The Supreme Court just gave Trump exactly what he wanted

The Supreme Court just gave Trump exactly what he wanted

Mark Joseph Stern writes:

The Supreme Court has all but guaranteed that Donald Trump will not face trial for his efforts to subvert the 2020 election before this November’s presidential election. On Wednesday, after more than two weeks’ delay, the court issued an order refusing to lift the stay that’s preventing the Jan. 6 trial, prosecuted by Special Counsel Jack Smith, from moving forward. Instead, the court took up the case, scheduling oral arguments for the week of April 22—nearly two months from now. On this timeline, the justices will probably issue a decision near the end of June. That punt gives Trump exactly what he wanted: an extended pause that will make it impossible for Judge Tanya Chutkan to hold a trial in time for the upcoming election.

If Trump wins that election, of course, he will ensure that his Justice Department halts the prosecution and dissolves the charges against him. Which means that SCOTUS has awarded him a powerful incentive to beat Joe Biden by any means necessary, and a good reason to hope that he can evade accountability for Jan. 6.

It is hard to overstate the frivolousness of Trump’s legal argument in this case. The former president claims that he has absolute immunity from prosecution for acts he took while in office, including his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Those efforts included an alleged criminal conspiracy to nullify the outcome in multiple swing states, as well as personal participation in the pressure campaign against Congress that culminated in the violent attack on the Capitol. A cross-ideological panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit rejected this theory of total immunity because it is nowhere to be found in the Constitution, or the nation’s historical traditions. You can search the Constitution high and low for Trump’s theory of immunity without finding even a hint that it exists, because it does not exist. It has never existed. The former president’s lawyers know that. They made it up out of whole cloth for one purpose: They realized that, by raising a claim of immunity, Trump could halt all proceedings at the trial court until he exhausted his appeals, at which point he would be far closer to winning back the presidency. [Continue reading…]

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