Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has given the DOJ until Tuesday afternoon to respond to former President Donald Trump’s request that an order by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals be overruled.
Trump’s legal team is petitioning the court to uphold Judge Aileen Cannon’s order that the special master review all records with classified markings the FBI seized in a raid on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home on Aug. 8. Further, Trump is asking the Supreme Court to uphold Cannon’s order that the DOJ discontinue their review of the documents pending the outcome of the special master.
The three-panel circuit court overruled Cannon’s orders last week. Trump responded by appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court.
According, to Axios, Thomas is responding to Trump’s appeal because he oversees emergency appeals from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.
On Wednesday morning, Thomas contacted the Biden administration’s Department of Justice, asking for its response to the complaint lodged by Trump’s legal team.
At the heart of the issue are 100 classified documents that Trump’s legal team claims are protected under Executive Order or Attorney-Client Privilege. Cannon agreed and paused the DOJ’s review of the documents until the special master authorized their inspection.
According to the Western Journal, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling “gave the DOJ a total victory, saying it could use documents seized in its raid on Mar-a-Lago as it investigates the former president.”
The ruling also allowed the DOJ to “keep Trump’s attorneys in the dark about the contents of documents that are marked classified,” according to the outlet.
Trump’s emergency appeal to the Supreme Court is the last option for remedy for Trump’s legal team. They are hopeful the conservative Clarence Thomas will ultimately take up the matter and lead the court to rule in their favor. Trump’s attorneys wrote:
“Indeed, all that was before the Eleventh Circuit was the Injunction Order, which contained only the District Court’s statement of prospective intent regarding the appointment of a special master, but specifically did not set forth the Special Master’s duties and scope of review.”
The filing argued that the appellate order is compromising the integrity of the well-established policy and protocol.
The filing continued: “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 unprecedented circumstances presented by this case — an investigation of the 45th president of the United States by the administration of his political rival and successor — compelled the district court to acknowledge the significant need for enhanced vigilance and to order the appointment of a special master to ensure fairness, transparency and maintenance of the public trust,” the filing said.
Trump maintains he declassified the documents; however, attorneys have not produced documents verifying the claim.
Trump has indicated that the declassification process is not codified nor formal. During a recent interview with Fox’s Sean Hannity, Trump said:
“There doesn’t have to be a process, as I understand it,” Trump said. “You’re the president of the United States; you can declassify just by saying it’s declassified, even by thinking about it.”
Thomas has ordered the DOJ to respond to Trump’s emergency request by 5 p.m. EDT on Tuesday.