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Monday, July 1, 2024


Amy Howe, Justices rule Trump has some immunity from prosecution, SCOTUSblog (Jul. 1, 2024, 12:26 PM), -has-some-immunity-from-prosecution /

In a historic decision, a divided Supreme Court on Monday ruled that former presidents can never be prosecuted for actions relating to the core powers of their office, and that there is at least a presumption that they have immunity for their official acts more broadly.

The decision left open the possibility that the charges brought against former President Donald Trump by Special Counsel Jack Smith – alleging that Trump conspired to overturn the results of the 2020 election – can still go forward to the extent that the charges are based on his private conduct, rather than his official acts.

The case now returns to the lower courts for them to determine whether the conduct at the center of the charges against Trump was official or unofficial – an inquiry that, even if it leads to the conclusion that the charges can proceed, will almost certainly further delay any trial in the case, which had originally been scheduled to begin on March 4, 2024 but is currently on hold.

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts emphasized that the president “is not above the law.” But Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in a dissent joined by Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson, countered that if a future president “misuses official power for personal gain, the criminal law that the rest of us must abide will not provide a backstop.”