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Supreme Court Will Rule on Trump Immunity Claims

Donald Trump Immunity
Trump claims that, without immunity, “Presidents will always be concerned, and even paralyzed.” Credit: Gage Skidmore. CC BY-2.0/Flickr

The Supreme Court will decide if former President Donald Trump has immunity from prosecution on charges of trying to overturn the 2020 election.

The 6-3 conservative majority court decided on Wednesday to hear Trump’s claims that he should be shielded from criminal liability.

A US Court of Appeals panel has already rejected his argument that he enjoys presidential immunity. Trump had claimed in the landmark legal case that he was immune from all criminal charges for acts he said fell within his duties as president.

However, the appeals court ruled unanimously against the 77-year-old, writing that: “We cannot accept former President Trump’s claim that a president has unbounded authority to commit crimes that would neutralize the most fundamental check on executive power – the recognition and implementation of election results.”

He appealed the case to the Supreme Court and asked to put that decision on hold.

On his Truth Social site, Trump welcomed Wednesday’s decision and contended that, without immunity, “Presidents will always be concerned, and even paralyzed, by the prospect of wrongful prosecution and retaliation after they leave office.”

“This could actually lead to the extortion and blackmail of a President,” he wrote.

Trial could be delayed

Trump was charged last year with witness tampering and conspiracy to defraud the US in federal court in Washington DC over his attempts to overturn his 2020 election loss to Joe Biden.

Jack Smith, who was appointed as special counsel in the investigation, brought the charges against him and pushed for the trial to be held this year. The Supreme Court’s decision has the potential to seriously delay the trial, which was originally scheduled for March.

Arguments in the Supreme Court case are scheduled for the week of April 22nd, and any trial will have to wait until after a decision is made.

Although a decision could come swiftly, the justices might rule that the former President is immune from prosecution or issue a decision that further delays legal action.

Justice Department guidelines limit prosecutorial action in politically sensitive investigations from within sixty days of an election, meaning prosecutors face a deadline of early September.

Trump faces several charges

The Republican front-runner candidate for president is facing a host of other federal and state criminal charges.

The former President is facing a trial starting in late March on charges of falsifying business records over hush-money payment he made to a porn star.

The Supreme Court is also hearing arguments in a separate case weighing whether Trump can be disqualified from running for a second term under the 14th Amendment’s “insurrection ban.”

Trump has pleaded not guilty in all cases, frequently referring to them as political “witch hunts.”

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