Former US President Donald Trump has requested the Supreme Court to halt a lower court decision that denies him presidential immunity from prosecution. Trump, facing charges related to election interference, argued that the trial should not proceed during an election campaign. His lawyers contended that a lengthy criminal trial during the election season would disrupt his ability to campaign.
The Supreme Court will now consider whether to delay the ruling, allowing Trump to appeal. A favorable decision could postpone the landmark criminal case, accusing Trump of plotting to overturn the 2020 election, potentially until after the November election.
However, if the Supreme Court rejects the request, the federal trial overseen by Judge Tanya Chutkan may proceed, likely scheduled for spring. Trump faces multiple criminal trials, including charges in Georgia and Florida, along with a case in New York related to alleged payment concealment to adult film star Stormy Daniels.
His legal team has consistently sought delays until after the 2024 election. The federal election interference charges against Trump include conspiracy, obstruction, and conspiracy against citizens’ rights. Despite the denial of executive immunity by a DC Circuit court panel, Trump’s lawyers now seek Supreme Court intervention, warning that without immunity, the presidency’s nature would change.
The Supreme Court has various options, such as denying a hold, denying a review, hearing an immediate appeal, or delaying the trial past the November election. The timeline for the Supreme Court’s ruling remains uncertain.
Trump’s legal team is urging the Supreme Court to step in, emphasizing the potential precedent that denying executive immunity could set, making prosecutions against former presidents more common. They argue that immunity is crucial for preserving the institution of the presidency.
In response to a recent rejection of Trump’s immunity argument by a three-judge panel from the DC Circuit court, composed of one Republican appointee and two Democratic ones, his lawyers are urging the Supreme Court to put the lower court’s decision on hold. This would allow all active judges on the DC Circuit court to review the case.
The filing from Trump’s legal team warns that a refusal to grant immunity would not only impact this particular case but also have broader implications. They contend that without immunity from criminal prosecution, the presidency, as traditionally understood, would cease to exist.
The Supreme Court now has several options. It could decline Trump’s request to delay the ruling, leading to the resumption of the federal trial. Alternatively, the Court could reject Trump’s plea for a review, effectively shutting down the immunity argument. Another possibility is that the SC may opt to hear Trump’s appeal directly, either on an expedited fast track or following its regular schedule, potentially causing a significant delay in the trial.
The timing of the Supreme Court’s decision on Trump’s request remains uncertain, and it will have significant implications for the trajectory of the legal proceedings against the former president.