classification, whether those records are personal records or Presidential records.”
The application states that “the current status of any disputed document cannot possibly be determined solely by reference to the markings on that document” because “President Trump had absolute authority over classification decisions during his Presidency.”
It states that “the unchallenged views of the current Justice Department would supersede the established authority of the Chief Executive” in the absence of the special master review. The Trump team claims that an independent review guarantees a “transparent process that provides much-needed oversight.”
During its search, the FBI claims to have seized approximately 11,000 documents, of which approximately 100 contained classification markings.
Aileen Cannon, a judge in Florida, was asked by the Trump team to appoint a special master to conduct an independent review of the documents. After that, Cannon gave Raymond Dearie, a seasoned Brooklyn judge, the task of going over the documents and separating the ones that might be protected by claims of attorney-client privilege and executive privilege. Additionally, she prohibited the FBI from making use of classified documents in its criminal investigation.
The appeal filed by the Justice Department led the 11th Circuit to lift Cannon’s restriction on investigators’ access to the classified records. Additionally, the appeals court decided that the department was not required to grant Dearie access to the classified documents.
The application for the Supreme Court was sent to Justice Clarence Thomas by Trump’s legal team. Thomas is in charge of emergency cases from Florida and other Southern states. Thomas has the option of acting independently or, as is customary, referring the emergency appeal to the rest of the court. The court informed the government late Tuesday that it was being asked to respond to the petition by October 11.
Thomas has previously come under fire for his vote in a different case involving Trump documents, in which he was the only court member to vote against granting the National Archives and Records Administration-held Trump records to the US House committee investigating the Capitol riot on January 6, 2021.
Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, Thomas’s wife, is a conservative activist and ardent Trump supporter. She went to the “Stop the Steal” rally on the Ellipse on January 6 and wrote to the then-White House chief of staff, Mark Meadows, in the weeks following the election to urge him to work to overturn Biden’s victory and keep Trump in office.
In the weeks that followed the election, she also got in touch with legislators in Arizona and Wisconsin. Thomas maintained her false claim that the 2020 election was fraudulent during an interview with the House committee that was looking into the uprising on January 6.