SCOTUS on Presidential Immunity: It Depends

Too little, too late.

Reuters (“US Supreme Court rules Trump has immunity for official, not private acts“):

The U.S. Supreme Court found on Monday that Donald Trump cannot be prosecuted for any actions that were within his constitutional powers as president, but can for private acts, in a landmark ruling recognizing for the first time any form of presidential immunity from prosecution.

The justices, in a 6-3 ruling written by Chief Justice John Roberts, threw out a lower court’s decision that had rejected Trump’s claim of immunity from federal criminal charges involving his efforts to undo his 2020 election loss to Joe Biden. The six conservative justices were in the majority. Its three liberals dissented.

Trump is the Republican candidate challenging Biden, a Democrat, in the Nov. 5 U.S. election in a 2020 rematch. The Supreme Court’s slow handling of the case, coupled with its decision to return key questions about the scope of Trump’s immunity to the lower courts to resolve, make it improbable he will be tried on the election subversion charges brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith charges before the election.

“We conclude that under our constitutional structure of separated powers, the nature of presidential power requires that a former president have some immunity from criminal prosecution for official acts during his tenure in office,” Roberts wrote.Immunity for former presidents is “absolute” with respect to their “core constitutional powers,” Roberts wrote, and a former president has “at least a presumptive immunity” for “acts within the outer perimeter of his official responsibility,” meaning that prosecutors face a high legal bar to overcome that presumption.

Roberts cited the need for presidents to “execute the duties of his office fearlessly and fairly” without the threat of prosecution.

“As for a president’s unofficial acts,” Roberts added, “there is no immunity.”

Trump hailed the ruling in a social media post, writing: “BIG WIN FOR OUR CONSTITUTION AND DEMOCRACY. PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN!”

The court analyzed four categories of conduct contained in Trump’s indictment. They are: his discussions with Justice Department officials following the 2020 election; his alleged pressure on then-Vice President Mike Pence to block congressional certification of Biden’s election win; his alleged role in assembling fake pro-Trump electors to be used in the certification process; and his conduct related to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by his supporters.

The court found Trump was absolutely immune for conversations with Justice Department officials. Trump is also “presumptively immune” regarding his interactions with Pence, it decided, but returned that and the two other categories to lower courts to determine whether Trump has immunity.


Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by fellow liberal Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson, delivered a sharply worded dissent, saying the ruling “makes a mockery of the principle, foundational to our Constitution and system of government, that no man is above the law.”

Sotomayor added: “Relying on little more than its own misguided wisdom about the need for bold and unhesitating action by the president, the court gives former President Trump all the immunity he asked for and more.”

Sotomayor said the ruling “reshapes the institution of the presidency.”

UCLA School of Law professor Rick Hasen, a critic of Trump’s efforts to overturn his election defeat, said: “The Supreme Court has put out a fact-intensive test on the boundaries of the president’s immunity – with a huge thumb on the scale favoring the president’s immunity – in a way that will surely push this case past the election.”

“Sorting out the court’s opinion and how it applies is going to take a while,” Georgetown University law professor Erica Hashimoto added. “No chance of a pre-election trial.”

NPR’s Nina Totenberg (“Supreme Court says Trump has absolute immunity for core acts only“):

The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision along ideological lines, ruled that a former president has absolute immunity for his core constitutional powers — and is entitled to a presumption of immunity for his official acts, but lacks immunity for unofficial acts. But at the same time, the court sent the case back to the trial judge to determine which, if any of former President Donald Trump’s actions, were part of his official duties and thus were protected from prosecution.


Roberts acknowledged that the case was unprecedented.

“No court has thus far considered how to distinguish between official and unofficial acts,” he wrote, while chiding the lower courts for rendering “their decisions on a highly expedited basis.” He said the lower courts “did not analyze the conduct alleged in the indictment to decide which of it should be categorized as official and which unofficial.”

Roberts wrote that “Trump asserts a far broader immunity than the limited one we have recognized,” but the opinion also undermined some of the key charges against the former president.

