Tabling Impeachment, Dems Drop High Court Fight Over Mueller Records

Former special counsel Robert Mueller testifies on July 24, 2019, before the House Intelligence Committee. (Screenshot via Courthouse News)

WASHINGTON (CN) — It had been set to hear the case next month, but the U.S. Supreme Court sidelined arguments Friday on the secret grand jury materials behind former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Citing the electoral college victory of President-elect Joe Biden, the House Judiciary Committee asked the high court on Tuesday to remove the argument from its December calendar.

Though they note that investigations into Trump’s misconduct remain ongoing, Democrats say the Judiciary Committee will need to reevaluate its pursuit of the 400 pages of grand jury information come in the new year. President Donald Trump’s Justice Department did not oppose the request, and the justices removed the argument in a Friday order list. 

It was the Justice Department that had sought Supreme Court intervention, securing a temporary stay on the materials’ release after the D.C. Circuit ordered them disclosed in March.

House Democrats had previously argued that grand jury materials are paramount to future impeachment proceedings.

In addition to scrubbing the grand jury records case, Friday’s order list includes writs of certiorari to two cases, one of which stems from a traffic stop on land belonging to the Crow Tribe of Indians in Montana.

The petition notes that tribal police officer James Saylor was driving on the highway late at night when he noticed a truck with heavily tinted windows parked on the shoulder of the road, lights on and engine running.

Joshua Cooley, the driver, allegedly first caught the officer’s interest with his watery and bloodshot eyes. As Saylor questioned the man further, he also also observed two semiautomatic firearms in the front passenger seat.

Cooley was arrested and a further search of the truck turned up a loaded semiautomatic pistol, along with methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

Though Cooley was then indicted on federal charges, the Ninth Circuit affirmed that the evidence Saylor had gathered from the traffic stop was inadmissible because Cooley was not a member of the tribe.

Per its custom, the Supreme Court did not issue any comment Friday in taking up the government’s case to revive Cooley’s prosecution.

The second case that the court agreed Friday to hear involves a Rhode Island man who had to bring a federal lawsuit to win back the guns taken from him as part of a wellness check.

Edward Caniglia, 68, seeks to revive claims that the warrantless entry into his home and seizure of his property violated the Fourth Amendment.

Though a federal judge found that Caniglia’s due-process rights had been violated, the court also said that the “community caretaking” exception covered the warrantless entry and seizures.

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