Supreme Court Takes Up Trump Immunity Claim
Former US President Donald Trump makes a speech as he attends the 2024 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, United States on February 24, 2024.
(Photo by Celal Gunes/Anadolu via Getty Images)

The Supreme Court announced on Wednesday that it is taking up the issue of whether former President Donald Trump can invoke presidential immunity to shield himself from federal prosecution.

A decision was made weeks after a U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit panel ruled against the immunity claim in the 2020 election case against Trump brought by special counsel Jack Smith.

The high court scheduled an oral argument for the week of April 22, 2024, which legal experts noted makes it unlikely a trial could be held before the 2024 election in which Trump is seeking another White House term.

Andrew Weissmann, a former federal prosecutor who worked in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia inquiry into Trump, said, “The SCOTUS stays DC case and expedites hearing the Trump appeal on immunity. But every day of delay operates as granting Trump de facto immunity.”

The Supreme Court denied a bid by Smith in December to fast-track consideration of the immunity claim while Trump’s lawyers argued the question should be considered in a “cautious, deliberative manner.”

Trump has 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 ensuing fight over immunity in the appeals process resulted in the proceedings getting held up. The judge has set the trial to start on March 4, 2024 — one day before Super Tuesday — but that plan has since fallen by the wayside.

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. He has broadly denied any wrongdoing and has argued that politically motivated prosecutors are conducting a “witch hunt” against him. Trump recently cited presidential immunity in a request to get the documents case dismissed.

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