Supreme Court rules on Trump presidential immunity case

On Monday, the Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling in the case of Trump v. United States, determining that a former president has significant immunity from prosecution for official acts carried out while in office. However, this immunity does not extend to unofficial acts.

In a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court remanded the case to a lower court, avoiding a direct ruling on whether 45th President Trump is immune from prosecution for actions related to the 2020 election results.

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, stated, “The President enjoys no immunity for his unofficial acts, and not everything the President does is official.” He emphasized, “The President is not above the law. But Congress may not criminalize the President’s conduct in carrying out the responsibilities of the Executive Branch under the Constitution.”

The decision comes in the context of Special Counsel Jack Smith’s federal election interference case against Trump. The charges include conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction and attempted obstruction of an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights. These charges are linked to Trump’s alleged involvement in the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot and efforts to overturn the 2020 election results. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges, asserting that he should be immune from prosecution for actions taken as president.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in her dissent joined by Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson, criticized the majority’s decision, saying it “makes a mockery of the principle, foundational to our Constitution and system of Government, that no man is above the law.” She argued, “Relying on little more than its own misguided wisdom about the need for ‘bold and unhesitating action’ by the President … the Court gives [45th] President Trump all the immunity he asked for and more.”

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a separate concurrence highlighting concerns about the appointment of Jack Smith as Special Counsel, suggesting it might violate constitutional requirements. Thomas pointed out that “the Attorney General purported to appoint a private citizen as Special Counsel to prosecute a [45th] President on behalf of the United States,” raising questions about the legality of such an appointment.

In response to the ruling, Trump, in an exclusive interview with Fox News Digital, stated, “I have been harassed by the Democrat Party, Joe Biden, Obama and their thugs, fascists, and communists for years, and now the courts have spoken. This is a big win for our Constitution and for democracy. Now I am free to campaign like anyone else.”

The Supreme Court heard arguments from Trump attorney John Sauer and Justice Department attorney Michael Dreeben, representing Special Counsel Jack Smith, on whether presidents should have “absolute immunity.” Justice Samuel Alito expressed concern about the implications of prosecuting a former president, suggesting it could destabilize the democratic process. In contrast, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson raised concerns about the potential for future presidents to commit crimes without fear of prosecution.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh emphasized the long-term significance of the court’s decision, noting, “This will have huge implications for the presidency.” Justice Neil Gorsuch added, “We’re writing a rule for, yes, for the ages.”

This ruling follows a separate decision by a New York jury that found Trump guilty of falsifying business records in the first degree, stemming from an investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

The Supreme Court’s decision underscores the ongoing legal and political battles surrounding 45th President Trump, as he continues to face multiple legal challenges while leading in polls for the upcoming presidential election.

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