By Kaden Pradhan
London, United Kingdom
On October 13, former president Donald J. Trump’s legal team received this Supreme Court decision:
That was all. In fact, the judgment is entirely preamble—except for the final word, “denied.”
On September 5, District Judge A. M. Cannon permitted a Special Master to review the documents the FBI had seized during their raid of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence, but two weeks later, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked Cannon’s order in a strongly worded stay of proceedings. “The United States argues that the district court likely erred … We agree,” affirmed the three appellate judges. Trump’s motion to the Supreme Court was to review this 11th Circuit judgment, and it was refuted with what was effectively a one-word response.
Indeed, higher courts seem to have little tolerance for what appears to be the flawed reasoning of the District Court. Judge Cannon has been endlessly criticized by legal experts for, amongst other things, giving Trump “a whole lot of special treatment,” according to Jonathan Shaub, a former attorney in the Justice Department. Her rulings have been viewed by some to be juridically invalid. A Trump appointee herself, Cannon has been called out for legal bias towards Trump’s attorneys. In addition, her treatment of the concept of executive privilege, although something of a gray area, has been considered unsound by law professors and Bill Barr, the former Attorney General. Cannon’s actions have certainly put a number of obstacles in the DOJ’s way.
In spite of this, the federal government is carrying on with unremitting focus. The name of this case, Trump v. United States, holds a great deal of symbolic power. The former President has decided to place himself at odds with not just the authorities, but also the people of his country—and this has not gone unnoticed. In September, an NBC poll showed that disapproval of Trump was holding at 54%, while approval was down two points to 34%. These ratings are at levels not seen since April 2021. Not only is it possible that Trump committed several violations of the U.S. Code, but he may have just thrown into the dustbin any chances of a political comeback. The DOJ attorneys working the case are not just fulfilling their role but are also reflective of the voice of the populace—hence their dedication and perseverance, in spite of Cannon’s questionable judgments.
We are yet to see how Judge Cannon decides this case should proceed, but Trump may have pushed himself so far from the people that they will never accept him back.