Opinion: Judge Aileen Cannon Is Unfit To Serve Due To Her Violation Of Judicial Ethics And Should Be Removed


U.S. District Court judge, Aileen Cannon, should be removed from office because she is unfit to serve due to her violation of judicial ethics in favor of Donald Trump. It is insufficient that she be simply admonished or that her decision is tossed on appeal as it was. Her decisions are so legally twisted that they undermine the very foundation of American law.

Judge Cannon is a last-minute, questionably qualified Trump nominee who wasn’t even confirmed until after Trump lost the election. The “quid” is obvious, and the “quo” is now apparent in her latest ten-page decision that improperly twists the law in favor of Trump.

First, it is very important to note that nearly all of the documents in question are the property of the U.S. government, classified or not. It’s like your work product for a company. The company owns the work they paid for. Same thing here. The government owns Trump’s work product. However, the government will return Trump’s personal property and documents that are covered by attorney/client privilege or doctor/patient privilege. Knowing this, the FBI has already identified those few documents and is not challenging their return.

Meanwhile, the federal government is immediately interested in the threat to national security caused by Trump’s theft of highly sensitive materials. The sooner the classified documents can be assessed and the threats contained, the better.

But Judge Cannon does not care about national security because she granted Trump’s request for a special master to sort through the thousands of pages of pilfered documents to decide which should be returned to Trump. Meanwhile, she forbade the FBI from using the documents to forward a criminal investigation. But without the FBI’s assistance, the national security investigation could move forward for jurisdictional and practical reasons, and Judge Cannon knows it.

The judge cited legal precedent for using a special master, then twisted the facts to fit the standards. The legal precedent presumes that the property seized belongs to the plaintiff. Trump owns little of the documents, and what he does own, the FBI returned or offered to return. So Judge Cannon was obviously wrong in even entertaining the request for a special master.

But the most egregious portion of the Order is the judge’s obvious attempt to assist Trump due to his status as former President. There is no legal basis for such special treatment as Trump is now a private citizen and subject to no better or worse treatment than anyone else. By placing Trump above the law, Judge Cannon violated four of the five cannons of judicial ethics.

Judge Cannon’s lack of integrity, impartiality, and independence are clear ethical violations. Her decision resounds in political influence and the appearance of impropriety. How else are we to view the Order that attempts to create one standard for private citizen Trump that otherwise does not apply to anyone else?

Attorneys of all political stripes have mocked the decision. Former Attorney General Barr said on Fox News that he couldn’t think of a legitimate reason why Trump took the documents. He further stated that Trump’s request for a special master was a “red herring” and that appointment of a special master was “a waste of time,” noting that the Department of Justice already has sufficient evidence to indict Trump.

Fortunately for the future of legal sanity, the Special Master, Judge Raymond Dearie, has already begun the job of bringing a correct application of the law to the matter. He correctly noted that as Plaintiff, Trump has the burden of proof to bring evidence that any portion of the documents should be returned to Trump. Trump has provided zero proof that any document has been, in fact, declassified.

On appeal, the 11th Circuit further stayed Cannon’s Order as it applied to the classified material and upheld the Justice Department’s requested use of the classified material. A three-judge panel that included two Trump appointees roundly trashed Cannon’s decision, giving additional credence to the idea that Cannon should be removed.

Judge Cannon is a Trump stooge who has clearly shown improper bias. Therefore, we hope that she is properly removed from office in accordance with Article III of the Constitution when the “bad behavior” standard is applied with deserved vigor.