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SCOTUS Sets April Immunity Battle: Jack Smith vs Donald Trump

Trump notches up a calendar win.

Late Wednesday, February 28, the United States Supreme Court handed former President Donald Trump a significant win by agreeing to hear his presidential immunity claims. Special counsel Jack Smith has been pursuing charges against Trump over his actions on January 6, 2021. With the justices saying they will hear the oral arguments the week of April 22, no matter how they eventually rule, it is now far more likely any criminal trial on the charges would be pushed past the November elections.

Supreme Court Calendar Victory

The timing of the case is the headline, as it should be. Predictions vary, but mid to late May seems the earliest practical time the justices would publish their ruling in the case. Prosecution plans all seem timed to or coincidentally occur with maximum negative effect on Trump’s efforts to win back the presidency. This schedule may suffocate those efforts for the January 6-related federal criminal charges.

This case had initially been scheduled to begin on March 4, one day before Super Tuesday, but now Smith’s activities in the case must cease until a ruling from the Supreme Court is delivered.

In addition to the implications of the Court’s scheduling, the justices agreed to hear it in the first place, which is no small matter. Trump lost his effort to claim his actions were immune from criminal liability because they were official acts of his office in both the District Court and the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court could have simply let the lower court order stand. Donald Trump pressed his appeal in a social media post after news broke that the Supreme Court would take his case:

“A President has to be free to determine what is right for our Country without undue pressure. If there is no Immunity, the Presidency, as we know it, will ‘no longer exist.’ Many actions for the benefit of our Country will not be taken. This is in no way what the Founders had in mind. Legal Experts and Scholars have stated that the President must have Full Presidential Immunity. A President must be free to make proper decisions. His mind must be clear, and he must not be guided by the fear of retribution!”

New banner Legal Affairs with ScottPerhaps the best measure of the impact of the Supreme Court grant was in the reaction to the news by pro-Biden media talking heads. They were devastated. Glenn Kirschner is a legal analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, who bills himself as a 30-year former federal prosecutor. His statement was demonstrative of those on the progressive left: “Let’s be clear, the Supreme Court just did Donald Trump an enormous favor (though). And in the process, they sold American democracy down the river.”

An Immunity Question

The Supreme Court explained it would take the case to resolve the question of “Whether and if so, to what extent does a former President enjoy presidential immunity from criminal prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office.” The order also forbids action on the case in lower courts and sets up a briefing schedule for the avalanche of arguments soon to be filed in Trump v. United States.

Read More From Scott D. Cosenza, Esq.

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