“Certain allegations — such as those involving Trump’s discussions with the Acting Attorney General — are readily categorized in light of the nature of the President’s official relationship to the office held by that individual,” he wrote. In other words, “Trump is … absolutely immune from prosecution for the alleged conduct involving his discussions with Justice Department officials.”

Monday’s decision to send the case back to trial Judge Tanya Chutkan all but guarantees that there will be no Trump trial on the election interference charges for months. Even before the immunity case, Judge Chutkan indicated that trial preparations would likely take three months. Now, she will also have to decide which of the charges in the Trump indictment should remain and which involve official acts that under the Supreme Court ruling are protected from prosecution.


All of this stands in stark contrast to the way the court has handled other presidential power cases. In 1974, the justices ruled against President Richard Nixon just 16 days after hearing oral arguments. The vote was 8-0, with Justice William Rehnquist recusing himself because of his close ties to some of the officials accused of wrongdoing in the case. And this year, the court took less than a month to rule unanimously that states could not bar Trump from the ballot.

SCOTUSBlog’s Amy Howe (“Justices rule Trump has some immunity from prosecution“):

In a historic decision, a divided Supreme Court on Monday ruled that former presidents can never be prosecuted for actions relating to the core powers of their office, and that there is at least a presumption that they have immunity for their official acts more broadly.

The decision left open the possibility that the charges brought against former President Donald Trump by Special Counsel Jack Smith – alleging that Trump conspired to overturn the results of the 2020 election – can still go forward to the extent that the charges are based on his private conduct, rather than his official acts.


In a ruling on the last day before the Supreme Court’s summer recess, and just over two months after the oral argument, a majority of the court rejected the D.C. Circuit’s reasoning. As an initial matter, Roberts explained in his 43-page ruling, presidents have absolute immunity for their official acts when those acts relate to the core powers granted to them by the Constitution – for example, the power to issue pardons, veto legislation, recognize ambassadors, and make appointments.

That absolute immunity does not extend to the president’s other official acts, however. In those cases, Roberts reasoned, a president cannot be charged unless, at the very least, prosecutors can show that bringing such charges would not threaten the power and functioning of the executive branch. And there is no immunity for a president’s unofficial acts.

Determining which acts are official and which are unofficial “can be difficult,” Roberts conceded. He emphasized that the immunity that the court recognizes in its ruling on Monday takes a broad view of what constitutes a president’s “official responsibilities,” “covering actions so long as they are not manifestly or palpably beyond his authority.” In conducting the official/unofficial inquiry, Roberts added, courts cannot consider the president’s motives, nor can they designate an act as unofficial simply because it allegedly violates the law.


Roberts pushed back against the dissent by Sotomayor and a separate one by Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, describing them as striking “a chilling tone of doom that is wholly disproportionate to what the Court actually does today.” He portrayed the ruling as a relative narrow one that decides only “that immunity extends to official discussions between the President and his Attorney General, and then remand to the lower courts” for them to determine whether the other acts alleged in the indictment are entitled to immunity.

Like my co-blogger Steven Taylor, I’ll likely have more reaction to this after I’ve had a chance to digest the opinions and the legal analysis of those more expert than me in that endeavor. My initial reactions, though, are twofold.

First and foremost, given that this is very much the outcome I expected, I continue to believe (as laid out in more detail in my September post “SCOTUS Denies Fast Track of Trump Immunity Claim) that Roberts and company did the Republic a gross disservice in not expediting this. Relatedly, while I agree with the broad principles laid out by the majority, the exigency of this case demanded that they rule on the merits rather than remanding this back to the lower court, guaranteeing yet more delays as Trump’s lawyers appeal any finding that given actions do not fall under the entitlement of immunity.

Second, I both agree and disagree with Sotomayor and Totenberg that this is unprecedented. As noted in yet another December post (“Supreme Court to Hear Trump Immunity Case“)

We’re in uncharted waters here. Trump is facing criminal charges as a private citizen for his actions while President. That has never happened before.

