Top NewsSupreme Court: What to know about Trump's immunity ruling

Supreme Court: What to know about Trump’s immunity ruling

WASHINGTON (AP) — The of the Supreme Court Monday’s ruling in former President Donald Trump’s 2020 election interference case confirms the Republican won’t face trial in Washington ahead of the November election.

The Supreme Court didn’t dismiss — as Trump wanted — Accusation He illegally planned to cling to power after losing to President Joe Biden. But the ruling is still a major victory for the Republican presidential nominee, whose legal strategy has focused on delaying the proceedings until after the election.

The timing of the trial is important because if Trump defeats Biden, he could appoint an attorney general who would have to dismiss the case and other federal cases he faces. Or Trump could apologize for himself.

Shortly after the results were announced, Trump posted in all caps on his social media network: “Big win for our Constitution and democracy. Proud to be an American!”

In remarks Monday evening, Biden said the court did a “terrible disservice” to the American people, who he says deserve to know the outcome of the case before they go to the polls.

“The American people will have to make a judgment about Donald Trump’s behavior,” Biden said. “The American people must decide whether Trump’s attack on our democracy on Jan. 6 disqualifies him for public office.”

Here’s a look at the verdict and what comes next:



The court’s conservative majority held that former presidents have absolute immunity from prosecution for official acts that fall within their “exclusive sphere of constitutional authority” and can infer the right to immunity for all official acts. They do not enjoy immunity for unofficial, or private acts.

Meaning of judgment Special Counsel Jack Smith Significant allegations in the indictment cannot be sustained – or at least protected against their use in future proceedings before the trial judge.

For example, the justices dismissed Smith’s allegations that Trump tried to use the Justice Department’s investigative powers to overturn the election results.

The justices sent the case back to U.S. District Judge Tanya Sudkan, who will “carefully examine” whether the other allegations involve official misconduct.

One of the issues for further analysis is Trump’s relentlessness Then-Vice President Mike Pence’s badger Do not certify election votes on January 6, 2021. The justices said Trump’s interactions with Pence “ultimately bear the government’s burden to rebut the presumption of immunity.”

The order also led to further analysis of various so-called Twitter posts Trump made on X — as well as his speech to supporters — Until the riots at the US Capitol. Judges determining whether those communications represent official and unofficial acts “may depend on the content and context of each” and therefore require additional scrutiny.

Fake voters scheme

Jurors had to make new fact-finding on one of the most shocking charges in the indictment — that Trump participated in a scheme orchestrated by allies. List of fraudulent voters in battleground states Biden won those states, falsely certifying that Trump had won them.

The Trump team argued that the selection of alternate electors was in line with Trump’s presidential interest in the fairness and proper administration of federal elections, and cited an episode he said took place in a disputed election in 1876 as precedent.

The Smith group, in contrast, portrayed the plan as a purely private activity that did not involve the president’s responsibility.

The conservative justices did not answer the question of which side was right in their majority opinion, instead saying, “Whose character is right, with respect to what conduct, requires a close analysis of the detailed and interrelated allegations of the indictment.”

Unlike Trump’s dealings with the Justice Department, the judges said, “this alleged conduct cannot be neatly classified as falling within the purview of a particular president. The required analysis is indeed specific, requiring the evaluation of multiple alleged interactions with various types of government officials and private individuals.


Three liberal justices — Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Katanji Brown Jackson — were critical of the majority’s opinion in sharp dissents. Sotomayor delivered a dramatic speech as he read his rebuttal from the bench, at times shaking his head and gritting his teeth, saying the conservative majority had wrongly singled out the US president as a “king above the law”.

“Isn’t there a contradiction? Whoever is in charge of enforcing the laws can now break them,” Sodomeyer said.

The dissenting justices said the majority decision freed presidents from actions such as ordering Navy SEALs to kill a political rival, orchestrating a military coup to retain power or accepting bribes in exchange for a pardon.

“Even if these nightmare scenarios never come to light, and I pray they never do, the damage has been done. The relationship between the president and the people he serves has been irrevocably changed. In every exercise of official power, the president is now a king above the law,” Sotomayor wrote.

In a separate dissenting opinion, Jackson said the majority’s ruling “breaks new and dangerous ground.”

“Simply stated: for the first time in history the Court has now declared that the most powerful authority in America (under circumstances not yet fully determined) can become a law unto itself,” Jackson wrote.

The majority opinion accused the liberal justices of “fear mongering” and striking “a tone of doom that is completely out of step with what the Court is actually doing today.”

What comes next

The case will now return to Sudkhan. The trial was said to begin in March, but the case has been put on hold since December to allow Trump to pursue his appeal. Sutkan indicated at the time that he would give both sides at least three months to prepare for trial once the case returns to his court.

If the Supreme Court — like lower courts — had ruled that Trump was not immune from prosecution, it left the door open for the case to go to trial before the election.

But the Supreme Court’s ruling that Sudkhan should conduct additional investigations is expected to end months of legal wrangling over whether the actions in the indictment are official or unofficial.

Trump’s other cases

Trump was there Convicted in May for 34 offences Sentencing is scheduled for July 11 at his money trial in New York. The falsified business registration charges are punishable by up to four years in prison, but there’s no guarantee Trump will get jail time. Other possibilities include fines or probation.

It seems almost certain Trump’s other two criminal cases No investigation before election.

An appeals court recently dismissed Trump’s Georgia 2020 election interference case A lower court reviews a judge’s decision Fulton County District Attorney Fannie Willis was allowed to proceed in the case. No trial date has been set in the case. Trump’s lawyers have given the president immunity, even though there has been no verdict in that case.

Trump was scheduled to go on trial in May in another case filed by Smith Secret documents found at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate after leaving the White House. But as the case became mired in legal complications, U.S. District Judge Eileen Cannon canceled the trial date. She’s not planning a new one yet. That case, too, involved the Trump team’s claim of immunity, which prosecutors denied.

last week, Canon set the stage for further delay By agreeing to reconsider another judge’s ruling that allowed critical evidence related to Trump’s obstruction of justice charges to be introduced into the case.

One of Cannon’s arguments — that Smith was illegally appointed and the case should be dismissed — got little traction in the Supreme Court.

Justice Clarence Thomas issued a separate concurrence that Smith’s appointment was improper, but no other judge signed it.


Associated Press correspondents in New York, Michelle L. Price, Kate Brumback in Atlanta and Stephen Groves in Washington contributed.

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