GOP state AGs stick their noses in Mar-a-Lago case

It’s none of their business.

Private Citizen Trump’s retention of records belonging to the government, some of which are highly classified and super-sensitive, is between him and federal authorities, including the National Archives and Department of Justice.

It’s simply not a state matter, but 11 Republican state attorney generals are trying to butt in anyway. They “filed a court brief in support of … Trump’s efforts to have a court-appointed arbiter sift through hundreds of classified documents seized from his Mar-a-Lago compound last month,” Huffington Post reported on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 (read story here).

The special master (i.e., “arbiter”) shouldn’t even read that brief. These state officials can squawk all they want about an “unprecedented nine-hour” search and “gamesmanship and other questionable conduct.” It’s a free country, and that’s free speech. But from a soapbox, not in court, because their states have no legal interest or standing in this matter.

The brief was filed with the federal 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is reviewing DOJ’s appeal of a Trump-appointed federal judge’s rulings that it argues are putting America’s national security at risk. States don’t have responsibilities for safeguarding national secrets, including names of foreign spies working for the U.S., and other countries’ military contingency plans.

A fundamental rule in our legal system is that you don’t get to weigh in on a pending legal case unless you’ll be affected by the outcome, or the court is deciding a matter of broad public interest and invites you to participate as a “friend of the court”. The AGs filed an amicus curiae or “friend of the court” brief, but it reads more like a political rant that a legal argument (see for yourself here).

Letting someone appear as amici curiae is at the discretion of the court, and the 11th Circuit judges shouldn’t give this scrap of paper the time of day.

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