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A U.S. appeals court on Wednesday granted the Justice Department's request to expedite its consideration of whether an outside legal expert should have been appointed to review the 11,000 documents seized by the FBI at former President Donald Trump's Florida residence.
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an order shortening the timeline for the Justice Department and Trump's lawyers to finish submitting legal briefs to the court by November 17 after the DOJ argued that delaying the process could harm the agency's investigation into the potential illegal retention of classified documents.
Judge Aileen Cannon's injunction against the DOJ's review of the material "caused irreparable harm because it constrained the government's ability to assess and mitigate the national security risks arising from the improper storage of classified records and because the injunction hindered the government's ability to conduct its criminal investigation," the DOJ filing said.
Trump's lawyers opposed the request to expedite the case, arguing that they were not given enough time to file their brief in the case.
"The Government, on the other hand, cannot possibly be prejudiced if this appeal is not expedited and President Trump is afforded the few extra days provided under the Rules to file his brief," Trump attorney Christopher Kise said in the filing.
In the new schedule set by the 11th Circuit, federal prosecutors must file their initial brief by Oct. 14, giving Trump's team until Nov. 10 to respond. If the Justice Department chooses to reply, they have until Nov. 17 to do so. The court will not allow for any extensions.
The previous schedule set by the court provided that federal prosecutors file their initial brief by Oct. 19, giving Trump's lawyers until Nov. 18 to respond, and the government to file its reply by Dec. 9.
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The Justice Department already has more than 100 documents marked as classified that the FBI took from Mar-a-Lago, but appointing a special master temporarily bars investigators from using the 11,000 seized documents in the criminal investigation.
However, expediting the appeal means the 11th Circuit may rule on the case before Judge Raymond Dearie does, possibly by the end of next month. Meanwhile, Dearie's deadline is for December 16.
Former federal prosecutor Andrew Weissmann noted on Twitter that Trump opposed the DOJ request in this matter while pushing for an expedited appeal in the Supreme Court.
"Eleventh Circuit not to be outplayed by Trump's Hail Mary to Supreme Court, where he incidentally asked for an expedited appeal while opposing the expedited schedule in the Eleventh Circuit," he wrote. "Nice to see the Circuit having none of it."
Renato Mariotti, a former federal prosecutor, also added that this is "a bad sign for Trump".
"It is apparent that the panel takes DOJ's concerns seriously," he tweeted.
"Trump had opposed DOJ's motion to expedite the 11th Circuit appeal from Cannon's appointment of a special master," wrote Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe. "Without dissent, the Circuit Court rejected Trump's opposition, which was as baseless as is his trip to the Supreme Court on a collateral aspect of Cannon's order."
A different three-judge panel will review the appeal than the circuit court panel that sided with DOJ in earlier litigation. If the ruling is in the government's favor, then it could have the potential to end the litigation over the seized materials and the outside review of those documents.
As the November general election draws near, only one debate had been scheduled between Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and his Democratic opponent, Charlie Crist.
But that debate, originally set to be hosted by television station WPEC next week, has been postponed in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, according to a Tuesday announcement from the station.
On Wednesday, the Crist campaign responded to the news by saying his campaign is working with DeSantis’ team to secure a debate as soon as possible. Crist, a former GOP Florida governor and U.S. House of Representatives member, had accepted three invitations for a debate but DeSantis has only accepted one.
“We are working with the event host and Gov. DeSantis’s team to reschedule the debate as soon as possible,” Austin Durrer, Crist’s campaign manager, said in a written statement.
“We’re the third largest state and a purple one at that; voters deserve to see both candidates on stage, with a statewide audience, discussing their records and vision for moving Florida forward. I think we’ll have good news to report shortly.”
Although the new date has yet to be announced, “the debate management team is working with both campaigns to determine a makeup date for later this month,” WPEC wrote Tuesday.
A chance to watch
The debate was supposed to take place next Wednesday, sponsored by Sinclair Broadcast Group’s West Palm Beach television station WPEC, according to a press release. However, the massive storm tore through Southwest Florida, resulting in deaths, debris, damage to roads, buildings, and homes across the coast.
“The move to postpone the debate is meant to ensure all Floridians have an opportunity to adequately recover from the storm and watch the debate,” WPEC reported on Tuesday. “WPEC-TV is committed to making sure all Floridians have an opportunity to hear from the candidates before Election Day.”
As previously reported by the Florida Phoenix, voters in the state may not get many opportunities to watch candidates square off with each other before TV cameras in various races before the general election.
That’s because many candidates from both major political parties are choosing to ditch televised debates, according to Susan MacManus, professor emerita of politics at the University of South Florida.
Florida Phoenix is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Florida Phoenix maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Diane Rado for questions: email@example.com. Follow Florida Phoenix on Facebook and Twitter.