The presumption has long been that impeachment and removal from office was the remedy for “high crimes and misdemeanors” in office. But, surely, there has to be some recourse beyond that in extreme cases. While impeachment and removal is a sufficient price for ordinary malfeasance, it would not serve justice in the case of, say, murder or rape.

Because this is a criminal trial rather than a civil one, I’m not sure to what extent Nixon v Fitzgerald is the controlling precedent here. It makes sense to extend maximum protection to Presidents, and by extension former Presidents, for official actions to free them to conduct the public’s business as they see fit. So, “the acts within the ‘outer perimeter’ of his official responsibility” test is a good one. But that’s far too expansive for criminal acts. Were a President to murder the Speaker of the House in a fit of rage during budget negotiations, the fact that he was conducting government business would surely not convey immunity.

So, yes, the ruling is unprecedented because we’ve simply never have a sitting President (or, indeed, a former President) charged with a crime before Trump. But, no, the basic contours of this opinion are well within the “official responsibility” ambit of prior cases. It’s not clear to me from the cursory reports I’ve seen so far whether or how far the envelope was pushed. But, offhand, it strikes me as perfectly reasonable that a sitting President’s conversations with his cabinet a privileged acts for which impeachment is the remedy.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, Supreme Court, The Presidency, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. wr says:

    Sure, it depends… on whether the president in question is a Republican or a Democrat.

    I’m surprised this wasn’t written into the decision and simply left as subtext.

  2. DrDaveT says:

    for which impeachment is the remedy

    You mean, the way it was for extorting faked dirt on Biden from Ukraine as a condition for military aid? Not much of a remedy…

  3. Hal_10000 says:


    Or overturning an election. Any grant of absolute immunity given to the President — which is what they’ve now given him on acts under his presumptive powers — is a license to break the law. And all Trump has to do is say “official act” before he orders, say, the auditing of every Democrat in Congress and there’s nothing that can be done.

  4. al Ameda says:

    Let’s see: this Court recently ruled that bribery is legal, and now it’s saying that if Trump says something is ‘an Official Act’ he’s free to litigate it forever, because we’re not going to rule on the facts here, nor define what ‘an Official Act’ is. The Court acted to let Trump run out the clock.

    In situations involving Trump, Justice delayed is … okay.

    Clearly, with this Court in place, Trump knew that running for re-election would shield him from federal legal consequences.

    Shocking, but not surprising.

  5. SC_Birdflyte says:

    With (I presume) the case being remanded to the DC Circuit Court, it might be smart for Jack Smith and his team to drop all charges except attempting to stop certification of the electoral vote. That is an area in which the President has no authority, and could be brought to trial quickly.

  6. Raoul says:

    From what I gather, the treatment of evidence is what gives the game away. Under this holding, if Nixon’s tape were otherwise proper evidence, they could not be used since they constitute “communications” which are “palpable” within the role of the presidency (whatever that may be) including those that are in the “outer perimeter”. This language reminds me of Griswold’s penumbra, except in this case there is no precedent to follow. This case is manufactured law outside any reasonable reading of the US Constitution and precedents (see When the Court decides to exclude the type of evidence that could implicate a president for criminal acts and it says it cannot be used, they are not only weighing on the majesty of the law but getting in the weeds in evidentiary procedure which was not the subject of litigation. Evidence are cold hard facts that are used to prove or disprove acts and assertions and have nothing to do with “official duties” but the Court rules they cannot be used here because it would inhibit a president’s communication. Note to the Court- this is a good thing: we don’t want presidents engaged in criminal conspiracies. So if a president is recorded on tape confessing killing someone, one cannot introduce that evidence- truly ridiculous. This type of sloppy decision is what the Roberts Court will be known for in history, with mini-reversals in gun cases just a couple years old (“we didn’t mean what we wrote”), bad standing cases and manufactured evidence, writing dissents against is remarkably easy. What an embarrassment.

