On Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court declined an immediate decision on former President Donald Trump’s assertion that he is immune from prosecution over attempts to overturn the 2020 election results. The court’s move rejected a special request from U.S. Special Counsel Jack Smith, opting to allow a lower court to continue its examination of the matter.
In response to the unusual request to expedite a final ruling on Trump’s claim of criminal immunity before his scheduled trial in March, the Supreme Court issued a one-page order without explanation, with no justice publicly dissenting. While the possibility remains for the justices to revisit the issue later, they chose not to fast-track the process.
A federal appeals court in Washington has expedited its review, scheduling oral arguments for January 9. Despite Trump characterizing the Supreme Court decision as a victory in a statement to supporters, he acknowledged the ongoing legal battle, stating, “I will still have to fight for my rights in the Appeals Court.”
Trump, considered the frontrunner for the 2024 Republican presidential nomination, faces accusations of attempting to obstruct Congress and defraud the U.S. government to overturn President Joe Biden’s 2020 election victory. Trump contends that the case should be dismissed, arguing that former presidents cannot be criminally charged for actions related to their official duties.
U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan rejected Trump’s claim on December 1, leading to his appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The appeal has temporarily halted the trial, pending further legal developments. While Smith urged an expedited Supreme Court ruling, Trump’s legal team opposed the request, criticizing it as a hasty attempt to decide matters without due process.
With a conservative majority of 6-3, three Supreme Court justices were appointed by Trump, shaping the dynamics of the court. The case underscores the intersection of legal and political considerations as it unfolds against the backdrop of Trump’s potential bid for the White House in 2024 and the ongoing legal scrutiny surrounding his actions. Overall, Supreme Court rejects immediate claim of Trump immunity, allowing lower court to proceed with review of 2020 election prosecution.