A Department of Justice (DOJ) filing in response to former President Donald Trump’s request for the Supreme Court to intervene in the dispute over documents seized at Mar-a-Lago is “compelling” and “masterful,” according to legal experts.
Last week, Trump’s lawyers petitioned the Supreme Court for an emergency hearing to allow special master Raymond Dearie to review the 100 documents found at his south Florida home. The filing was made in response to a ruling by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals that allowed the DOJ to continue using classified documents in the former president’s criminal investigation. Trump-appointed Judge Aileen Cannon previously ruled that the documents would be sealed pending Dearie’s review.
The Department of Justice responded to Trump’s request on Tuesday, meeting the deadline set by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, who oversees cases from the 11th Circuit. The Justice Department urged the Supreme Court to reject Trump’s request, arguing that the former president had failed to demonstrate that the appeals court ruling had caused him “irreparable harm” and that he had “no plausible claim of privilege or ownership” over the classified documents.
Legal experts and analysts praised the brief on social media almost immediately. Teri Kanefield, a former appellate defender, tweeted that the DOJ filing was “extremely well done because Trump was appealing on narrow jurisdictional grounds” and contained “devastating” facts for Trump.
“They throw in the devastating facts,” Kanefield tweeted. “Trump had no right to possess the documents, the government kept trying to get them back, Trump would lie and say he had none, the government “developed evidence” that he was lying, etc. I like the phrase ‘developed evidence’ … because it must drive Trump crazy not knowing who the rat is.”
The filing was described as “a masterful Supreme Court brief” by Neal Katyal, the Paul Saunders Professor of National Security Law at Georgetown University and a former acting U.S. Solicitor General.
“This is how it’s done,” tweeted Katyal. “Like I think I’m a pretty good lawyer but if I had to write Trump’s reply to this crazy good brief I have no idea what I would say. At all.”
Former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance praised the brief as “thoughtful” and “compelling,” adding that the former president seemed to be “begging” the DOJ to prosecute him.
“DOJ’s response to Trump’s effort to get SCOTUS to intervene for him is thoughtful & compelling,” Vance tweeted. “As DOJ points out, it sought modestly & thoroughly warranted relief from the 11th Circuit to avoid unprecedented interference by a district court judge in a criminal investigation.”
“It’s like Trump is begging DOJ to prosecute him if investigators discover he’s still hiding classified materials,” she added.