SCOTUS provides presidential immunity and the reactions of some are a little over the top

July 2 – The Supreme Court of the United States in a 6-3 decision ruled yesterday that presidents may claim immunity from criminal prosecution for official acts during their tenure in office. 

While Chief Justice John Roberts believes this does not mean that the president is above the law, a number of people are thinking otherwise. 

The three dissenting liberal justices warned of dire consequences for this ruling. 

The decision will ultimately affect former president Donald Trump’s trial over his actions on January 6. 

Pat Ryan of NewsTalk 103.7FM insisted, “Make no mistake, whoever is pulling the levers of power there, they’re not in any kind of chaos. It may outwardly appear that way with some of the remarks from the Supreme Court Justices and the media and AOC and the idiot squad, but don’t be fooled by the outward appearance here.”

Attorney Clint Barkdoll said, “At a high level, without even getting into the details of the decision, this is a good development for Trump, in as much it creates substantial delay to his case, because what the Supreme Court did is they sent a lot of these questions back to the trial court judge. There’s no way this presidential immunity case is going to get to trial before November, and that’s good for Trump, because remember, if he’s elected president again, he could immediately shut down these federal criminal cases against him, so it’s a win in that respect for him.”

Was the decision itself a good one? 

Barkdoll said, “I think (it’s) very common sense, and I don’t think people should be surprised at this decision. It’s a very nuanced decision. If you read Justice Roberts, he wrote for the majority, basically says presidents do have immunity from criminal prosecution if they acted within the scope of their official duties, but the Democrats are just completely overreacting to this. If you read the opinion Justice Roberts by no means says that Trump still can’t be prosecuted, quite the contrary. He says that some of these questions are determined by the trial judge. It doesn’t give the president just this blanket immunity like Biden and Sotomayor are suggesting.” 

The federal trial judge Tanya Chutkan in Trump’s January 6 case will have to convene a hearing to determine if Trump’s conduct was official or personal. 

Barkdoll said, “A lot of this stuff is very gray. I mean, no one can reach a consensus on that. Go back to January 6, when Trump is at the podium and he says it’s time to fight like hell today. Is that an official act, or is that a private political act? When he called the Secretary of State in Georgia and said, find me votes to say I won the election. Is that an official act, or is that a private political act? These are the kind of questions that a trial judge is going to have to determine. The other tricky thing here, if she determines that those were official acts that Trump did, meaning he could still be prosecuted, her decision will be further appealable, meaning this actually could bounce back to the Supreme Court at some point, way down the road, but for now, I think their decision is very consistent with the Constitution and historical precedent in the US, and people should look at that as a good thing.”

Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM said, “It is absurd, this reaction from the dissenters, and some people have described it as hysterical. I would say it’s not nuanced. It’s a very political hard line and ignoring the fact, as you said, it was nuanced. She made it sound in her dissent, and I don’t know why they picked the least bright Justice to write this dissent, and I’m sorry that’s not just my opinion. I’ve seen that in plenty of other places where she’s not described as the most intelligent jurist, and the way she describes things is often politically slanted. I can get into examples of that, but I won’t. There’s no way, it would only be if the if the other Justices had said he’s dismissed from all these cases, then maybe she would have had an argument in the vein she took it and of course, Biden, picking on this dissent, to do something I thought was reckless and outrageous, for him to get on the air last night and do what he did. Let me finish on Sotomayor and her dissent. As you said, this only reaffirmed what every legal expert practically was figuring they would do with this. It was nuanced. It affirmed decades, hundreds of years of precedent. It wasn’t anything new here, and no less than Bill Barr, not a fan of Trump, came out and said for her to try to say, which Biden repeated, SEAL Team Six could take out his political opponent. No way. No way. This has to conform to the Constitution and official duties, taking out your political opponent through assassination, in no way constitutes an official duty by any president, and nobody would even stretch to that.” 

