Labor Day Reads: Judge shopping Pays OffPosted: September 5, 2022
Happy Labor Day, Sky Dancers!
A Trump-appointed Federalist Society Judge took a radical view toward the law regarding Presidential Documents and ordered a Special Master to review the documents seized during the search of his Mar-a-Lago country club. This is from NBC: “Judge grants Trump’s special master request, delays parts of a criminal probe. The Trump-appointed judge dismantled Justice Department arguments and said the unique case called for a neutral review of documents the FBI seized at Mar-a-Lago”.
In a major blow for the government, a federal judge approved former President Donald Trump’s request for a special master to oversee all the evidence the FBI seized last month from his Mar-a-Lago estate and temporarily blocked parts of the Justice Department’s investigation.
U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon — a Trump appointee — said in her ruling Monday that the special master should be able to review the documents seized to address both questions of attorney-client privilege and also to litigate claims of executive privilege.
Government employees screening the documents had only set aside ones that may have been protected by attorney-client privilege and argued that executive privilege was not at play here.
“In addition to being deprived of potentially significant personal documents, which alone creates a real harm, Plaintiff faces an unquantifiable potential harm by way of improper disclosure of sensitive information to the public,” she wrote.
Trump had requested that a special master, a third party attorney, review the material seized on Aug. 8 to assess for potential attorney-client or executive privilege issues.
Trump’s attorneys argued in a recent court filing that “left unchecked, the DOJ will impugn, leak, and publicize selective aspects of their investigation with no recourse for [Trump] but to somehow trust the self-restraint of currently unchecked investigators.
The Justice Department had argued against the special master request, saying that a special master “is unnecessary and would significantly harm important governmental interests, including national security interests.” In a statement on Monday, DOJ Spokesman Anthony Coley said, “The United States is examining the opinion and will consider appropriate next steps in the ongoing litigation.”
Cannon allowed a national security review of the records to continue but temporarily blocked the government from reviewing and using them for its “investigative purposes.” She systematically rejected the DOJ’s arguments that Trump’s special-master request was filed too late, was superfluous and that Trump had no right for review because he didn’t own the documents in question that were seized.
Cannon did not immediately grant Trump’s request to get back more of his property more quickly.
Legal analysis by lawyers and scholars has not been kind to the judge. Just so you know, there is no such thing in law as a “special master” to review “executive privilege”.
This is astounding. How does he get away with this?
Many lawyers online Lawyers question how a former President can claim executive privilege against the Justice Department since it is part of the executive branch.
Explanations provided by the judge do not appear based on law or precedent. This is from Rolling Stone: “Trump Is Getting the ‘Special Master’ He Asked for in the FBI Mar-a-Lago Case. Florida Judge Aileen Cannon has granted former President Donald Trump’s request for a “special master” to review seized documents.” This is written by Nikki McCann Ramirez.
But Monday’s ruling does in part grant the late request from Trump’s lawyers to stop the DOJ from reviewing documents collected in the department’s investigation of Trump’s retaining and handling of classified materials.
In the ruling Cannon, cited concerns over the potential damage to Trump should materials in the custody of the DOJ be leaked to the public. “In addition to being deprived of potentially significant personal documents, which alone creates a real harm,” wrote Cannon, “Plaintiff faces an unquantifiable potential harm by way of improper disclosure of sensitive information to the public.”
While ruling may temporarily delay proceedings, the DOJ has already had a chance to conduct their own review of materials seized in the raid, and will have a chance to influence the selection of the “special master.” Judge Cannon has ordered both camps to submit their proposed candidates by September 9th.
What about the damage done to our national security, our nation, and our allies by Trump?
Cannon appears to have created an executive privilege component out of thin air.
This is from Perry Stein writing for The Washington Post: “Judge grants Trump request for special master to review Mar-a-Lago documents. Rulings says prosecutors can’t use seized documents in criminal probe until they are examined by outside expert” The man stole them. They weren’t his. WTF?
In opposing the appointment of a special master, Justice Department lawyers told Cannon they had already sorted through the documents, using a “filter team” to separate out more than 500 pages of potentially privileged documents. That arrangement was approved by a U.S. magistrate judge who authorized the Mar-a-Lago search warrant. Prosecutors said appointing a special master would be pointless, given the previous filter team review — but Cannon disagreed. They also said that there was no legal basis to appoint a special master in this case and that Trump had no rights to possess White House documents once he left office.
On Friday, Cannon unsealed a detailed inventory list of items seized from Mar-A-Lago. It showed that Trump intermingled classified and unclassified materials in boxes at Mar-A-Lago and had dozens of empty folders that bore a “classification” marking.
This is from the blog Lawyers, Guns, and Money: “LAME DUCK CONFIRMATION OF REPUBLICAN “JUDGE” PROVIDES IMMEDIATE PAYOFF FOR TRUMP”. This is written by Scott Lemieux.
I’ve always liked this blog because they don’t pull punches ever.
On November 12 2020, after Donald Trump had already been defeated, the Senate was able to ram through the confirmation of 39-year-old Federalist Society hack Aileen Cannon to the District Court of Southern Florida. The political payoff for Trump has been swift:
his refers to this particular thread provided by lawyer, teacher, and law analyst Steve Vladeck followed by the Ashey Rangappa tweet I posted above.
Needless to say, this kind of lawlessness, designed to try to run out the clock and make it harder to indict Trump as 2024 gets closer, would mean a lot less were 11CA and the Supreme Court not also controlled by Republican hacks willing to wink at the law to help out Daddy Trump.
Here’s the thread by Vladeck.
The artwork today is by Hale Woodruff whose many wonderful paintings are featured at The Smithsonian. His most famous work are Murals featured at Talladega University which is the first HBC in the United States. One of these mural is posted above. I thought that this labor day I would feature this great Black American Artist since so many of his works feature black workers. Remember, African American Slaves and their descendents built much of this country.
Happy Labor Day!
What’s on your blogging and reading list today?