  7. SKI says:

    Reality check: This joke of an opinion just gave a President complete immunity for such “official acts” such as assassination, kidnapping, extortion, bribery (both giving and receiving) or anything else they please as long as it is on federal property or DC, particularly if they directed/discussed the act in question with members of the executive branch.

    This is sadly not an exaggeration or hyperbole. Biden could literally have the conservative members of the Court assassinated and the only consequence would be impeachment – which could be circumvented by arresting or threatening Congress.

    James, you really “agree with the broad principles laid out by the majority”?!?

  8. just nutha says:

    @SC_Birdflyte: I dunno. It may be an area where the President had no authority until July 1st of 2024. (Just speculating.)

  9. Jen says:

    This case is manufactured law outside any reasonable reading of the US Constitution and precedents

    So, an activist Court, with activist judges.

    I was right to cry for three solid days after the 2016 election, I guess.

  10. Michael Reynolds says:

    James, you’re wrong. Trump, or any POTUS, can now do anything they like. Anything. Anything at all. Then wait two or three years to see whether a nakedly partisan SCOTUS thinks it was sufficiently ‘official’. They’ve given carte blanche to a psychopath.

    True or False: Trump could sell nuclear secrets to Putin?
    True or False: Trump could order border guards to machine gun asylum seekers?
    True or False: Trump can order the arrest of political opponents.

    You just don’t get it.

  11. Kathy says:

    The gamble is that Biden won’t abuse the divine right immunity. Wannabehitler might, but if he does it will be for purposes they approve of. They should ask Trotsky, Huber Matos, Navalny, and all too many others, what happens when an unaccountable leader takes a dislike to you for any reason.

    Perhaps Biden ought not wait, and take the first shot.

  12. James Joyner says:

    @DrDaveT: It’s a Catch-22 but one that’s always been with us. We’ve had four presidential impeachments, two of Trump, and zero convictions.

    @Hal_10000: @al Ameda: @Michael Reynolds: As I understand the ruling from media reports and cursory skim, it’s not a blanket “official acts” immunity but rather 1) core actions of the office are exempt from criminal prosecution and 2) other official actions are presumed protected, thus putting the burden of proof that it shouldn’t be on the accuser. That’s pretty much what the understanding has been for generations.

  13. Jack says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    No, you don’t get it. The court did not say a president can do anything and hope for a sympathetic Supreme Court.

    It asked legislators to not be cowards, and define “the outer perimeter” of official acts. It also told lower courts to deal with the law they have at hand.

    That is a perfect Supreme Court decision. The law, not the policy some partisan hack like you wants.

  14. Tim says:

    This gem is on page 4 of the ruling:

    “In dividing official from unofficial conduct, courts may not inquire into the President’s motives.”

    So for any crime that relies on mens rea (must establish criminal intent), well, tough. That’s most laws, btw. It’s the difference between murder and manslaughter.

    In particular, the Espionage Act. It only applies if the perpetrator “willfully” takes the secrets, or “willfully” retains them, or “willfully” passes them along to others, and so on. Judge Cannon can now cite this ruling to bar Smith from presenting any evidence that establishes Trump is guilty. He is going to walk.

    Likewise, insurrection, sedition, and the like depend on intent. He may walk on those indictments too.

    They also added this gem, “Nor may courts deem an action unofficial merely because it allegedly violates a generally applicable law.” So if Trump were to shoot someone on Fifth Avenue the police could not arrest him until a court had convened and determined that the murder was not an official act?!? How is that supposed to work.

    The job of a president is to see that the laws are faithfully executed. How is that in any way compatible with assuming that violations of the law can be official acts? I may not be a lawyer, but I do understand logic. The conservatives on the Supreme Court just officially ruled that 2 + 2 is 5. Again!!

  15. Chris says:

    Mr. Joyner – With all due respect, the corrupt Supreme Court justices have given the next morally bankrupt president a clear path to officially crush their political adversaries on an executive whim. Meanwhile, your care is fleeting. God save the United States from such judges and limp mindedness.

