The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has just dealt a serious legal blow to former President Donald Trump. And really, this opinion overturning Trump’s request for a special master reads like a judicial punch. The panel called some of Trump’s arguments a “side show.” But more than that, the panel found that the district court “repeatedly interfered with its own reasoning” and came to an “unsupported conclusion.” Believe me, this language may sound simple, but the conclusion is legal venom. We need the fire emoji to really do the tone of this decision justice.
We need the fire emoji to really do the tone of this decision justice.
In addition to the loss itself, Trump must be particularly upset that he named two of the three judges on the panel that determined he was in fact not entitled to a special master to review the documents the government seized. in August to March. a-Lago, his home in Palm Beach, Florida. But this is nothing new. His appointed judges have inflicted a lot of losses on him because they will not ignore the law to give him a victory.
The third judge on the panel was nominated by former Republican President George W. Bush. The panel applauded a legally flawed ruling by another Trump appointee, Judge Aileen Canon. Cannon granted Trump’s request for a third party, a special master, to review documents the federal government seized from Trump’s residence. The problem with Cannon’s legal conclusion is that there was no law to back it up or, as I wrote then, it looked more like a political conclusion in search of legal vindication than a a court order.
As the 11th Circuit correctly concluded, the threshold issue with Cannon’s decision is her decision that she had jurisdiction to adjudicate, when in fact she did not. Trump and his legal team shopped among the judges and they found a friendly audience. Cannon concluded that there were “exceptional circumstances” for her to exercise what is called equitable jurisdiction and hear the case. But the only thing exceptional in the circumstances was Cannon’s twisted legal conclusions.
As the 11th Circuit correctly noted, the only way Cannon’s decision would be correct would be to “significantly expand the availability of equitable jurisdiction for each subject of a search warrant; or create an unprecedented exception in our law for former presidents. The panel correctly declined to uphold Cannon’s ruling, in part because it would have set the dangerous precedent of allowing investigation targets to go to district court judges to challenge search warrants during the search phase. pre-charge investigation.
So despite District Court Judge Cannon’s attempt to treat Trump as above the law, and despite her desire to create an “unprecedented exception” for the president who nominated her, her decision was slapped by other Trump appointees. Trump will likely file an emergency appeal with the Supreme Court, but he’s unlikely to fare much better there. The Supreme Court – made up of six conservatives, including three appointed by Trump – has not been friendly to him either.
So it’s time to step back and distinguish between Trump’s legal victories and conservative legal victories. We have enough evidence to conclude that Trump’s appointees to the federal bench are more concerned with handing out ideologically conservative rulings than vindicating the often baseless legal theories advanced by the former president. For Trump, someone seemingly concerned about his loyalty to him but rather indifferent to the rule of law, this must feel like a terrible betrayal.
More than a year ago, the Supreme Court denied Trump’s request to delay the ability of the Manhattan district attorney’s office to obtain his financial records. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court rejected an appeal by Trump to bar the House Select Committee investigating the events of January 6, 2021 from obtaining certain White House records. Last month, the Supreme Court denied Trump’s request to allow the special master to review classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago. And last week, the Supreme Court rejected Trump’s attempt to block Congress from obtaining his tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service.
Trump’s losses in federal court began before he even left office. Let us remember all the baseless and frivolous attempts he made to stay in office. In the 13 presidential election cases in federal court, Trump appointees who adjudicated cases alone or as part of a larger appeals panel cast no votes, according to one study. favor of Trump.
We are doing ourselves a disservice to see so-called “Trump judges” so eager to carry his water.
There is no doubt that Trump has remade the federal court system and fundamentally reshaped the Supreme Court. But there is a fundamental difference between, say, a decision to cancel Roe vs. Wade and a decision that would prevent Congress from obtaining Trump’s taxes or White House documents. The first gives the conservative legal movement a huge victory. The latter would have benefited no one but Trump. Judges and Trump-appointed justices have shown a willingness to ignore precedent to advance a conservative cause, but, Cannon being an obvious exception, they have generally not done so to help Trump’s personal goals.
Simply put, we are doing ourselves a disservice to see so-called “Trump judges” so eager to carry his water. Trump’s justices, including those on the Supreme Court, seem to care about moving this country to the right, not about Trump, the man, or his twisted legal arguments.
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