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Justice

Supreme Court, Washington, DC
The Supreme Court of the United States, located in Washington, DC. Photo credit: Domenico Convertini / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0 DEED)

In what is a real travesty of justice, the Supreme Court still has not released its decision on whether Donald Trump was allowed to stage a coup.

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Nearing the end of its term, the Supreme Court has yet to rule on whether US presidents enjoy absolute immunity in a case that is, right now, solely significant for the prosecution of Donald Trump, who is the only sitting or former commander-in-chief to have faced criminal charges. However, the fact that the court has delayed the publication of its ruling until the very end of June is a decision in itself. And that decision is to help Trump avoid prosecution for staging a coup prior to the election.

There really is no other reasonable explanation for the deliberate time-wasting of the court. Every day it allows to go by is a day that delays the prosecution of the former president.

Now, there are two ways to approach a case that could have a very real impact on a presidential race: One is to hear it quickly, and then either expedite the decision or make it the first ruling that is published at the start of a term.

That would ensure that the criminal case against Trump can begin, which would allow Americans to hear the evidence presented and make up their own minds as to whether staging a coup is good or bad.

The conservative justices seem to think that voters will not view the former president favorably once the facts are presented.

That takes us to the second option, which is to ensure that this does not happen before the election. If the justices run out the clock, their actual decision barely matters.

That ruling shouldn’t be overly difficult, by the way.

Should US presidents have total immunity for crimes they commit while in office, such as ordering the assassination of a rival?

No, they obviously should not. What an insane idea, and the person who argues otherwise must be a gigantic crook.

See, that wasn’t so hard.

Granted, in this case, there will probably be a dissenting opinion from Sam Alito (with Clarence Thomas concurring) that Democratic presidents should not have total immunity but Trump should. However, overall, this seems like a no-brainer.

So, what’s taking so long?

Generally, Chief Justice John Roberts has tried to stay out of political fights. But this isn’t some squabble. This is about whether presidents who lost an election can try to stay in power by illegal means. That’s no small matter… and it should be resolved before the election.

But the court has virtually assured that this won’t happen.

It could have heard the case all the way back in December, when special counsel Jack Smith wanted it to be taken up.

Instead, the court delayed things until February. And now it is dragging its feet again.

If you want to find subtle election interference or the weaponization of the justice system, this is what that looks like. 

Author

  • Klaus Marre

    Klaus Marre is a writer, editor, former congressional reporter, and director of the WhoWhatWhy Mentor Apprentice Program. Follow him on Twitter @KlausMarre.

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