  16. Beth says:


    How is that supposed to work.

    It’s not supposed to work, that’s the whole point. It looks principled enough to make the Radical Centrists go “mmmhmmm ok”cause they don’t actually know shit about how anything works.

  17. Beth says:

    BTW, I’ve more or less hired a solicitor in the UK to get my UK citizenship. Like, understand, a Trans person has decided they would be safer on TERF ISLAND that be here for whatever happens. This is my suitcase and I’ll be ready to flee if I have to. I have kids.

  18. Erik says:

    If the only remedy within the bounds of the Constitution is a remedy that realistically will not be effective (impeachment and removal), then the only solution is to change the Constitution. I do not say this lightly, but again and again we have seen how the duct tap and baling wire holding our Constitution together is failing. I know there is fear that a constitutional convention would result in even fewer rights, even less protection from authoritarianism. At least then we will not have pious mewling about “but the founders and their principles” as a threadbare cover for the authoritarianism that we have, and are headed toward. At least it would be out in the open to be reacted to accordingly, or stamped out

  19. steve says:

    James- The court also said that when investigating what might be an unofficial act you cant use as evidence anything POTUS or his aids say or put into documents. They also said that calling up a governor and asking them to replace real electors with false ones counts as an official act. So, almost everything is an official act. If you think it might be the evidence you might want to use to show that is very limited. If POTUS ordered one of his aids to rob or shoot someone you couldn’t use that conversation as evidence. You might be able to produce evidence to convict the shooter or even the aid who hired the shooter but the POTUS would be immune.


  20. @James Joyner:

    But, offhand, it strikes me as perfectly reasonable that a sitting President’s conversations with his cabinet a privileged acts for which impeachment is the remedy.

    In all fairness, it is quite clear that the impeachment process is not effective and never will be. It is too infused with partisan politics to be efficacious.

    Relying on it is pure folly in my view.

  21. Mimai says:

    1) Even before recent events, the consensus among many is that a Trump presidency would end America. And would end the lives of many Americans.

    2) Pre-debate polling gave Trump an edge. Post-debate has amplified this.

    3) The SC decision just gave the president carte blanche.

    4) There’s been lots of commentary (here and elsewhere) about what Trump might, nay will, do with this power. All the posited scenarios would be catastrophic.

    5) There’s been some commentary about what Biden “could” do with this power. The scenarios are serious but made in a tone indicating that the commenter, of course, doesn’t think Biden would do such a thing.

    But I’d like to spend some time with this last issue. If #1-4 are granted, what should Biden do? What must he do — out of duty to God and country? I’m pondering this seriously.

    It seems to me that he is obligated to take “drastic” action NOW to save the nation. To save it’s residents. To save the world.

    And by extension, we are now obligated to DEMAND that he do so. And demand with specifics, not hypotheticals.

    For many reasons, I’m struggling to entertain such specifics. Perhaps others are struggling less.

  22. DrDaveT says:

    @James Joyner:

    It’s a Catch-22 but one that’s always been with us.

    Then why are you still talking about it as if it were a “remedy”?

  23. DrDaveT says:

    @James Joyner:

    As I understand the ruling from media reports and cursory skim, it’s not a blanket “official acts” immunity but rather 1) core actions of the office are exempt from criminal prosecution and 2) other official actions are presumed protected, thus putting the burden of proof that it shouldn’t be on the accuser.

    …and the authority to decide whether the accuser has made its case rests with… wait for it… who?

    That’s pretty much what the understanding has been for generations.

    Bullshit. The understanding for generations has been that criminal acts are criminal, whether you are the President of the USA or the President of the PTA or the Pompatus of Love. The only test that mattered was the test of criminality. And the Suborned Court has just ruled that criminality is irrelevant if you are President — a different set of criteria apply. Criteria that, in the end, the Suborned Court will rule on.

