Will Jack Smith Try to Have Judge Cannot Disqualified?

By Jerry McConway, updated on March 20, 2024

Donald Trump has one judge who could be deemed friendly in his federal cases.

Several legal pundits are now suggesting that based on Judge Cannon's ruling history, Special Counsel Jack Smith may try to disqualify her from the case.

Talking Points…
- Cannon being scrutinized
- Jack Smith's move to disqualify… what the experts are saying
- Analysis

Judge Cannon Scrutinized Over Rulings in Case

Judge Aileen Cannon was going to take some heat in this case regardless of what she did solely because she was appointed to the bench by Donald Trump when he was president. Any ruling that even remotely helped Trump would be criticized. Cannon then made several rulings that were deemed questionable by liberal legal pundits.

One of the first decisions she made in the case raises some eyebrows. After the FBI raid at Trump's Mar-a-Lago club, Judge Cannon appointed an independent arbiter to review the documents. But what got everyone's attention was that the case was paused while the documents were reviewed. This was deemed a favor to Trump to help him delay the case, regardless of what Cannon's actual intent was by doing this.

When the appellate court reviewed that decision, Cannon received a thrashing from the panel, as they unanimously ruled to reverse her decision and noted that they believed Cannon had granted a "special exception" for Trump. Since then, she has made several other decisions that have brought even more scrutiny, so many believe she is ripe to be removed from the case if Smith decides to go that route.

Experts Believe Cannon Will Be Removed from the Case

Special Counsel Jack Smith has clearly been frustrated by just about every ruling that Cannon has issued, so now legal experts believe he may make a move to have her disqualified in the case. Florida state attorney Dave Aronberg is among those who believe this move is coming from Smith. He stated:

"My head is spinning because this is sort of an incomprehensible order by Judge Cannon.

"First off, she's asking for jury instructions on a case that will not be heard before the November election, and so what is the rush?"

He later added:

"And then she set forth two different hypotheticals for the parties to engage in when it comes to jury instructions, but these jury instructions are really favorable to Donald Trump. Essentially, you have two choices, Jack: heads, Donald Trump wins, and tails, you lose. So either way, this is just something that Jack Smith is not going to be able to take.

"He's going to have to go to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals … and try and get this whole thing changed unless Judge Cannon will do it herself. And eventually this could lead to Jack Smith pushing the red button to try and get her disqualified for the case. For a lot of people, it's been a long time coming."

Former Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Weissmann was far harsher in his criticisms of Cannon, believing that she is tanking the case in Trump's favor, stating that "she has consistently been getting the law wrong and always in favor of Donald Trump." He added:

"It's very, very hard to not view her as both a neophyte and partisan. This is going to lead to, I'm sure, some very deep thinking on Jack Smith and his team's part about how and when to take her up to the 11th circuit. At what point is it a bridge too far?

"There was a ruling last week where she again tried to avoid making a ruling so that she couldn't be appealed. There's a whole variety of things that are building up. This is something to keep an eye on as to what Jack Smith does. It's clear at this point, they have to do something given the very bizarre nature of her most recent ruling."

Analysis

My guess here is that Smith is saving her removal for a last-ditch effort because he knows if he has her removed from the case, it will look like he has only done so because Trump appointed her. Smith will have to have a very strong case to have Cannon disqualified, but if he does, that will set the case back even further, so I am not sure he is ready to use that card just yet.

Having said that, his frustration was evident after Cannon's last round of rulings, so Smith may soon feel that he has no choice but to file a motion to have her recused from the case and possibly brought before a review panel. If that happens, it would be a disaster for Trump. As I have stated before, the Smith cases are the ones that scare me for Trump, as I believe Smith has crafted these cases in a way that all but ensures Trump being found guilty of at least one charge. The only positive outcome from this that I would see in that scenario would be having the case delayed beyond the general election, which would be a major win for Trump.

About Jerry McConway

Jerry McConway is an independent political author and investigator who lives in Dallas, Texas. He has spent years building a strong following of readers who know that he will write what he believes is true, even if it means criticizing politicians his followers support. His readers have come to expect his integrity.

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