Judge: Jack Smith Search Warrant For Trump Social Media Data Marks 'Break' From Precedent

 January 17, 2024

Special counsel Jack Smith just received good news in his latest endeavor to take down former President Donald Trump, but at least one judge on the panel hearing the matter was far from happy about the outcome.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia said no to Trump's request to prevent Smith from accessing his Twitter (now X) feed, and also said that the panel will not reconsider its decision.

The U.S. Court of Appeals released a statement on the recent ruling.

“Upon consideration of appellant’s petition for rehearing en banc, the response thereto, the amicus curiae brief filed by Electronic Frontier Foundation in support of rehearing en banc, and the absence of a request by any member of the court for a vote, it is ordered that the petition be denied,” it reads.

However, in a dissent joined by two other judges on the panel, Judge Neomi Rao blasted Smith's petition, saying that it has resulted in rulings from the court that "break with long-standing precedent and gut the constitutional protections for executive privilege."

Rao went on to asset that Smith's search warrant for the data, which was accompanied by a nondisclosure order designed to stop Twitter from alerting Trump to the search "obstructed and bypassed any assertion of executive privilege and dodged the careful balance Congress struck in the Presidential Records Act."

"The district court and this court permitted this arrangement without any consideration of the consequential executive privilege issues raised by this unprecedented search. We should not have endorsed this gambit," the scathing dissent explained.

Rao concluded, "Rather than follow established precedent, for the first time in American history, a court allowed access to presidential communications before any scrutiny of executive privilege."

Whether Trump's legal team will take the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court remains unclear.