Supreme Court Deals Blow To Jack Smith, Refuses To Quickly Take Up Trump Immunity Claim
This combination of pictures created on August 5, 2023 shows special counsel Jack Smith in Washington, DC, on August 1, 2023 and former US President Donald Trump in Palm Beach, Florida, on November 8, 2022. Donald Trump pushed back on August 7 against a bid by government lawyers to restrict what he can share publicly about his historic prosecution for allegedly conspiring to overturn the results of the 2020 election.

The Supreme Court rejected on Friday special counsel Jack Smith‘s request for it to fast-track consideration of the debate over whether former President Donald Trump has immunity from prosecution.

“The petition for a writ of certiorari before judgment is denied,” the high court said in an order, dealing a blow to Smith’s efforts to maintain a schedule that would have his 2020 election case against Trump in Washington, D.C., go to trial in March.

With the decision, the case remains with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which accepted Smith’s separate request for it to consider the immunity claim on an expedited basis. Oral arguments at the appellate level are scheduled for January 9.

The case will likely make its way back to the Supreme Court eventually, but Smith’s team had asked the high court early last week to review the presidential immunity question before the federal appeals court had a chance to rule on the matter, claiming there is precedent from the Nixon Watergate tapes case.

In particular, Smith wanted the high court to quickly address the question of “[w]hether a former President is absolutely immune from federal prosecution for crimes committed while in office or is constitutionally protected from federal prosecution when he has been impeached but not convicted before the criminal proceedings begin.”

“The United States recognizes that this is an extraordinary request. This is an extraordinary case. The Court should grant certiorari and set a briefing schedule that would permit this case to be argued and resolved as promptly as possible,” Smith’s team wrote. They also said, “It is of imperative public importance that respondent’s claims of immunity be resolved by this Court and that respondent’s trial proceed as promptly as possible if his claim of immunity is rejected.”

In response, the former president’s lawyers urged the Supreme Court not to take Smith up on his request, arguing that the public importance of the presidential immunity question “calls for it to be resolved in a cautious, deliberative manner — not at breakneck speed.”

Trump, who was impeached for allegedly encouraging the U.S. Capitol breach on January 6, 2021, before being acquitted by the Senate, pleaded not guilty in the federal case in which he is accused of unlawfully plotting to overturn the results of the 2020 election. His lawyers filed to dismiss the case in October by arguing that Trump’s actions were “within the heartland” of his “official duties.”


U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, rejected Trump’s immunity claim, saying that the defendant’s “four-year service as Commander in Chief did not bestow on him the divine right of kings to evade the criminal accountability that governs his fellow citizens.” The judge also rebuffed a First Amendment defense. Trump’s legal team responded by filing an appeal and requesting a pause in the proceedings which was then granted.

The judge has set the trial to start on March 4, 2024 — one day before Super Tuesday — which is significant, as Trump is running a campaign seeking another term in the White House. Over the course of the case, Trump has been restrained in what he can say about it due to a gag order. His spokesperson released a statement last week accusing Smith of election interference after the prosecutor asked the Supreme Court to quickly resolve the immunity debate.

Trump is facing three other criminal cases, including another one led by Smith over the former president’s handling of classified documents, as well as civil litigation. Trump has broadly denied any wrongdoing and has argued that politically motivated prosecutors are conducting a “witch hunt” against him.

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The Daily Wire   >  Read   >  Supreme Court Deals Blow To Jack Smith, Refuses To Quickly Take Up Trump Immunity Claim