Supreme Court rules in favor of Jan. 6 participant

 June 29, 2024

The members of the U.S. Supreme Court just ruled in favor of an individual who participated in the Capitol protest of Jan. 6, 2021.

The court, according to Fox News, did so on Friday.

This ruling is being considered a big win for former President Donald Trump and Republicans, and a big loss for Democrats.

The decision was 6-3 with with Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan dissenting.

The details

The defendant in the case is Joseph Fischer. He was charged, for his actions on Jan. 6, 2021, by the Biden administration, with obstructing an official proceeding.

The big question before the Supreme Court, however, was whether the law being used to prosecute the defendant was meant to be used in this way. The Supreme Court has ruled that it was not.

"The court concluded that the law, enacted in 2002 as part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act after the Enron accounting scandal, was only intended to apply to more limited circumstances involving forms of evidence tampering, not the much broader array of situations that prosecutors had claimed it covered," NBC News reports.

The outlet added, "The provision targets anyone who 'obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so,' but the court determined that its scope is limited by a preceding sentence in the statute referring to altering or destroying records.

Now, Fischer's case will head back down to the lower courts, where the judges will consider whether the government still has a basis to prosecute Fischer.

The impact could be much bigger than that

It is being reported that the Supreme Court's ruling could impact a number of the Jan. 6 cases that the Biden administration has brought against protestors. It could even impact the cases brought against Trump.

ABC News reports:

The Supreme Court's ruling Friday narrowing a key obstruction statute used against more than 300 individuals charged in connection with the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol could affect dozens of cases brought by the Justice Department in the three years since prosecutors say a mob of former President Donald Trump's supporters disrupted Congress' certification of his election loss.

It remains to be seen how this will play out.

But, the Biden administration and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland are clearly not happy about the Supreme Court's decision.

Garland said:

January 6 was an unprecedented attack on the cornerstone of our system of government — the peaceful transfer of power from one administration to the next. I am disappointed by today’s decision, which limits an important federal statute that the Department has sought to use to ensure that those most responsible for that attack face appropriate consequences.

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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