Judge Cannon Hints At Trump Victory In A New Legal Twist, Casting Doubt On Jack Smith’s Case

by Jessica
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Judge Aileen Cannon, presiding over the Mar-a-Lago documents case, has signaled receptiveness to President Trump’s assertion that Special Counsel Jack Smith’s appointment may be unconstitutional.

This possibility could upend the prosecution of the 45th president, casting doubt on the legitimacy of Smith’s authority, as reported by The New York Sun on Thursday, March 7, 2024.

The judge’s inclination towards entertaining the disqualification of Special Counsel Jack Smith was disclosed in an atypical docket note. This issue has lingered over Smith’s tenure since its inception.

However, Judge Cannon has hinted at the significance of two briefs supporting Trump’s argument regarding the purportedly flawed nature of Smith’s appointment.

She acknowledged that these briefs “may be of considerable help” in adjudicating the pretrial motions.

Among the submitted briefs, one was filed by the America First Legal Foundation, an organization established by Trump’s longtime advisor, Stephen Miller.

This brief delves into the involvement of the National Archives and Records Administration in charging the former president.

Another brief, authored by former Attorney General Edwin Meese, alongside law professors Steven Calabresi and Gary Lawson, contends that Smith’s appointment was “unlawful.”

Judge Cannon’s acknowledgment of the potential significance of these briefs suggests a serious consideration of Trump’s constitutional argument.

Trump has maintained that Attorney General Garland’s selection of Smith violated the Appointments Clause, both in his submissions to the court and in previous proceedings before the Supreme Court.

The crux of the matter revolves around the Appointments Clause, which stipulates that the president, with Senate consent, shall appoint officers of the United States.

Smith’s appointment, however, deviated from this protocol, as he was neither nominated by the president nor confirmed by the Senate. Instead, his appointment rested solely on the discretion of Attorney General Garland.

Proponents of Trump’s stance argue that Smith’s status as a principal officer, rather than an inferior one, necessitates Senate confirmation.

They contend that his unilateral appointment by General Garland undermines his authority to prosecute the case against Trump.

In his submission, Trump asserts that the absence of a statutory or congressional mandate for the office of Special Counsel renders Smith’s appointment invalid.

Moreover, unlike traditional United States attorneys, Smith’s jurisdictional scope is not constrained.

Prior to his appointment, Smith was involved in prosecuting war crimes at the Hague, a fact that critics deem irrelevant to his current role.

The analogy drawn by Meese, likening Smith to a “naked emperor,” underscores the perceived deficiency in Smith’s appointment.

Meese’s contention, articulated in the brief submitted to the Supreme Court, equates Smith’s authority to represent the United States with that of individuals lacking governmental authority.

The debate surrounding Smith’s appointment evokes historical precedents and constitutional scrutiny.

The Ethics in Government Act of 1978, which established the appointment mechanism for special prosecutors, generated significant controversy.

Although challenged by Justice Antonin Scalia, the act was upheld by the Supreme Court.

However, the act lapsed in 1999, prompting questions about the legitimacy of subsequent appointment mechanisms.

Judge Cannon’s forthcoming decision will hinge on the interpretation of regulatory frameworks governing the appointment of Special Counsels.

Smith has until March 15 to respond to the challenge mounted against his appointment. However, Smith is not the sole prosecutor under scrutiny, as the broader implications of his appointment reverberate within the legal sphere.

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