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February 29, 2024

The Supreme Court has agreed to hear oral arguments in the appeal from Trump’s legal team regarding presidential immunity from criminal prosecution in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s “January 6” case, and has set the date for April 22.  This is a question of historic proportion that has never been addressed by the High Court. 

Specifically, the question, as expressed by the Court, is, “Whether and if so to what extent does a former President enjoy presidential immunity from criminal prosecution for conduct alleged to involve OFFICIAL ACTS [emphasis ours] during his tenure in office.”

Given the schedule, and the fact that the trial is on hold --- if it ever takes place at all, depending on their ruling --- means it almost certainly won’t get started, let alone have a verdict, before the election.  It was Judge Tanya Chutkan, who has expressed strong bias against President Trump and his supporters and handed down some incredibly long sentences to J6 defendants, who had first denied Trump’s motion, saying, “Nothing in American history justifies the absolute immunity [Trump] seeks.”

It should be noted that Trump is not seeking ABSOLUTE immunity.  This argument involves actions he took as part of being President, which is to say, constitutionally.  The proper way to deal with such a matter is through impeachment and conviction.  Trump was already impeached by Congress --- on his way out the door --- over his actions on January 6 and found not guilty in the Senate.

Trump’s appeal of Judge Chutkan’s ruling went to a three-judge panel of the DC Circuit Court; recall that leftist Judge Florence Pan brought up a ridiculous hypothetical involving a U.S. President using Seal Team Six to assassinate a political rival.  They upheld Chutkan’s order 3-0, rejecting his immunity claim.

The next step was Trump’s request for an “en banc” hearing, which is to say, the full court would hear the argument, and filed an emergency application to SCOTUS to put the panel’s court order on hold in the meantime.  Special Counsel Smith, in his hurry to get the case to trial in a DC (kangaroo) court before the election, filed an opposition to Trump’s request.  “Delay in the resolution of these charges threatens to frustrate the public interest in a speedy and fair verdict…” he wrote.

Note:  In a DC court, with Chutkan presiding and before a jury full of virulent anti-Trumpers who’ve convicted him in advance of “insurrection,” fair’s got nothing to do with it.  And the right to a speedy trial is not out of “public interest” or to satisfy what the prosecutor wants --- it’s for the defendant, who in this case is TRUMP, who does not want to go to trial at all.

One possible scenario, according to investigative reporter and analyst Julie Kelly, is that the Supreme Court will decide as early as sometime in May --- still pretty fast --- that a President can be prosecuted for acts taken in office.  (That’s a decision that would have a lot of ramifications for future Presidents, for sure.)  In that case, the trial in Chutkan’s courtroom will re-commence.  Three months will have been lost, and Kelly estimates that a trial wouldn’t get underway until late August.

But Kelly believes that due to the complexity and historic importance of this decision, they likely won’t have a ruling until the conclusion of this term, at the end of June.  That would push the trial to late September.

In that case, a conviction --- oops, I mean “verdict” --- probably wouldn’t be reached before Election Day.  For months, Smith has been trying to move heaven and earth to get a conviction before voters cast their ballots, obviously hoping to make a big dent in his support and lose the election for him.

Of course, there’s one more possible scenario:  that the Supreme Court reverses the appellate panel and says a President cannot be prosecuted for actions taken as part of his official presidential duties.  Then the criminal case against Trump will...go away.

Trump’s political foes had been hoping the Court would let the appellate ruling stand, meaning the trial could now go full steam ahead.  Julie Kelly’s piece features some examples of hysteria --- caution:  some extremely profane --- from the left, as posted on X (Twitter); one of the worst is (unsurprisingly) from Nancy Pelosi: “The Supreme Court is placing itself on trial with its decision to hear the former president’s total immunity claim.  It remains to be seen whether the justices will uphold the fundamental American value that no one is above the law --- not even a former president.”

“The Supreme Court is placing itself on trial”?  Really??

Oh, and you’ll be hearing that phrase --- “no one is above the law” --- even more during the coming weeks.  Better have some Excedrin on hand, because that drum is going to be beating nonstop.  But this case isn’t about being above the law.  If it weren’t much more complicated, SCOTUS could just wave its collective hand and give the DC court its blessing.   

Another lovely X posting referred to Judge Pan’s absurd hypothetical and also to Trump being assassinated: “The good news is that SCOTUS will probably rule on whether Biden [has] absolute immunity in time for him to order SEAL TEAM 6 to take him out, as Trump’s lawyer said Biden could do.”

Back in January, Kelly examined Pan’s hypothetical and the “unseriousness” of that panel of judges.  In addition to Pan, a Biden appointee, the panel consisted of Michelle Childs, another Biden appointee, and Karen Henderson, a George H. Bush appointee.  (It just smells wrong to have Biden appointees ruling on cases that so directly affect the fate of his political rival, doesn’t it?  Chutkan, who had said in her written opinion that the presidency is not a “get-out-of-jail-free card,” is an Obama appointee.)

As Kelly writes, “Given the unprecedented nature of the matter before the court, one would assume the two Biden-appointed judges would take extra care in conducting the hearing as impartially and untheatrically as possible...That, however, did not happen.”

Read her piece for her blow-by-blow description of how that hearing went.  Kelly also delves into the various political associations, and it doesn’t get more anti-Trump and swampy than this.  (For example, she’s known former DOJ lawyer (and Lisa Page’s attorney) Amy Jeffress for three decades and attended Jeffress’ wedding, officiated by Merrick Garland.  The groom was DC District Court Judge Chris Cooper, appointed by Obama.  DC is so...cozy.

Kelly also asks the same question we have, about just how “randomly” judges are selected for cases.  “...Pan is oddly seated on an unusually high percentage of consequential political cases,” she observes, and offers examples.  Pan must be enjoying her work; last week, her panel denied the appeal of Russel Alford, who was sentenced by Judge Chutkan to 12 months in prison for being inside the Capitol building for 11 minutes on January 6.  He wasn’t violent or destructive, but Chutkan had apparently found him “guilty by association” anyway, and the panel upheld this, with Pan writing that “a jury could rationally find that his unauthorized presence in the Capitol as part of an unruly mob contributed to the disruption of the Congress’s electoral certification and jeopardized public safety.”

This is the kind of twisted rationale being used by these judges.  And Judge Chutkan is presiding over President Trump’s “J6” trial.


RELATED READING:  Speaking of the swamp, here’s an outstanding piece by Robert Chernin in REALCLEAR POLITICS on the recent revelations concerning Obama’s CIA spying on Trump’s campaign.

As Chernin sums up the problem, “The involvement of foreign allies in surveilling American citizens under the pretext of national security raises serious questions about the integrity of our democratic processes and the autonomy of our nation’s intelligence operations.”

In other words, if anything is a threat to “Our Democracy,” this is it.  A must-read.  Too bad the very people who need to read it the most will avoid it like the plague.

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