You no doubt heard or saw or read that a three-judge federal appeals court threw out part of the ruling that barred federal investigators from using classified documents in Trump’s home. Two of the three judges were Trump appointees.

Blogger Ryan Grim explains what a setback this ruling was for District Judge Aileen Cannon, whose decision to appoint a special master to review thousands of documents and to bar federal investigators the power to use highly classified documents was puzzling to many legal experts.

There was no reason to believe that highly classified documents were Trump’s personal property or covered by executive privilege.

Grim writes:

You’ve probably seen by now that a federal appeals court has sided against former President Trump and allowed the government to start looking at its own classified information again. News reports have described the ruling as “strongly worded,” but I don’t think that really gets at it effectively. Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsberg used to write “strongly worded” opinions. This reads more like disappointed professors correcting a student who clearly hadn’t been doing the reading or paying attention in class.

Rather than engage in any sophisticated legal reasoning or deep exploration of precedent, the judges here – two appointed by Trump and one appointed by Obama – simply laid out how and why Judge Cannon wasn’t even remotely close to being right in appointing a “special master” to review these documents.

I won’t run through the full 29-page ruling, but here’s a fairly representative moment from it. In order to seize the power needed to appoint a special master, Cannon had to explain how Trump would be irreparably harmed if she didn’t intervene. What she came up with is head-scratching even to non-lawyers like me. The harm to Trump, she argued, is that he might be prosecuted.

On a law school test, you can imagine a professor reading an answer like that and shaking their head.

That’s just plain silly, writes Grim.

Nobody wants to be prosecuted, but the harm of prosecution doesn’t give you extraordinary rights like access to a special master. Can you imagine a defendant telling a judge they can’t show up for a court date because doing so could lead to irreparable harm, namely their own prosecution?