Jack Smith To Face U.S. District Court

(RightWing.org) – US District Court Judge Aileen Cannon recently scheduled oral arguments for June 21 on Donald Trump’s motion to dismiss the Mar-a-Lago indictment based on claims Attorney General Merrick Garland unlawfully appointed special counsel Jack Smith. Cannon’s paperless order also granted permission for three non-parties to participate in the hearing. The former president’s lawyers hope the judge will rule in their favor, effectively killing the case before it gets to trial.

The Trump and amici briefs mounted three main arguments against Smith’s appointment. The first, which includes former Attorney General Ed Meese and Federal Society co-founder Steve Calabresi, argues that Smith operates as a principal officer as a special counsel, which requires presidential nomination and Senate confirmation.

The second pro-Trump brief, presented by legal scholar Seth B. Tillman, noted dozens of references to an 1879 SCOTUS ruling involving the prosecution of a surgeon who had performed piecemeal work for the US government. The amicus argues that Smith is neither a principal nor an inferior officer due to the temporary nature of his appointment. Ergo, Smith is a DOJ employee who exercised too much power as a non-officer.

The Tillman brief conceded that the Trump prosecution might not need to be dismissed if the court ruled Garland improperly appointed Smith under the “de facto officer” doctrine.

Trump’s attorneys’ brief argued that Smith is an inferior officer with no statutory authority for his appointment. Therefore, his designation and continuing actions as special counsel lack constitutional authority.

While it remains unclear whether Trump’s motion will prevail, the odds are stacked against it happening. For instance, the US Supreme Court and the District of Columbia Court of Appeals have rejected the former president’s claims and those presented by the two non-government amicus briefs.

In 1974, SCOTUS upheld the appointment of the Watergate special prosecutor under the same federal statutes used by Garland in US v. Nixon (1974). In 1987, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals issued a similar ruling rejecting claims the appointment of Iran Contra Independent Council Lawrence Walsh lacked legal merit.

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