As public support of the conservative-dominated Supreme Court falls to a record low, justices are set to hear major cases on affirmative action, voting rights and online speech. The court opened its term Monday with new Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson becoming the first Black woman in U.S. history to hear a Supreme Court case. Although Jackson is a welcome progressive voice on the bench, “all she’ll be able to do is to highlight the extremism of the conservative majority voting bloc on the Supreme Court,” says The Nation’s legal correspondent Elie Mystal. He adds that the term ahead includes challenges to Native American sovereignty, voting rights, LGBT rights and more.
Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson Makes History; SCOTUS Poised to Roll Back Voting Rights & Aff. Action www.youtube.com
TranscriptThis is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
AMY GOODMAN: The U.S. Supreme Court opened its new term Monday with a historic first as Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson became the first Black female justice to ever hear a Supreme Court case. President Biden nominated Jackson after Stephen Breyer announced his retirement. On Friday, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson spoke at an event organized by the Library of Congress ahead of her first day on the court.
JUSTICE KETANJI BROWN JACKSON: As I reflect on my own recent experience of being appointed as the first Black woman to serve on the Supreme Court, it is that, more than anything, that I have witnessed. People from all walks of life approach me with what I can only describe as a profound sense of pride and what feels to me like renewed ownership. I can see it in their eyes. I can hear it in their voices. They stare at me as if to say, “Look at what we’ve done.” They say — they say, “This — this is what we can accomplish if we put our minds to it.” They might not use those words, but I get the message. They are calling on the ancestors, harkening back to history and claiming their stake at last. They are saying to me, in essence, “You go, girl.” They’re saying, “Invisible no more. We see you, and we are with you.”
AMY GOODMAN: Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, speaking Friday. She joins the Supreme Court at a time when conservatives hold a six-to-three majority and public support of the court is at an all-time low. A recent Gallup poll shows just a quarter of the country has a great deal or quite a lot of confidence in the Supreme Court. In its last term, the conservative court overturned Roe v. Wade and expanded gun rights in the United States. The court will be hearing major cases this term on affirmative action, voting rights, LGBTQ rights, online speech and more.
To talk more about what’s ahead for the court and the significance of the latest justice on the court, Elie Mystal is with us, The Nation's justice correspondent, author of the best-selling book Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy's Guide to the Constitution, his recent article, “The Supreme Court Returns on Monday, Stronger and More Terrible Than Ever.”
Elie, welcome back to Democracy Now! Let’s start with this historic first. Let’s start with Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. Talk about the significance of this newest justice and then what she faces on this docket.
ELIE MYSTAL: Good morning, Amy. Thank you for having me.
Yeah, Ketanji Brown Jackson is great. Her first day was yesterday. She already got right in there, asking really pertinent and probative questions of the attorneys at the case, so she didn’t seem to need a whole lot of time to get comfortable in her new job.
I think she’s going to be a great justice. I think she is going to have a great career ahead of her — writing dissents, because she is clearly in the minority on that court, and the things that are coming down the pipe are terrifying and horrible, and all she will be able to do is — through her questioning at oral arguments and through her writing at decision time, all she’ll be able to do is to highlight the extremism of the conservative majority voting bloc on the Supreme Court.
AMY GOODMAN: So, let’s talk about affirmative action and voting rights. Voting rights, the oral arguments will be heard tomorrow. Talk about these two cases and how they could change this country.
ELIE MYSTAL: Yeah, so let’s start with voting rights. That case is actually today, Amy. It’s 11:00. I’m already —
AMY GOODMAN: Sorry, today.
ELIE MYSTAL: Yeah — getting ready for it. The first kind of case out of the docket here is a case that involves a gerrymandered district in Alabama. Their state should have had two majority-majority districts — majority-minority districts; instead, they only had one. Back and forth a little bit. And what will likely come down is yet another attack on Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act. Now, people need to understand, when the Constitution was written, exclusively by white males, five of the current justices on the Supreme Court were not allowed to vote. We’ve gone through a lot of constitutional amendments. We had a war, trying to establish some idea of universal suffrage. But that idea of universal suffrage didn’t become a reality for a large minority of Americans until the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. And it is that act that Chief Justice John Roberts has been an enemy of for his entire career. One of the first things that we will see from this term is yet another Roberts-led attack on the idea of universal suffrage.
Later this month, we will hear our cases on affirmative action. Amy, I’ve said many times, Republicans and Clarence Thomas have been trying to kill affirmative action for as long as I’ve been alive. And this term, this October, they will do it. They will hear a case this October — excuse me — that will allow them to do it. And this June, they will finally end affirmative action. I think any hope that they would find some way to keep the idea of affirmative action alive went out of the window when they overturned Roe v. Wade, because when you have a court that’s willing to overturn 50 years of precedent and reduce women to the status of second-class citizens, it is not hard to overturn another 50 years of precedent and make college admissions safe for mediocre white failsons, which is what they’re going to do this June.
