Supreme Court rejects Trump request in a dispute over Mar-a-Lago documents, Thursday, the Supreme Court ruled against former President Donald Trump in his fight with the Justice Department over documents taken from his Mar-a-Lago home. The court said no to Trump’s request that a special master is given access to classified papers.
In a short order that wasn’t signed, the justices said no to Trump’s narrow emergency request. No one spoke out against it.
The decision does not affect the Justice Department’s ability to look at the same documents as part of a criminal investigation. The more than 100 classified documents are just a small part of the 11,000 records that federal agents seized in August because they were worried that Trump had kept White House records after he left office.
The high court didn’t change all of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision from September 21, which said that the special master, federal Judge Raymond Dearie, couldn’t look at the documents. Trump hadn’t fought against the part of the ruling that said the Justice Department could use the documents.
The appeals court said that some documents are classified because they contain information that could hurt national security. Because of this, only people who need to know that information can see those documents.
Trump’s lawyers had said that blocking Dearie’s access “substantially hurts the special master’s ongoing, time-sensitive work.” They said that “any limit on the comprehensive and transparent review of materials seized in the extraordinary raid of a president’s home erodes public confidence in our system of justice.”
In court papers, the Justice Department’s Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar said that Trump would not be hurt at all if the documents were temporarily kept from the special master. Prelogar said that Trump had “no plausible claims” about his right to the documents, including possible claims of attorney-client privilege and executive privilege.
After the search for Mar-a-Lago in August, Trump sued the government. He wanted to stop the government from using the documents in a criminal investigation and asked for a special master to look over the documents.
Federal law says that all official White House papers belong to the government and must be given to the National Archives when the president leaves office. Trump says he did nothing wrong and wants Dearie to find out what’s going on with the classified documents.
Trump has said that he has the power to declassify documents whenever he wants to. However, whether or not they are classified is not the same thing as whether or not he is allowed to keep presidential records.
Even though the Supreme Court has a conservative majority of 6-3, and three of the conservative justices were appointed by Trump, Trump has not done well in recent emergency applications.
For example, he tried to stop White House documents from being given to the House committee investigating the attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021, and he tried to keep his financial records from being given to prosecutors in New York.