  24. Beth says:


    The hypothetical that occurred to me is:

    1. “Wait” till November and see what happens. If Trump wins, execute Alito, Thomas, Kavenaugh, Barret, Trump, whoever is the VP pick, Leonard Leo, and for grins shoot Ted Cruz in both his knees.

    2. Write an official detailed memo about why killing those people is an official act. Make sure to use the military to do the killing and official condone collateral killings.

    3. When his term expires leave office and let the speaker of the house become president.

    4. Get arrested and immediately assert Presidential Immunity. Have the memo entered into evidence.

    5. Let Roberts eat shit.

    The country will burn, but I’m pretty sure we just Brexited ourselves and don’t even realize it.

  25. dazedandconfused says:


    There is another remedy, an amendment that states no one, not even the POTUS, is above the law. It’s the trump card in the Constitution that allows the people to overrule the Supreme Court, essentially. I suspect it would be doable, as it would be difficult to campaign against, particularly if it took place during the reign of a POTUS with a D behind his or her name and a majority in both houses. If We The People are unable to accomplish even that then We have become something unworthy or unfit for this form of government.

  26. Gustopher says:

    @Beth: I think loud, painful audits of the conservatives on the Supreme Court, and their clerks, could go a long way towards quickly clarifying what the President is allowed to do that has absolute immunity, and triggering some substantial checks on that power.

    The IRS is part of the executive branch, after all. If the President has absolute immunity on justice department and military decisions, I expect the same with the Treasury. (And he can use pardon power to protect the lower level workers)

    Releasing Trump’s tax returns also has potential.

    And directing the Justice Department to investigate each of the conservative justices for … whatever.

    A gentler, but escalating abuse of power. Outlined in an executive order or memo called the “Trump v. United States Test Case Order”

  27. Gustopher says:

    @Beth: Is Canada out of the question for some reason? It seems less worse than TERF Island, but I almost certainly don’t follow those bigots as closely as you do.

  28. Beth says:


    I can claim UK citizenship through my idiot father. The short answer from the solicitor seems to be some paperwork and cash. I was born when he was still a UK citizen. I’ll have a better idea in about two weeks.

    The irony (Alanis Morrisette version) is that my dad, aunts, and Uncles fled England as soon as they possibly could. My dad is a racist and a good chunk of his racism is directed towards the various inhabitants of the British isles, but particularly the English. He would shit fire if he found out I moved back.

  29. Tim says:

    @Erik: We had a batch of substantial Amendments after the Civil War to patch up the Constitution after the hot civil war. I expect when this is all over with we’ll have a few more after this cold civil war.

  30. Dave Munger says:

    Am I the only one too dense to see why this doesn’t mean that Biden is now entirely unbound by law as long as he declares any otherwise unlawful acts official? If he loses, can he not now simply refuse to leave office, and have anyone who objects shot?

  31. Ken_L says:


    So if a president is recorded on tape confessing killing someone, one cannot introduce that evidence- truly ridiculous.

    Exactly the same thought occurred to me. Team Trump kept justifying “absolute immunity” by claiming that without it, Obama could be prosecuted for the murder of Anwar Al-Aulaqi, Samir Khan, and 16-year-old Abdulrahman Al-Aulaqi in Yemen. On this ruling, Obama could brag to reporters “Yeah I had those guys killed because my half sister in Kenya owed them money, nothing to do with national security,” and there is nothing the US criminal justice system could do about it. A very strange result.

    But it’s another sign of the institutional failures that are causing the gradual disintegration of American democratic governance. The collective impact of the last two weeks of Supreme Court decisions has been to weaken the power of both Congress and the executive while significantly increasing that of an unelected, unaccountable federal judiciary. It’s hard to believe either side of politics can regard that as a desirable development … unless one side sees it as a helpful transitional step towards an eventual authoritarian one-party state.

  32. Erik says:

    @DrDaveT: and if it is a catch 22 don’t just live with it, fix the system. The citizens are not (entirely) helpless.

