Former President Donald Trump sent an appeal to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas asking the Court to intervene in the Department of Justice investigation of federal documents seized from his Florida estate.
The appeal, filed on Tuesday and later released by Politico, asks the Court to issue an emergency order and reinstate a special master review of 100 classified documents found at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home in Palm Beach. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals—which Thomas oversees—”lacked jurisdiction” when it removed the documents from the larger special master review order by Judge Aileen Cannon, according to the court filing.
Trump’s lawyers also said in the appeal that the DOJ had “attempted to criminalize a document management dispute and now vehemently objects to a transparent process that provides much-needed oversight.”
The move by Trump’s lawyers—issued just a few days after the DOJ had asked the appeals court to expedite its appeal of the larger special master review—is considered a “very questionable move” by legal experts, including former federal prosecutor Renato Mariotti, who tweeted about the appeal Tuesday evening.
“DOJ’s appeal was very narrow, seeking only to use classified documents it lawfully obtained,” wrote Mariotti. “I would be very surprised if the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals.”
This is a very questionable move by Trump’s team.
DOJ’s appeal was very narrow, seeking only to use classified documents it lawfully obtained. The Court of Appeals ruling was well-reasoned.
I would be very surprised if the Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals. https://t.co/forlU6Lr3H
— Renato Mariotti (@renato_mariotti) October 4, 2022
Legal analyst Lisa Rubin also tweeted that after reading through the appeal, she believes the request was made so that the former president’s legal team could regain access to the classified documents that the DOJ had removed from the third-party review.
“Trump wants his own copy of the 103 classified documents, pure and simple,” Rubin wrote in her Twitter thread. “And telling the Supreme Court that an appeals court had no jurisdiction to stop Dearie’s review of those records is their vehicle for getting them.”
I have read Trump’s request to SCOTUS. He is not asking to block DOJ’s review of the classified docs; rather, he is asking only to allow Judge Dearie to resume his review of the classified records. The question is why? 1/
— Lisa Rubin (@lawofruby) October 4, 2022
Other Twitter users speculated if the appeal from Trump would win, and some argued that the Court’s decision would be a test to the legal system, such as Christopher Eagle, who ran for Congress in Florida in 2020.
“We are about to see just how corrupt our legal system really is,” Eagle wrote.
We are about to see just how corrupt our legal system really is… Trump asks Supreme Court to halt DOJ review of classified documents seized from Mar-a-Lago. https://t.co/MX9Muq8NYl
— Christopher Eagle (@eagle4congress) October 4, 2022
Reuters journalist Sarah Lynch posted that after the DOJ won their appeal for the classified documents in September, legal experts told her that it would not be wise for Trump to appeal to the Supreme Court.
“One person predicted Trump would lose 9-0 if the full court takes up review of such a petition,” Lynch added. “We shall see what happens.”
Some legal experts I spoke with back when the 11th handed DOJ a victory told me they did not think it was wise for Trump to appeal to Scotus. One person predicted Trump would lose 9-0 if the full court takes up review of such a petition. We shall see what happens…
— Sarah N. Lynch (@SarahNLynch) October 4, 2022
Steve Vladeck, who sits as the Charles Alan Wright Chair in Federal Courts at the University of Texas School of Law, said in a thread on Twitter that he believes the Supreme Court will deny the application, and pointed out that the appeal is a move by “good lawyers who are stuck” to “appease bad clients.”
“It’s a way of filing something in the Supreme Court without going all the way to crazytown and/or acting unethically,” Vladeck added.
1. Having fully digested Trump’s emergency application to #SCOTUS, here’s a quick #thread on what it’s really asking for, why it’s not *entirely* laughable, and why I nevertheless think that it’s both (1) doomed to fail; and (2) unlikely to accomplish much even if it succeeds:
— Steve Vladeck (@steve_vladeck) October 4, 2022
Justice Thomas on Tuesday evening ordered the DOJ to respond to the appeal by Tuesday, October 11, at 5 p.m. ET.
Newsweek reached out to the DOJ for comment.
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