Special Counsel Requests Supreme Court Action

December 12, 2023

It is of imperative public importance that respondent’s claims of immunity be resolved by this Court …

Filing from Special Counsel Jack Smith regarding a case against former President Donald Trump. Smith’s team wants the Supreme Court to settle a question about whether or not the former President has immunity against any crimes allegedly committed while a sitting President.

Why It Matters: In this particular case, the question of immunity may influence whether or not the case can continue against former President Trump. A request for the Supreme Court to get involved may help prosecutors who want to see the case tried next year (going directly to the Supreme Court sidesteps a lower court and prevents a series of lower court decisions and appeals).

Context: Former President Trump’s team has argued Pres. Trump has protection against prosecution because the alleged crimes (“conspiring to defraud the United States, conspiring to disenfranchise voters, and conspiring and attempting to obstruct an official proceeding”) happened while Donald Trump was a sitting president. Lawyers have also argued the president cannot be charged related to these events because the Senate acquitted him during an impeachment trial.

Big Picture: “If the justices get involved, they would have an opportunity to rule for the first time ever on whether ex-presidents enjoy immunity from prosecution. Justice Department policy prohibits the indictment of a sitting president. Though there’s no such bar against prosecution for a former commander in chief, lawyers for Trump say that he cannot be charged for actions that fell within his official duties as president — a claim that prosecutors have vigorously rejected” (The Associated Press).

Special counsel goes directly to Supreme Court to resolve whether Trump has immunity from prosecution

by Jenna Lee,