Supreme Court To Hear Trump DC Case Immunity Defense On Schedule Making Trial Before Election Unlikely

2024-02-28 16:05:08

The DC federal court case against Donald Trump involves his alleged violation of law in trying to overturn the 2020 election. As I wrote from the moment of the case, and many times thereafter, the case is fundamentally misunderstood and mistaken: Trump is not charged with insurrection or even causing the J6 riot; and the central theory of the case, that seeking to overturn an election in itself is illegal is not true, and therefore Trump is being charged with conspiracy to do something that is not illegal, Trump DC Indictment – Where is the crime?

All that aside, the case was moving towards a March 4 trial when Trump appealed denial of his defense that the conduct alleged was covered by presidential immunity. Special Counsel Jack Smith sought to go directly to the Supreme Court, to try to keep the trial on track, but was rejected in favor of allowing the Court of Appeals first to consider the issue. To no one’s surprise, the Court of Appeals rejected the immunity defense, and Trump sought a stay from the Supreme Court preventing the Appeals Court issuing a “mandate” for the case to proceed to trial pending the Court taking the case on the merits.

Today SCOTUS granted the stay and treated it as a grant of certiorari to hear the case on the merits.

The application for a stay presented to The Chief Justice is referred by him to the Court. The Special Counsel’s request to treat the stay application as a petition for a writ of certiorari is granted, and that petition is granted limited to the following question: Whether and if so to what extent does a former President enjoy presidential immunity from criminal prosecution for conduct alleged to involve official acts during his tenure in office. Without expressing a view on the merits, this Court directs the Court of Appeals to continue withholding issuance of the mandate until the sending down of the judgment of this Court. The application for a stay is dismissed as moot.

The case will be set for oral argument during the week of April 22, 2024. Petitioner’s brief on the merits, and any amicus curiae briefs in support or in support of neither party, are to be filed on or before Tuesday, March 19, 2024. Respondent’s brief on the merits, and any amicus curiae briefs in support, are to be filed on or before Monday, April 8, 2024. The reply brief, if any, is to be filed on or before 5 p.m., Monday, April 15, 2024.

With an April 22 argument, even a quick decision would mean, assuming Trump loses on the defense, that a trial in DC prior to the election is doubtful, as there is a lot of work to be done before trial, and the March 4 trial date was unikely even without the appeals. Of course, if Trump wins in the Supreme Court, the case likely is over.


The NY Times notes that the fasted this could get to trial would be right before the election:

In settling on the week of April 22, the court picked the last three scheduled argument sessions of its current term and seemed to indicate that its decision would follow before the end of its current term, in late June.

That does not mean the trial would start right away if Mr. Trump lost. Pretrial proceedings, currently paused, must first be completed. By some rough calculations, the trial could be delayed until late September or October, plunging the proceedings into the heart of the election.

Democrats are bigly mad that the case may not get to trial before the election.


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Supreme Court To Hear Trump DC Case Immunity Defense On Schedule Making Trial Before Election Unlikely


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