An appeals court ordered an administrative stay of a gag order on former President Donald Trump in his federal election interference case, a surprising development Friday afternoon.
The move was made by a three-judge panel consisting of two judges appointed by former President Barack Obama and one appointed by President Joe Biden. They gave Trump’s team until Tuesday to argue why the gag order should remain in place throughout his appeal.
The gag order was put in place by Judge Tanya Chutkan, who barred Trump from speech targeting those involved in the case on the basis that his speech put them in danger. Trump has argued that the gag order is a violation of his First Amendment rights.
Mike Davis, a former chief counsel for then-Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and founder of the Article III Project, posted: “Just to keep your expectations in line, this is merely a temporary tactical retreat by the Marxists.”
2 Obama judges and a Biden judge on the DC federal appellate court just put a temporary pause on Biden special counsel Jack Smith and DC Obama Judge Tanya Chutkan's blatantly unconstitutional gag order on Trump. pic.twitter.com/9HPuTs6LJ3
— 🇺🇸 Mike Davis 🇺🇸 (@mrddmia) November 3, 2023
In an interview with Breitbart News, Davis explained what the move meant.
“The DC Circuit put a temporary hold on Obama Judge Tanya Chutkan’s blatantly unconstitutional gag order on President Trump. This means that the three-judge panel of Democrat judges will decide this issue after they hear oral arguments on this issue on an expedited basis, and they’ll probably have a ruling before the end of before Thanksgiving,” he said.
“I think this is a tactical retreat by these Democrat judges. They know that Jack Smith and Tanya Chutkan’s gag order is blatantly illegal, blatantly unconstitutional. They know it’s going to get vacated by the Supreme Court and so this is a tactical retreat with this temporary stay by the DC Circuit,” he said.
Davis said he did think, however, the D.C. Circuit will modify her gag order, not reject it outright.
“It’s still going to be illegal, but it’s not going to be as blatant,” he said. “I think it’s going to be more narrow and more specific because Judge Chutkan’s order is an illegal prior restraint on Trump’s first amendment free speech rights. It is both overly broad and vague. And frankly, it’s lawless.”
“The First Amendment protects Americans, including criminal defendants, not the government, like prosecutor Jack Smith. The 6th Amendment protects criminal defendants’ right to a fair trial. There is no right for the government to have a fair trial,” he added.
“This is an illegal prior restraint on a criminal defendant. If anyone in the world needs the constitutional right to speak out against the prosecutor, judge, court staff, witnesses and process, it’s the criminal defendants. This is this is blatantly illegal, obviously unconstitutional and it’s unAmerican. We don’t gag criminal defendants in America,” he said.