Ryan added, “You’ve got law-fare and you’ve got a party of projection. Everything that they’re saying is what they are doing to you. They’ll blame Trump, they’ll blame the Supreme Court. They’ll lose their little minds. But yet, all the things that you’re pointing fingers at, you’re actually doing.” 

Jansen said, “The reason the Supreme Court, and I believe rightly, did not take this back in December when they wanted a quick decision on this kind of thing, first of all, it would be irresponsible for them to put the country, I think, in this predicament of what looks like to everyone, like an attempt to influence this election. That would throw the country into turmoil, number one. Number two, I think they had to actually wait and see just how far this Biden DOJ was going to go to violate precedent that had been set. They couldn’t have known that back in December.” 

Barkdoll noted, “That’s a fair point, too. The other thing about this opinion is they specifically say that if a case does get prosecuted, the prosecutor can’t use conduct that was in an official act as evidence in the prosecution, and that definitely impairs the special prosecutor in any case. But again, if you take a step back, that’s very consistent with how the criminal justice system in general would work in America. Again, take Trump’s name out of the equation, I think most Americans would agree. You don’t want a president being prosecuted for official acts that he takes. I’ve never agreed with this criticism of Obama. You’ve heard commentators say he should be prosecuted when those civilians were killed, when he authorized a drone attack overseas. No. I mean, if it’s an official act, they’re acting within the scope of their duties, they’re doing it in good faith for the furtherance of the country, they can’t be prosecuted. Roberts talks about that. You can’t have a president under a constant cloud or shadow of fear of being prosecuted for carrying out his duties under the Constitution. So I think it’s the right decision and again, by no means do they say Trump is completely immune. Sotomayor and these others saying, well, yeah, what if they deploy SEAL Team Six to kill or arrest your opponent? No, that’s not going to be protected conduct. That doesn’t fall within a president’s official act of furthering the country or the constitution. So I think it’s a win. One other point on this, I think the majority were very careful to know this case is bigger than Trump. They know this is one of those cases that even hundreds of years from now is going to be looked at as precedent, and they were very careful to point out this is consistent with our idea of checks and balances. Each branch continues to have appropriate checks and balances over the other branch.”

President Joe Biden spoke on the decision last night. 

Jansen said, “I was appalled. First of all, when I heard he was even going to speak on this, I thought, oh, this is something you should not, Mr. President, speak on. It did turn out just to be a campaign pitch. What bothers me about it is to quote her, and specifically the whole SEAL Team Six, killing his opponent, and for him to irresponsibly come out make the world look at us and our judicial system, faultily and our Constitution, make the country more divided and in doubt of our judicial system. Also to put the Supreme Court Justices in danger. Doesn’t this put them in danger? Couldn’t some nut job think, hey, they’re off the rails? They want the president to be able to kill his political opponents. Maybe Biden’s in danger. I’m going to have to take them out.”

Ryan said, “I got a guy like Hakeem Jeffries promising Democrats will engage in, quote, aggressive oversight and legislative activity in regard to SCOTUS to bring far right justices into compliance with the Constitution. That guy is nuts.”

Barkdoll said, “Well, Biden should never have made a televised statement last night. I mean, part of our country, part of our system, is we accept what the Supreme Court decides. We accept jury verdicts. We accept court decisions, and if you don’t like it, there are other remedies. I mean, Congress could get engaged here, if they want to try to pass legislation that addresses this issue and get the president to sign it, they’re allowed to do it. But I thought it was out of bounds Biden coming on TV, making that address, criticizing and slamming the Supreme Court. I think clearly it was political. He feels, is this a way to flood the zone, rally the base, put all these kinds of hyperbolic things out there that will get people revved up? Again, I think it’s out of bounds. I think notably that brief statement he made last night, and the press was there, he did not answer one question, including three times the press asked, are you running for reelection? He would not answer anything. He just walked out and left the room at the end of his statement.”