The Supreme Court denied former President Donald Trump’s request to overturn a lower court’s ruling barring a special master’s review of classified documents seized at Mar-a-Lago.
The court released the decision Thursday without comment in response to Trump’s request to the court to vacate the ruling by the 11th Circuit, whose Sept. 21 ruling allowed the Department of Justice (DOJ) to continue reviewing the documents seized at Mar-a-Lago. The Court’s ruling will allow prosecutors at the DOJ to continue investigating more than 100 documents containing classification markings.
“The application to vacate the stay entered by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit on September 21, 2022, presented to Justice [Clarence] Thomas and by him referred to the Court is denied,” the ruling stated.
Trump initially filed a motion in August requesting that a special master be appointed to review the documents that were marked classified or top secret. U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon granted his request for a special master in a Sept. 5 ruling and temporarily blocked the DOJ from further review, in which the 11th Circuit later overturned.
JUST IN: The Supreme Court DENIES Trump’s request to intervene in the dispute over documents with classified markings taken from Mar-a-Lago. The court offers no explanation for its decision (as is common for actions on the shadow docket), and there are no recorded dissents. pic.twitter.com/YxMr1LGayg
— SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) October 13, 2022
In response to the 11th Circuit’s ruling, the former president specifically addressed Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas and asked for the Special Master to have access to classified materials. The application to the court claimed that the 11th Circuit’s order “lacked jurisdiction” to place a stay on Cannon’s order, the document read. (RELATED: Trump Legal Team Responds DOJ Over Special Master Dispute)
“This unwarranted stay should be vacated as it impairs substantially the ongoing, time-sensitive work of the Special Master. Moreover, 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,” the application to the Supreme Court read.
In the application to the Supreme Court, the former president’s lawyers argued that the Special Master’s review of the documents during a Biden presidency will help guarantee an “intermediary procedural step to conduct an orderly, transparent, and fair review of the seized materials.”
The DOJ has recommended that courts refrain from making any decision on a matter revolving around top secret and classified information, CNN reported. The DOJ has expressed the need to review the documents over the possibility of being a national security threat.
“As this Court has emphasized, courts should be cautious before ‘insisting upon an examination’ of records whose disclosure would jeopardize national security ‘even by the judge alone, in chambers,’” the DOJ wrote earlier this week.
Agents with the FBI found 11 sets of classified documents—four sets of top secret documents, three sets of secret documents and three more of confidential documents—inside Mar-a-Lago. A highly redacted affidavit released by the DOJ on Aug. 26 revealed that 14 out of the 15 boxes retrieved by the National Archives and Record Administration in January consisted of 184 documents – 25 of the documents had “top secret” markings, 92 were labeled “secret” and 67 had a “confidential” warning.
Trump and his lawyers have repeatedly argued that all of the documents were declassified and kept in “secured storage.”