Mystery Mueller Case Reaches The Supreme Court

Kevin Daley | Supreme Court Reporter

An unnamed foreign corporation appears to be fighting a subpoena from Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the Supreme Court.

The unidentified entity filed an application for a stay with Chief Justice John Roberts on Saturday, after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit turned down their request to quash a subpoena.

Saturday’s application was the first time a matter arising from the Mueller probe has reached the high court.

Very little is known about the case, which apparently arose on Aug. 16 in the Washington, D.C. federal trial court. The entire matter has proceeded under seal, meaning all filings are closely held by court officials, hearings take place in secret, and attorneys are forbidden from discussing details in public.

One of the few documents made public in the case was released on Dec. 18, when the corporation lost its appeal of a lower court ruling requiring their compliance with the subpoena.

The corporation argued it was immune to U.S. subpoenas under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, since their firm is owned by a foreign government. They also sought relief under a federal rule allowing courts to suppress subpoenas if compliance would be “unreasonable or oppressive.” In this instance, the company argued their compliance with the subpoena would violate the domestic law of their home country.

A three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit rejected both arguments, prompting the appeal to the Supreme Court. (RELATED: Roberts Joins Liberals, Thwarts Trump Bid To Enforce Asylum Rules)

Robert Mueller reacts to applause from the audience during his farewell ceremony at the Justice Department in Washington, August 1, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Robert Mueller reacts to applause from the audience during his farewell ceremony at the Justice Department in Washington, August 1, 2013. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Several details indicate the special counsel’s connection to the case — CNN saw two senior members of Mueller’s staff return the Department of Justice minutes after a recent hearing in the matter concluded. What’s more, President Donald Trump’s only appointee to the D.C. Circuit, Judge Greg Katsas, recused himself from the case.

Katsas worked in the White House counsel’s office and handled questions relating to the special counsel’s investigation. He pledged to recuse himself from Mueller-related matters during his confirmation hearing.

The Supreme Court has never had full briefing and oral arguments in a case under seal, according to legal scholars.

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Tags : d c circuit robert mueller supreme court
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