Lawyers for Donald Trump have filed an emergency petition to the U.S. Supreme Court in an attempt to halt a lower court ruling issued earlier this month that would allow the House committee investigating the January 6 Capitol attack to view documents from Trump’s final weeks in office.
The committee requested communications from President Trump’s January 6th and the days preceding the violent breach of Capitol. Trump attempted to block records transfer by asserting executive confidentiality rights. However, President Joe Biden was able to stop it. rejected Trump’s privilege claims in OctoberCiting the Presidential Records Act terms,
Trump sued shortly thereafter and has lost every court challenge or appeal since. The Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled in favor of Trump earlier this month. ruled against Trump’s privilege claimsBut placed a two-week “administrative injunction”On the National Archives handing the documents over to Trump in order to allow him to file an appeal to Supreme Court.
Trump’s lawyers filed an appeal on Thursday — the day the injunction was set to be lifted — in an attempt to extend the stay beyond the two-week window.
At least four of the Court’s nine justices must agree to hear a case for it to move forward. If that threshold isn’t met, the stay will be lifted and the documents can be transferred to the January 6 commission.
Trump’s legal team is arguing that the D.C. Circuit Court’s ruling would set a dangerous precedent.
“Producing these privileged documents would irreparably harm the institution of the Presidency,” Trump’s legal team wrote, adding that presidents have an expectation that their communications with advisers “can be ‘candid, objective, and even blunt’ in [their] decisionmaking.”
“Waiving privilege in this instance will cause all future administrations to be wary of their confidential communications,” Trump’s lawyer continued. “It will be on the minds of all future Presidents that a successive administration of a rival political party could waive the privacy of their communications with ease. This will detrimentally impact Presidential decisionmaking for all future Presidents.”
Some experts have contended that this argument rests on questionable legal ground, particularly because Biden has determined that Trump’s claims about dangers posed to the institution of the presidency are meritless. The former president’s argument also lacks specificity, This was a point that the D.C. District Court made very clear in its December ruling.
“Former President Trump has given this court no legal reason to cast aside President Biden’s assessment of the Executive Branch interests at stake, or to create a separation of powers conflict that [the president and Congress] have avoided,” the appellate court said.
In op-ed for Bloomberg LawWritten shortly after the D.C. Circuit Court ruling, Dennis Aftergut, federal prosecutor, predicted that Trump would eventually fail in his attempt to stop the commission from reviewing his presidential records.
“Trump offered no evidence demonstrating that his views outweighed those of the current president, or that disclosure of any specific document would cause irreparable damage to the presidency,” Aftergut wrote.
Other legal experts said that it would be inexcusable for the Supreme Court to hear Trump’s case because the premise of his emergency filing was so flawed.
“A good way for SCOTUS to reassure the public if it’s [sic] independence & integrity would be to promptly deny Trump’s request to prevent release of his records to the 1.6 Comm, because it’s plainly without merit,” said Joyce Alene, a former federal prosecutor who is currently a law professor at The University of Alabama.
Laurence Tribe (Professor Emeritus at Harvard University) implied in a Tweet that if a hearing was granted by the Supreme Court, it would only be because Trump appointed three of its justices during Trump’s four years in office.
“If it expects to be respected as a court rather than a black-robed extension of the Trump cult, the Supreme Court will promptly reject this legally groundless request,” Tribe said.