Moment of Truth: Supreme Court to hear arguments on Trump’s presidential immunity claims

2X1DCWJ New York, United States. 16th Apr, 2024. Former President Donald Trump awaits the start of criminal proceedings on the second day of jury selection at Manhattan criminal court in New York on Tuesday, April 16, 2024. Trump is facing 34 felony criminal charges alleging he falsified business records to cover up a sex scandal during the 2016 campaign. Pool photo by Mary Altaffer/UPI Credit: UPI/Alamy Live News

Photo: Alamy

A major hearing in President Donald J. Trump’s second case at the U.S. Supreme Court this term is right around the corner. On Thursday, April 25, Justices will hear arguments about the scope of Trump’s presidential immunity protections in Donald J. Trump v. United States.

The decision that follows will determine whether Trump can be tried on Special Prosecutor Jack Smith’s criminal charges that the 45th president conspired to overturn the 2020 election results.

At the center of the presidential immunity case, Justices wrote in an unsigned order issued on Feb. 28 that they would evaluate the following question: “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.”

In the same order, the Supreme Court directed the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals to keep on hold its ruling rejecting Trump’s presidential immunity until the Court issues a formal decision. The order noted that this hold should not be expressive of the Court’s view of the “merits” of Trump’s claims, according to SCOTUSBlog.

The Supreme Court made this decision in response to a request for a stay of the appeals court ruling from Trump’s legal team on Feb. 12.

This comes after the D.C. Circuit on Feb. 6 upheld U.S. Judge Tanya Chutkan’s decision to deny Trump’s motion to dismiss the charges against him based on presidential immunity, per SCOTUSBlog. This ruling would also have allowed Special Prosecutor Jack Smith, who indicted President Trump on four charges in August 2023, to proceed with a trial. Chutkan originally scheduled Trump’s trial for March 4, 2024, but later decided to hold off until “if and when” Trump’s immunity claims were resolved.

According to AP, Trump is charged with obstruction of an official proceeding, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, conspiracy to defraud the U.S., and conspiracy to prevent others from carrying out their constitutional rights.

Now, President Trump’s legal team is gearing up to argue in front of the Supreme Court next week. Unfortunately, it appears that Judge Juan Merchan, who is overseeing Trump’s “hush money” trial, will bar the 45th president from attending the Court’s oral arguments. Legal experts like Alan Dershowitz have called Merchan’s requirement for Trump to sit in court from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day, excluding Wednesdays and weekends, “unconstitutional.”

“It looks like the judge isn’t going to allow me to escape this SCAM,” Trump said on Monday, the first day of the “hush money” criminal trial. If Trump misses a day in court, Merchan has threatened to issue a warrant for his arrest.

Explaining his arguments for presidential immunity on his own media platform, Truth Social, Trump wrote on Feb. 28, “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.” He added, “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.” 

Trump’s legal team has also cited precedence set under past Supreme Court decisions on presidential immunity. According to the National Constitution Center, Trump mentioned in the stay petition that the Supreme Court, in the 1982 Fitzgerald v. Nixon case, upheld presidential immunity. Justice Lewis Powell wrote in the majority opinion that President Richard Nixon “as a former President of the United States, is entitled to absolute immunity from damages liability predicated on his official acts.”

The president is in a good position to have another case heard by the Supreme Court, which has six conservative Justices, three of whom were appointed by Trump during his first term, and three liberals. In March, the nation’s highest court unanimously ruled in his favor in Trump v. Anderson, keeping him on the Colorado primary ballot. Their decision effectively struck down the notion that a state can invalidate Trump’s ballot eligibility based on 14th Amendment claims.

The Supreme Court now has another chance to refute the radical left’s misguided interpretations of the law. After hearing arguments on the presidential immunity case next week, the Supreme Court is expected to announce a decision in June, according to Reuters.

If the Supreme Court rules against President Trump, Judge Chutkan may schedule his second criminal trial to begin as soon as August, just a few months before the Nov. 5 presidential election. However, if the Court rules in favor of President Trump, he will have scored a massive victory on many fronts, but most importantly, on his ability to freely campaign during the most important presidential election of our time.

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