  33. Erik says:

    @dazedandconfused: I of course agree with this, and would settle for this as enough, but I would attempt to seize the moment and address many of the other issues that have allowed this SCOTUS to make a mockery of rule of law. Citizens united, and the “post hoc payments aren’t bribes” off the top of my head

  34. Erik says:

    @Tim: let’s hope so

  35. gVOR10 says:

    @Dave Munger:

    Am I the only one too dense to see why this doesn’t mean that Biden is now entirely unbound by law as long as he declares any otherwise unlawful acts official?

    That’s what Leonard Leo’s lackeys wrote down. But they created huge uncertainty which only SCOTUS can adjudicate. If push comes to shove, they’ll somehow find that a D prez has separate and unequal immunity.

  36. TheRyGuy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    James, you’re wrong. Trump, or any POTUS, can now do anything they like.

    You mean like assassinate U.S. citizens without Congressional or Judicial oversight? Or forgive student loans despite the Supreme Court saying it is illegal?

    The willful stupidity the Left retreated to in response to Trump is going to plague us for decades after Trump is finally gone.

  37. TheRyGuy says:

    @Dave Munger:

    If he loses, can he not now simply refuse to leave office, and have anyone who objects shot?

    And this is a great example of that willful stupidity. What stopped Biden or Trump or Obama or Bush from doing that before? Nine fat old lawyers in DC? That the only thing that stopped Trump from canceling the 2020 election and throwing his enemies in prison is the Supreme Court wouldn’t like it?

  38. Michael Reynolds says:

    You know what’s revealing, MAGAt? You don’t even bother to deny that Trump would sell nuclear secrets to Putin. You know it’s true. You know your cult leader is garbage – that’s why you like him. He’s a POS, just like you.

  39. Tony W says:

    @James Joyner: Justice Sotomayer disagrees.

    SCOTUS just ruled that the president can order them assassinated.

    That’s where we are as a country. And it is NOT the status-quo.

    I’m not sure I can stay here anymore.

  40. @TheRyGuy:

    You mean like assassinate U.S. citizens without Congressional or Judicial oversight?

    Which should not have been done, but now such acts are utterly free and clear.

    Happy now?

  41. @TheRyGuy: The problem is you see all this as a game wherein scoring cheap points as to which side did what is somehow satisfactory.

    It is like people who think they won an intellectual battle by pointing out that the Democrats were the party of segregation.

    Partisan hacks think they have scored by correctly identifying the past sins of the other team.

    People who care about the evils of segregation (and of present bigotry and racism) are concerned about those evils and how to fix them.

  42. reid says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: 1000x this. It’s why social media is such a sewer. There is so little genuine discourse. If these are real people, they’re broken, empty people.

  43. Kevin says:

    So we’re clear, the Supreme Court says that it can still decide there are things the President/executive can’t do (ie, forgive student loans, try to reduce the impact of climate change, keep the food and medicine supply safe, and so on), but that the President can’t be criminally charged for things. Unless the Supreme Court says he can be, of course.

    And while it’s amusing to think of all the things that Biden could do now, he won’t, because he seems to be a fundamentally decent man.

  44. steve says:

    “It is like people who think they won an intellectual battle by pointing out that the Democrats were the party of segregation.”

    Thanks for stating this clearly. It’s really an effort to establish false equivalency. In the case of the assassination it was an American who was helping plan and order the killing of Americans and who was beyond the reach of the justice system. You can argue the merits of the case but has some nuances and no clear answer. That is being equated to a president calling a governor and trying to arrange false electors to take the place of the real ones. There is no nuance there, it’s just wrong and it was clearly only to the benefit of Trump.


  45. just nutha says:

    @Kevin: Don’t leave out that the current SCOTUS would convict Biden of any/all of them in a cocaine heartbeat. That’s why the Supremes are necessary to adjudicate any subsequent questions.

  46. Jax says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Of course he’s happy now. A couple months back he was telling us all “we were going to get what we deserve” if/when Trump was elected again.


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