WASHINGTON (NewsNation) — The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday rejected former President Donald Trump’s bid to let an independent arbiter vet more than 100 classified documents that were seized from his Florida home as he confronts a criminal investigation into his handling of sensitive government records.
The justices, in a brief order, denied Trump’s emergency request that he made on Oct. 4 asking them to lift a federal appeals court’s decision that prevented the arbiter from reviewing more than 100 documents marked as classified that were among the roughly 11,000 records seized by FBI agents at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach on Aug. 8.
The Trump team was asking the justices to overturn a lower court ruling and permit an independent arbiter, or special master, to review the roughly 100 documents with classified markings.
A three-judge panel from the Atlanta-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit last month limited the special master’s review to the much larger tranche of nonclassified documents. The judges, including two Trump appointees, sided with the Justice Department, which had argued there was no legal basis for the special master to conduct his own review of the classified records.
But Trump’s lawyers said in their application to the Supreme Court that it was essential for the special master to have access to the classified records to “determine whether documents bearing classification markings are in fact classified, and regardless of classification, whether those records are personal records or Presidential records.”
The Justice Department said in a Supreme Court filing that Trump’s request had no merit.
The FBI says it seized roughly 11,000 documents, including about 100 with classification markings, during its search. The Trump team asked a judge in Florida, Aileen Cannon, to appoint a special master to do an independent review of the records.
Cannon subsequently assigned a veteran Brooklyn judge, Raymond Dearie, to review the records and segregate those that may be protected by claims of attorney-client privilege and executive privilege. The Justice Department objected to Dearie’s ability to review the classified records, prompting the 11th Circuit to side with the department.
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.