Trump requests Supreme Court block January 6 document release
© WikiMedia (US Capitol)
Trump requests Supreme Court block January 6 document release

Former President Donald Trump appealed to the Supreme Court Thursday to block the release of certain documents to the House of Representatives January 6th Committee. In the course of its investigation, the Committee requested presidential records related to the events of January 6th, 2021, and Trump’s claims of election fraud. Trump argues that a federal court should grant his request for a preliminary injunction despite President Joe Biden’s decision to not invoke executive privilege to protect the documents.

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia unanimously ruled last month that Trump “provided no basis” for the court to reject Biden’s decision. Furthermore, the panel found that Trump “failed to establish a likelihood of success given President [Joe] Biden’s carefully reasoned and cabined determination that a claim of executive privilege [was] not in the interest of the United States, and therefore [was] not justified as to any of the documents.” Establishing a likelihood of success on the merits is a key element of obtaining a preliminary injunction.

Under the Presidential Records Act (PRA), the National Archives of the US is responsible for records of former presidents. The National Archives shall release records “requested by either House of Congress or a committee acting within its jurisdiction” if the information is necessary and not otherwise available.

In a nearly 200-page petition for a writ of certiorari, Trump and his attorneys argue that the Committee’s request violates constitutional provisions and laws “entitling” Trump to an injunction, including the PRA. The former president claims that the congressional request is “untethered” from a “valid legislative interest.”  The appeals court ruled that Congress in fact has a “uniquely vital interest” in investigating the January 6, 2021 riot and “comfortably” meets the standard in the PRA.

Trump hopes the Supreme Court will choose to hear his case during the current term and “cleanly and objectively” reject the lower court rulings.