The Lawfare Podcast: About That Special Master Ruling

Jen Patja, Benjamin Wittes, Natalie K. Orpett, Jonathan Shaub, Anna Bower
Wednesday, September 7, 2022, 12:00 PM

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With

Monday afternoon, a federal judge in Florida acceded to Donald Trump's motion to appoint a special master to review privilege claims arising out of the Mar-a-Lago search. The ruling was not a particular surprise given that the judge had foreshadowed that it was coming, but it shocked observers nonetheless on a number of different bases. The decision raised questions of how it would affect the Justice Department's ongoing investigation of document retention at Mar-a-Lago. Would the department appeal, would it seek a stay, and who could possibly serve as special master for such a task?

Lawfare editor-in-chief Benjamin Wittes sat down before a live audience on Twitter Spaces with Lawfare executive editor Natalie Orpett, Lawfare contributing editor Jonathan Shaub, and Lawfare student contributor Anna Bower, who attended the hearing. They talked about whether the opinion is quite as outlandish as many commentators seem to think, about how the Justice Department would likely respond, and whether it could just let it stand. They also nominated their picks for special master and took questions from the audience.

Jen Patja is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.
Benjamin Wittes is editor in chief of Lawfare and a Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. He is the author of several books.
Natalie Orpett is the executive editor of Lawfare and deputy general counsel of the Lawfare Institute. She was previously an attorney at the law firm Jenner & Block, where she focused on investigations and government controversies, and also maintained an active pro bono practice. She served as civilian counsel to a defendant in the Guantanamo Military Commissions for more than eight years. She also served as counsel to the National Security and Foreign Policy Legal Team of the Biden-Harris Transition Team.
Jonathan Shaub is a contributing editor to Lawfare and an assistant professor of Law at the University of Kentucky J. David Rosenberg College of Law. He formerly served in the U.S. Department of Justice as an attorney-adviser in the Office of Legal Counsel and as a Bristow Fellow in the Solicitor General's Office.
Anna Bower is Lawfare’s Legal Fellow and Courts Correspondent. Anna holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Cambridge and a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School. She joined Lawfare as a recipient of Harvard’s Sumner M. Redstone Fellowship in Public Service. Prior to law school, Anna worked as a judicial assistant for a Superior Court judge in the Northeastern Judicial Circuit of Georgia. She also previously worked as a Fulbright Fellow at Anadolu University in Eskişehir, Turkey. A native of Georgia, Anna is based in Atlanta and Washington, D.C.

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