Trump asks Supreme Court to freeze January 6th ruling

 February 13, 2024

Donald Trump asked the Supreme Court to block a lower court ruling that shot down his claim of presidential immunity from criminal charges.

The request from Trump is a signal that he will eventually ask the high court to weigh in on the merits of his immunity claim, which he has used as a defense against charges over January 6th.

In an emergency application to the Supreme Court, Trump's lawyers asked the court to allow the appeals process to run its course.

It's unclear whether the Supreme Court will take the case or how it might rule if it does - but the court's decisions will have a huge effect on the election.

Trump makes his appeal

If the court turns down Trump's appeal, or resolves it quickly, prosecutor Jack Smith could proceed with the currently paused 2020 election trial in Washington D.C.

Smith has vaguely cited an "imperative public importance of a prompt resolution of this case," leading Trump to accuse Smith of rushing to trial for political reasons. The Supreme Court previously shot down a request from Smith to expedite the matter last year.

Trump's lawyers did not mince words in their brief, which squarely attacked the prosecution as an attempt to interfere in the upcoming presidential race.

“Conducting a months-long criminal trial of President Trump at the height of election season will radically disrupt President Trump’s ability to campaign against President Biden—which appears to be the whole point of the Special Counsel’s persistent demands for expedition,” they wrote.

"Momentous" questions

Trump has argued that failing to recognize his immunity claim would expose all future presidents to political prosecution once they leave the White House.

In their emergency application to the high court, Trump's lawyers emphasized the need for a careful and thorough review of the "momentous" issues involved in the case.

Even if the court doesn't side with Trump, a prolonged appeal could delay Trump's trial past the election - which would still be a "win" in his book.

Trump needs five justices to agree to block the lower court's ruling, but only four justices have to agree to take up the case on the merits.

While it remains uncertain how the Supreme Court might rule, the court did cast doubt last week on the official dogma concerning January 6th during oral arguments in a separate case about Trump's ballot access.

Although the justices touched on January 6th only in passing, they were broadly skeptical of letting individual states decide whether a candidate has committed an "insurrection."

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