Donald Trump's Challenge to Jan. 6 Committee Could Be Decided by His Supreme Court

Former President Donald Trump will appeal a ruling by a federal district court judge who found that he could not shield documents from the House select committee investigating January 6.

That appeal could well end up before the U.S. Supreme Court as both sides look set to challenge any adverse ruling that might be handed down.

The Supreme Court's 6-3 conservative majority, with three justices nominated by Trump, would then have to make a final decision. Those justices—Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett—may also come under pressure to recuse themselves if the matter comes before them.

Judge Tanya Chutkan of the U.S District Court for D.C. issued a 39-page ruling on Tuesday, finding against the former president in his lawsuit against the chair of the House select committee, Rep. Bennie Thompson.

Trump's legal team has declared that it plans to appeal Chutkan's ruling in the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

The former president's attorney, Jesse Binnall, had sought an injunction from Chutkan on Monday night to block the National Archives from handing over the documents.

Binnall told the court on Monday that he would appeal a ruling that did not find in favor of the former president and an injunction should be granted on that basis.

"If injunctive relief is refused, the National Archives and Records Administration will produce records before judicial review is complete and before President Trump has had the opportunity to be fully and fairly heard," Binnall said.

This request came before Chutkan had issued her ruling and she denied the injunction on procedural grounds.

Although the documents requested by the select committee could be delivered by David Ferriero, the Archivist of the United States, by Friday, Chutkan said she would consider an application for a stay from the losing party. The judge could issue an injunction in the coming days.

If Chutkan does not issue an injunction, it is likely that Trump will request one from the Court of Appeals.

It is possible that the Court of Appeals will choose to grant an injunction under those circumstances and while litigation is pending. Such an injunction would delay the select committee's access to the documents.

Thompson and the other members of the select committee are seeking the documents relating to January 6 and may take their case to the Supreme Court if Trump wins on appeal.

Arguments before the nation's highest court are likely to feature the landmark 1977 decision in Nixon v. General Services Administration, when the court ruled 7-2 that the Presidential Recordings and Materials Preservation Act of 1974 did not violate the principle of executive privilege, among other matters.

Judge Chutkan drew heavily on Nixon v. General Services Administration in her written opinion.

At the time the case was decided, four justices on the Supreme Court had been nominated by former President Richard Nixon and none of them recused themselves from the case.

Two of those justices ruled against him, joining the majority opinion in part but not in full. The two others dissented from the majority in Nixon's favor, including Chief Justice Warren Burger.

Donald Trump Attends Amy Coney Barret's Swearing-In
U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett participates in a ceremonial swearing-in event as President Donald Trump looks on at the White House on October 26, 2020. The Supreme Court may have to rule on Trump's challenge to the House select committee's request for documents. Alex Wong/Getty Images