Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Supreme Court provides win to Trump, ruling he has immunity for many acts in election interference indictment

By 37ci3 Jul1,2024

WASHINGTON The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that Donald Trump has immunity for some of his conduct as president but not for other actions in a federal election meddling case, adding another hurdle to special counsel Jack Smith’s handling of the case. to judge.

In a potentially new case about the limits of presidential power, the justices voted 6-3 along ideological lines to reject Trump’s claim of broad immunity, meaning that charges related to his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election will not be dismissed, but as President said that some actions closely related to their main duties are prohibited to prosecutors.

“Big win for our Constitution and our democracy. Proud to be an American,” Trump wrote in all caps on Truth Social.

Donald Trump;  Jack Smith.
Donald Trump; Jack Smith.Getty Images

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, said additional proceedings in lower courts are needed to determine what conduct Trump can be prosecuted for. Among the conduct that the court has determined are core presidential powers and therefore subject to immunity are Trump’s contacts with Justice Department officials. Trump is also “presumably immune” from prosecution by his supporters for his contacts with Vice President Mike Pence in the weeks leading up to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, Roberts wrote.

The indictment alleges that Trump tried to pressure the Justice Department to investigate unsubstantiated allegations of widespread election fraud as part of a plan to keep President Joe Biden in power despite his election victory. Trump also asked Pence to refuse to certify the election results as part of his ceremonial role at a joint session of Congress on January 6.

“The president is not above the law,” Roberts wrote. “However, Congress cannot criminalize the President’s conduct in carrying out the executive branch’s responsibilities under the Constitution.”

Stay tuned for live updates on the Supreme Court verdict

What this means for future work remains to be seen. Trump’s lawyer he admitted At oral argument in April, he said at least some of the allegations in the indictment involved personal conduct not protected by any immunity defense. Likewise, a Justice Department attorney defending the special counsel’s case said the prosecution could proceed even if some official actions were preserved.

At the very least, there will be further proceedings before U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan to determine what, if any, of the other conduct alleged in the indictment is protected. Trump’s contacts with state election officials, private parties and members of the public are among the acts he will review to determine whether he is subject to immunity. Prosecutors will also have a chance to rebut the suggestion that Trump’s contacts with Pence were protected.

In another blow to Smith, the court ruled that none of Trump’s untouchable conduct could be admitted as evidence in any form of court.

The court’s three liberal justices dissented, with Justice Sonia Sotomayor saying the ruling “makes a mockery of the principle that no man is above the law, which is rooted in our Constitution and our system of government.”

He added that the Constitution “does not protect the former president from being held accountable for criminal and treasonous acts.”

“Let the president break the law, use the wealth of the office for his personal interests, use the powers of the office for evil purposes,” Sotomayor wrote. “Because if he knew that he might one day be held accountable for breaking the law, he might not be as brave and fearless as we would like him to be. That’s the majority’s message today.”

Although the new proceedings will not take much time, there is little chance that the trial will be concluded before election day. It had previously been suggested that the trial would not start for at least three months after the High Court’s decision, meaning it would potentially not start until early October. The trial process itself can last up to 12 weeks.

The case has drawn national attention to the court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority that includes three justices appointed by Trump. The court gave Trump an election-year boost when it ruled in Colorado in March could not exclude him from the vote.

The justices have also been criticized for delaying Trump’s appeal, which some see as a victory for him because it meant the trial could not go ahead as originally planned in March.

Legally, the case was unprecedented, as no president has ever been prosecuted after leaving office. Therefore, the court wrestled with a legal question that had never been before it: whether there was immunity for the president’s primary duties stemming from the constitutional principle that defines the president’s powers in relation to other powers. branches of government.

The legal argument focused on Trump’s official actions, with both sides agreeing that the former president’s personal conduct lacked immunity.

The Supreme Court intervened after a federal appeals court ruled ruled on February 6 Trump is not immune from prosecution, he said, after leaving office he is “citizen Trump” and should be treated like any other criminal defendant. The Justice Department has long argued that a sitting president cannot be impeached.

The appellate court did not analyze what conduct in the indictment could be considered an official act, a fact that irritated some justices during oral argument.

Trump’s lawyers pointed to a 1982 Supreme Court ruling that upheld the president’s immunity from civil suits when the underlying conduct involved acts within the “outer perimeter” of the president’s official responsibilities.

Smith’s team argued that there is no broad immunity that prevents former presidents from being prosecuted for crimes committed in office.

The a federal indictment was returned by a grand jury in Washington in August on four counts: conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct official proceedings, obstructing and attempting to obstruct official proceedings, and conspiracy to violate rights, particularly the right to vote.

In another case related to January 6, the court on Friday narrowed its scope a law punishing obstruction of official proceedings. Trump also faces this charge, but legal experts say the new sentence cannot affect his work.

The indictment alleges that Trump conspired to “overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election by using knowingly false allegations of election fraud to obstruct the government’s ability to collect, tally, and certify those results.”

The indictment focuses on Trump’s involvement scheme to submit fake electoral certificates to Congress in hopes of overturning President Joe Biden’s victory. The chain of events culminated in a riot at the US Capitol on January 6.

Trump, who has pleaded not guilty, says he was simply expressing unsubstantiated concerns that the election was rigged. The case is one of four criminal prosecutions Trump is currently fighting.

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By 37ci3

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