‘Big win!’ Supreme Court affirms Trump has ‘absolute immunity’ for ‘official’ acts

Hours after delivering a message on the need for “STRONG IMMUNITY” for a president, the Supreme Court handed the GOP leader a “BIG WIN” to close out an overtime term.

Since Special Counsel Jack Smith brought forward federal indictments against former President Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee maintained his actions on election integrity that led up to Jan. 6, 2021, were done in his capacity as chief executive. Monday, after extending the term beyond its June end for a final session, the Supreme Court affirmed “absolute” immunity from prosecution for “official acts” in a 6-3 decision.

Writing for the majority, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts said in part, “The President enjoys no immunity for his unofficial acts, and not everything the President does is official. 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.”

“And the system of separated powers designed by the Framers,” stipulated Roberts, “has always demanded an energetic, independent Executive. The President therefore may not be prosecuted for exercising his core constitutional powers, and he is entitled, at a minimum, to a presumptive immunity from prosecution for his official acts.”

“That immunity applies equally to all occupants of the Oval Office, regardless of politics, policy, or party,” he added.

Monday, Trump reacted to the decision on Truth Social by simply stating, “BIG WIN FOR OUR CONSTITUTION AND DEMOCRACY. PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN!”

That post followed a message Sunday where he had argued, “Without Presidential Immunity, a President of the United States literally could not function! It should be a STRONG IMMUNITY, where proper decisions can be made, where our Country can be POWERFUL and THRIVE, and where Opponents cannot hold up and extort a Future President for Political Gain. It is a BIG decision, an important decision, a decision which can affect the Success or Failure of our Country for decades to come. We want a GREAT Country, not a weak, withering, and ineffective one. STRONG PRESIDENTIAL IMMUNITY IS A MUST!”

In his own concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas took aim at Smith’s role in prosecuting Trump and the capacity of Attorney General Merrick Garland to permit such an act as he stated in part, “…I am not sure that any office for the Special Counsel has been ‘established by Law,’ as the Constitution requires.”

“If there is no law establishing the office that the Special Counsel occupies, then he cannot proceed with this prosecution,” Thomas went on to argue. “A private citizen cannot criminally prosecute anyone, let alone a former President.”

Meanwhile, the dissent, authored by Justice Sonia Sotomayor and joined by Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson, advanced allegations that Trump had committed “criminal and treasonous acts,” barring him from immunity protections and went as far as to determine, “The relationship between the President and the people he serves has shifted irrevocably. In every use of official power, the President is now a king above the law.”

Referencing extreme arguments that had been posed during a hearing in April, Sotomayor presented a “nightmare scenario” where the president could order U.S. Navy SEALs to execute his political rival or organize “a military coup to hold onto power,” while, by her analysis, potentially remaining immune.

“With fear for our democracy,” she concluded, “I dissent.”

Monday’s opinion resulted in the earlier decision by a Washington, D.C. federal judge to be vacated, opening the door for further appeals from Trump’s legal team expected to, at the very least, stave off the 2020 election case until well after Election Day 2024, if it ever begins at all.

It remained up to the lower court to determine what, if any, of the president’s alleged conduct would remain immunized as Roberts indicated, “We accordingly remand to the District Court to determine in the first instance — with the benefit of briefing we lack — whether Trump’s conduct in this area qualifies as official or unofficial.”

Kevin Haggerty

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