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Will Trump Win His Immunity Fight Now That He Has Gone to the Supreme Court?

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Donald Trump
Source: Washington Post/YouTube

Former President Donald Trump has appealed to the Supreme Court to dismiss the four federal charges against him. The charges against the former president are related to his actions to overturn the 2020 election results. Trump pleaded for “presidential immunity” after a federal appeal court rejected his initial bid.

In his appeal, Trump argued that as a former president, he is immune from prosecution for actions taken while in office. He contended that any attempts to hold him accountable for his endeavors to overturn the election violated his immunity. He firmly believes that presidents should be immune to actions taken while in office of the presidency.

Before heading to the Supreme Court, Trump had asked the entire D.C. Circuit to throw the charges out based on his immunity. Unfortunately for him, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan and federal appeals court judges rejected Trump’s motion. 

The appeals court ruled on Tuesday that “former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant, and any “executive immunity” he had as president “no longer protects him against this prosecution.” His legal team uses the motions as a delay tactic to put the criminal case on hold.

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With his recent filing, the Supreme Court could approach the matter differently. 

Firstly, the court could ask to hear from the prosecutors. The court has asked special counsel Jack Smith’s team to respond to Trump’s plea to dismiss the recent ruling against him on the immunity issue. The justices will not take any action until they receive input from Smith.

The delay in court action further prolongs Trump’s criminal case proceedings. As it stands, the trial cannot proceed until his immunity claim is resolved. With no trial date set, everything remains effectively on hold.

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Smith is likely to advise the court to reject Trump’s request. However, he made an earlier statement to the justices in December, indicating that they would need to decide the issue.

Secondly, the court could decide to hear the parties’ oral arguments and give a ruling. To achieve this, the court would handle Trump’s request as a regular appeal and schedule a hearing. However, this may not be the best route as it would give Trump more time to file an appeal, ultimately delaying the case.

ALSO READ: Judge Cannon Accused of Partiality for How She Handled Trump’s Case

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Thirdly, the Supreme Court could reject Trump’s request altogether. If the court rejected his request for a pause, the case would proceed to trial under U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan. However, there would likely be some procedural steps before the trial begins. 

District Judge Chutkan would need to consider the time the case has been on hold and allow both sides to prepare adequately for trial. This process ensures fairness and provides for a thorough examination of the issues at hand.

However, some legal analysts believe that due to the exceptional nature of the case and the urgency involved, the court should affirm the appeals court ruling. They suggest no need to order oral arguments or ask for additional briefings. Ultimately, it’s uncertain whether or not Trump will win this fight for political immunity. The onus is on the Supreme Court to address the legal issue, given its high-stake importance.

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