Supreme Court refuses to put Donald Trump’s immunity case on fast track

 – Gudstory

Supreme Court refuses to put Donald Trump’s immunity case on fast track – Gudstory

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Special counsel Jack Smith had asked the nation’s highest court to hear the immunity case on an expedited basis, bypassing the federal appeals court.

Also read: Donald Trump disqualified from Colorado presidential primary ballot What does this mean for the 2024 US elections?

The Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority including three justices nominated by Trump, rejected the request in a one-line order that did not give any reason for the decision.

The 77-year-old, who is the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, is currently scheduled to go to trial on March 4, 2024, on charges of conspiring to overturn the November 2020 election, won by Democrat Joe Biden.

Trump’s lawyers have repeatedly tried to push the trial until next year’s election, citing the former president’s “absolute immunity” from prosecution for acts committed while in the White House.

U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who is scheduled to preside over Trump’s March trial, rejected the immunity claim on Dec. 1, saying a former president doesn’t have a ‘get free from jail for life’ pass “

He said, “The defendant’s four years of service as Commander in Chief does not confer on him the divine right of kings to escape criminal accountability controlling his fellow citizens.”

Trump’s lawyers appealed the dismissal decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and special counsel Smith asked the Supreme Court to intervene in the case and hear it himself.

“This case poses a fundamental question at the core of our democracy: whether a former president has blanket immunity from federal prosecution for crimes he committed while in office,” Smith said in a petition filed with the Supreme Court.

He said, “It is of paramount public importance that the defendant’s immunity claims be resolved as quickly as possible – and, if the defendant does not have immunity, that he receive a fair and speedy trial on these charges.”

– Hearing in the appeal court on January 9 –

With the Supreme Court denying Smith’s request, the appeals court will now hear the immunity case first.

University of Richmond law professor Carl Tobias said that could make it difficult to keep the March trial date.

Tobias said the Supreme Court had agreed to “fast-track” appeals in 19 cases over the past four years and it was unclear why the justices had declined to do so here.

Trump welcomed the Supreme Court’s move and said he looked forward to presenting his arguments before the appeals court. “Of course I am entitled to presidential immunity,” he said in a post on his Truth social platform. Reiterating his baseless claims of winning the election, he said, “I was the President, it was my right and duty to investigate and speak out on the rigging and theft in the 2020 presidential election.”

The D.C. appeals court has scheduled arguments for Jan. 9 and its decision is expected to eventually reach the Supreme Court, whose current session ends in June. Trump’s lawyers are also expected to ask the nation’s highest court to rule on a Colorado Supreme Court ruling that would keep the former president off the Republican primary ballot in the western state.

Earlier on Tuesday, a Colorado court ruled that Trump had incited the insurrection – the attack on the US Capitol by his supporters on January 6, 2021 – and was therefore ineligible to hold office again.

The US Supreme Court has already agreed to hear a challenge to the use of a law behind one of the charges filed against Trump and hundreds of his supporters who took part in the attack on the Capitol.

Trump was convicted in Washington in August of conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction of his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

He faces similar election-related charges in Georgia and has been charged in Florida for alleged misuse of top secret documents after leaving the White House.

Trump was impeached by the Democratic-majority House of Representatives for “incitement of insurrection” after the attack on the Capitol, but was acquitted by the Senate.


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Published: 23 Dec 2023, 06:32 am IST


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