Home News Supreme Court set to hear arguments over Trump immunity in Jan. 6...

Supreme Court set to hear arguments over Trump immunity in Jan. 6 election interference case

The conservative Supreme Court is poised to hear oral arguments on Thursday over former President Donald Trump’s explosive claim that former presidents have blanket immunity from criminal prosecution for acts taken while in office.

The hearing marks a critical milestone as the nation waits to see if Trump will face accountability for the sprawling plot to overturn his loss in the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Special Counsel Jack Smith’s team of prosecutors will argue that nothing in the Constitution or any law says former presidents cannot be charged and tried for alleged criminal acts carried out while they were in the White House.

Trump counters that he cannot be charged for doing his job as president, which he claims included casting doubt on the election results.

He also asserts that a former president would need to be convicted by a Senate impeachment trial before facing criminal charges, although most legal analysts scoff at that claim.

The Supreme Court is seen in Washington, March 7, 2024. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
The Supreme Court. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Trump was originally scheduled to go on trial March 4 and District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan had vowed to give the nation a result before the presidential election.

The case, which is widely considered the most consequential of Trump’s four pending cases, has been stalled ever since by his appeals.

The Supreme Court, including three justices appointed by Trump, is not expected to make any ruling immediately. It could rule anytime but most likely won’t say anything till the end of its term around June 30.

The nine justices have already boosted the former president by slow-walking the case. It rejected Smith’s request to take up Trump’s appeal immediately, instead shunting it first to an appeals court, which firmly slam-dunked Trump’s claims.

Even if the top court sides with Smith, a trial would be unlikely to start until Labor Day at the earliest because Chutkan has said she would give Trump extra time to prepare.

The justices could also refuse to issue a comprehensive ruling and instead send it back to Chutkan for more deliberations, possibly on whether Trump’s alleged misdeeds could be considered official acts.

Even if he loses his appeal, Trump hopes to delay any trial until after the election. A win against President Biden could result in Trump pressuring the Justice Department to drop the federal cases against him.

The hearing starts at 10 a.m. — at the same time as Trump sits in a Manhattan courtroom for his criminal hush money case — and could go on for about two hours. There is no video allowed.

The justices will likely pepper lawyers on both sides with probing questions and even outlandish hypothetical scenarios in hopes of getting to the bottom of their arguments.

Trump’s lawyers will likely echo his claims that allowing former presidents to be charged could open the floodgates to political tit-for-tat cases over presidential actions like ordering military actions.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here