Trump files immunity brief with SCOTUS, cites Justice Kavanaugh's previous legal writings

 March 23, 2024

The battle to determine whether or not former President Donald Trump enjoys an immunity defense for his upcoming trials is now being considered by the U.S. Supreme Court. 

According to NBC News, Trump and his lawyers submitted his immunity brief to the high court in recent days.

Some of the notes in the brief cited Justice Brett Kavanaugh's writings prior to Trump appointing him to the Supreme Court.

However, the writings cited have already been picked over by legal experts who dispute the particular quotes "plucked" by Trump's lawyers, as NBC News put it. Those experts believe Kavanaugh made it clear that former presidents aren't "above the law."

What did it say?

One of Kavanaugh's earlier writings cited in the immunity brief is titled, "Separation of Powers During the Forty-Fourth Presidency and Beyond."

Trump's lawyers dialed in on the line that read, "a President who is concerned about an ongoing criminal investigation is almost inevitably going to do a worse job as President."

The lawyers responded to that by writing, "The same conclusion holds if that criminal investigation is waiting in the wings until he leaves office."

NYU law professor Ryan Goodman disputed using that particular quote, as he pointed out that Kavanaugh also wrote, "The point is not to put the President above the law or to eliminate checks on the President, but simply to defer litigation and investigations until the President is out of office."

NBC News noted:

The other Kavanaugh article cited in Trump’s brief is titled “The President and the Independent Counsel.” The former president quotes a line from that one that says, “Prosecution or nonprosecution of a President is, in short, inevitably and unavoidably a political act.”

Trump's lawyers responded to that line, writing that the observation "applies to former Presidents as well — and it applies most of all to a former President who is the leading candidate to replace the incumbent who is prosecuting him."

What's next?

The battle over legal writings will undoubtedly continue to ramp up ahead of Trump's immunity case before the Supreme Court.

The high court is expected to hear oral arguments on April 25. The high court's final ruling on the matter will undoubtedly have drastic implications on the cases Trump currently faces and likely any future cases.

Legal experts are now curious as to whether or not Special Counsel Jack Smith will dial in on the additional material contained within Kavanaugh's writings or if Kavanaugh will expect Trump and his lawyers to expound on it.

Only time will tell.

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