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Trump Wins: Supreme Court Says Presidents Covered by Immunity for ‘Official Acts’

via Fox

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 6-3 decision in favor of former President Donald Trump, stating that presidents have limited immunity from criminal prosecution for official acts conducted during their tenure.

The Court highlighted that a former president is entitled to absolute immunity from prosecution for actions within their constitutional authority, with at least presumptive immunity for all official acts.

The ruling emphasized the need to protect the separation of powers and the executive’s core constitutional functions.

“This case poses a question of lasting significance: When may a former President be prosecuted for official acts taken during his Presidency? Our Nation has never before needed an answer. But in addressing that question today, unlike the political branches and the public at large, we cannot afford to fixate exclusively, or even primarily, on present exigencies. In a case like this one, focusing on ‘transient results’ may have profound consequences for the separation of powers and for the future of our Republic,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote.

“The President enjoys no immunity for his unofficial acts, and not everything the President does is official. The President is not above the law. But Congress may not criminalize the President’s conduct in carrying out the responsibilities of the Executive Branch under the Constitution. And the system of separated powers designed by the Framers has always demanded an energetic, independent Executive,” he added.

“The President therefore may not be prosecuted for exercising his core constitutional powers, and he is entitled, at a minimum, to a presumptive immunity from prosecution for all his official acts. That immunity applies equally to all occupants of the Oval Office, regardless of politics, policy, or party.”

Justice Clarence Thomas raised concerns about the constitutionality of the appointment of a Special Counsel for the prosecution.

“I write separately to highlight another way in which this prosecution may violate our constitutional structure. In this case, the Attorney General purported to appoint a private citizen as Special Counsel to prosecute a former President on behalf of the United States. But, I am not sure that any office for the Special Counsel has been ‘established by Law,’ as the Constitution requires,” Thomas wrote.

“By requiring that Congress create federal offices ‘by Law,’ the Constitution imposes an important check against the President—he cannot create offices at his pleasure. If there is no law establishing the office that the Special Counsel occupies, then he cannot proceed with this prosecution. A private citizen cannot criminally prosecute anyone, let alone a former President.”

“No former President has faced criminal prosecution for his acts while in office in the more than 200 years since the founding of our country. And, that is so despite numerous past Presidents taking actions that many would argue constitute crimes. If this unprecedented prosecution is to proceed, it must be conducted by someone duly authorized to do so by the American people. The lower courts should thus answer these essential questions concerning the Special Counsel’s appointment before proceeding,” he wrote.

“We must respect the Constitution’s separation of powers in all its forms, else we risk rendering its protection of liberty a parchment guarantee.”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor led the dissent, expressing worry about the precedent set by granting former presidents immunity for potential criminal acts while in office.

The case’s remand will likely lead to the dismissal of charges related to the Capitol riot of January 6.

“Never in the history of our Republic has a President had reason to believe that he would be immune from criminal prosecution if he used the trappings of his office to violate the criminal law. Moving forward, however, all former Presidents will be cloaked in such immunity. If the occupant of that office misuses official power for personal gain, the criminal law that the rest of us must abide will not provide a backstop,” Sotomayor wrote.

“With fear for our democracy, I dissent.”

“The case will now be remanded, and will likely result in the dismissal of some or all of the charges facing the former president in federal court in Washington, D.C., relating to the Capitol riot of January 6.”

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