Supreme Court rules on Trump's presidential immunity claim

Trump celebrated the decision on his Truth Social platform, calling it a 'BIG WIN FOR OUR CONSTITUTION AND DEMOCRACY.'

Supreme Court rules on Trump's presidential immunity claim
AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib
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The Supreme Court issued a significant ruling on Monday regarding former President Donald Trump's claim of presidential immunity from federal prosecution. In a 6-3 decision along ideological lines, the Court determined that while Trump's claim is valid for official acts, it does not extend to unofficial conduct, marking a partial victory for the former president.

The Supreme Court's decision comes after lower courts, including Judge Chutkan and a federal appeals court panel, had rejected Trump's immunity claim. 

The ruling states, "The President is not above the law. But under our system of separated powers, the President may not be prosecuted for exercising his core constitutional powers, and he is entitled to at least presumptive immunity from prosecution for his official acts." This decision sends the case, in which Trump pleaded not guilty to charges related to alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 election results, back to a lower D.C. court for further review.

The timing of the ruling, coming on the final day of the Court's term, has led observers to suggest that the chances of a trial occurring before the November election have been significantly reduced or eliminated, the Associated Press reported.

Trump celebrated the decision on his Truth Social platform, calling it a "BIG WIN FOR OUR CONSTITUTION AND DEMOCRACY."

The case now returns to U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who must determine what constitutes official acts, the Daily Wire reported. Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, added that any testimony or records of the president or his advisers related to conduct immune from prosecution may not be admitted as evidence at trial. This stipulation could pose additional challenges for prosecutors.

The three liberal justices opposed the ruling, with Justice Sonia Sotomayor expressing concern in her dissent that the majority's reasoning could potentially allow a president to evade prosecution for serious crimes committed while in office.

Trump's legal team had previously argued that his actions were "within the heartland" of his official duties, while federal prosecutors, led by special counsel Jack Smith, contended that the immunity argument could give presidents a "license" to commit crimes while in office.

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