AMY GOODMAN: On Monday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Sackett v. the EPA. The case challenges the Clean Water Act and the federal government’s ability to protect and preserve wetlands. During oral arguments, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson questioned Damien Schiff, the lawyer for the Sackett family, which sued the EPA. Let’s listen.
JUSTICE KETANJI BROWN JACKSON: Why is it that your conception of this does not relate in any way to Congress’s primary objective? Do you dispute that the primary objective, as stated in the statute — I guess it’s at 1251 — is that Congress cared about making sure that the chemical, physical and biological integrity of the nation’s waters was protected?
DAMIEN SCHIFF: Justice Jackson, we don’t dispute that. However, no statute pursues its purpose or its objective at all costs, that the limitations in the statute are as much a part of its purpose as its affirmative authorization.
JUSTICE KETANJI BROWN JACKSON: So why didn’t Congress say “immediately adjacent”? If they were trying to achieve something different than what the regulations had said about adjacency, if they were balancing their concerns about protecting the integrity of the navigable waters with the property interests in the state’s right to control it, why didn’t they say “immediately adjacent” in terms of the wetlands coverage?
AMY GOODMAN: So, that’s Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson as she spoke in the oral arguments of the first case that she is considering in the Supreme Court as a Supreme Court justice. Elie Mystal, put it into lay terms here, what this case is against the EPA.
ELIE MYSTAL: Oh, yeah, so I love the question that you played, because a lot of your viewers understand or have heard what originalism is, right? The idea that when in doubt, when there’s ambiguity, we should go back to the original intentions of the white male, exclusively, Founding Fathers and think about what they might have wanted back in the 18th century, right?
So, Ketanji Brown’s question, she does it the other way, right? What’s the alternative to originalism? Well, it looks something like what Justice Jackson asked, right? Because she is looking at what Congress wanted, right? We should interpret laws, we should interpret ambiguity in laws, not based on what some long-dead white people wanted; we should interpret laws based on what the law was intended to do by the people — many of whom are still alive — by the people who passed the law. So, when she’s looking at the Clean Water Act, she’s thinking, “What did Congress want the Clean Water Act to do?” not “What did James Madison perhaps want the Clean Water Act to do back in a time when he didn’t understand that you couldn’t drink lead?”
So, just the framing of the question, the framing of her question, in and of itself, is a response and a resistance to the conservative majority on the court. Unfortunately, it’s a resistance to the conservative majority on the court, and the decision in this case, when it comes down, will probably once again harken back to long-dead white men instead of our modern issues with climate change. And again, the court already showed its hand on that last term when it eviscerated the Clean Air Act and Congress’s ability to regulate under it.
AMY GOODMAN: Elie, before we go, if you can give us a preview of the cases involving Native American families and LGBTQ rights?
ELIE MYSTAL: Yeah, these are critical cases that are also coming up later in this term. For Native American families, it’s a direct challenge to the Indian Child Welfare Act that has been drummed up by conservatives who want to adopt Native children. Now, the Indian Child Welfare Act says that it is tribal sovereignty, it’s the tribes that get to determine what happens to the children if their birth parents can’t care for them. This makes sense if you understand tribal nations as sovereign entities. But if you think like a Republican and you understand them as exploitable resources, then you get to this attack where we have white parents who want to adopt Native children, over the objection of their tribes, arguing that being prevented from adopting those Native children is racism against white people — which is a ridiculous answer. It’s like a French couple wanting to adopt an American child, being told no, and being like, “Oh, you’re racist against the French.” Like, that’s that argument.
The final case that you talked about that’s also critically important is what you asked me about, the Native case and the —
AMY GOODMAN: LGBTQ rights.
ELIE MYSTAL: — and the 303 Creative. So, this is an attack on LGBTQ rights. We have a woman in Colorado who runs a graphic design store, who wants to post on her website for weddings that she will not graphically design anybody’s wedding, any same-sex marriage Evite pages or whatever she does. That’s a point-and-click violation of Colorado’s anti-discrimination law. But this woman is claiming that she has a free speech right to be bigoted in her public service. Again, given the previous Supreme Court attacks on the rights of non-cis-hetero white men, I think that case is also likely to come down 6-3 in favor of the bigotry that this woman proposes.
AMY GOODMAN: Elie Mystal, of course, we’re going to come back to you as we look at the Supreme Court term, The Nation's justice correspondent, author of the best-selling book Allow Me to Retort: A Black Guy's Guide to the Constitution. And we’ll link to your article, “The Supreme Court Returns on Monday, Stronger and More Terrible Than Ever.”
Next up, we look at the former French colony of Burkina Faso, which just saw its second military coup in a year. What does the U.S. military have to do with it? Stay with us.