The 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in the case over the appointment of special master Raymond Dearie by Trump-appointed Judge Aileen Cannon to oversee the government documents recovered from Mar-a-Lago by the FBI and National Archives and Records Administration.
"As former President Donald Trump faces the new reality of a special counsel leading Justice Department investigations on his conduct, a federal appeals court on Tuesday is hearing oral arguments about whether it should remove what has been a notable hurdle in one of the probes," CNN reported. "The move by a Florida-based judge to appoint a third party to help decide what of the roughly 22,000 pages of materials obtained in the search belongs in the hands of investigators – threw a significant wrench in the Justice Department’s criminal investigation into whether records from Trump’s White House were mishandled."
In the hearing, the U.S. Justice Department urged the three-judge panel to end the special master's review of the documents. The panel includes U.S. Circuit Judges Andrew L. Brasher, Elizabeth “Britt” Cagle Grant, and William H. Pryor, Jr. The first two were nominated by Trump, with George W. Bush appointing Pryor.
Legal experts expect a big win for the DOJ in front of the appeals court.
Harvard Law Prof. Laurence Tribe, who has argued three-dozen cases before the Supreme Court wrote, "Chief Judge William Pryor asked the first question of Assistant Solicitor General Sopan Joshi: Has any such special master jurisdiction ever been exercised when there’s been no showing the search was unlawful? Answer: No. That could end the matter in the Government’s favor."
Former Pentagon special counsel Ryan Goodman noted Tribe's analysis and wrote, "In oral argument at Eleventh Circuit, Trump's attorney (Jim Trusty) had several opportunities to address this question on need to show search was unlawful for Cannon to have jurisdiction. He has failed. Looking like this will be a 3-0 ruling for Government and rule of law."
Tribe also expected a 3-0 ruling, writing "goodbye Cannon."
Goodman said the question is "how quickly (not if) the Court will rule in DOJ favor ending Judge Cannon's jurisdiction over [Mar-a-Lago] docs."
Trump also lost a Supreme Court effort to keep Congress from obtaining his tax returns.
Former DOJ official Andrew Weissmann wrote, "Bad day in court for Trump. Loses in [Supreme Court] and will soon lose in 11th Circuit (where the panel showed no signs of ruling in his favor)."
Former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal wrote, "My God, in the Trump Special Master appeal, I don't think I've ever heard an oral argument go worse for a litigant. The panel is three judges, and they are demolishing Trump's lawyer. It's not close."
"The common refrain is 'you can't predict a case from oral argument.' Um, this one you can," Katyal added. "The only question is how fast Trump will lose. He will lose, badly. The Judges were extraordinarily well prepared."