- The Supreme Court’s decisions on issues relating to former President Donald Trump may have an impact on the 2024 election.
- The scope of an obstruction law connected to two of the counts in Special Counsel Jack Smith’s indictment of Trump is at the heart of a Jan. 6 defendant’s case the justices agreed Wednesday to take up.
- Smith also asked the justices Monday to decide on Trump’s claim to presidential immunity from prosecution rather than letting Trump’s appeal play out first in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Supreme Court could have a substantial impact on the 2024 election as it considers contentious issues relating to former President Donald Trump.
Special Counsel Jack Smith asked the Supreme Court on Monday to consider Trump’s claim to presidential immunity from prosecution in his 2020 election case. The justices also agreed Wednesday to hear a case considering the scope of an obstruction law that has been used to charge hundreds of Jan. 6 defendants and is connected to two key charges in Smith’s four-count indictment against the former president, potentially throwing a central part of the case into jeopardy.
Trump’s attorneys have alleged that Smith’s push to rush the case to trial was “to try to prevent President Trump from winning the 2024 election, which he is currently leading.”
Though the justices have not yet decided whether they will weigh in on the immunity question, they asked Trump’s lawyers to respond to Smith’s request by Dec. 20.
Meanwhile, District Judge Tanya Chutkan paused proceedings in his trial while the appeal is pending. Chutkan rejectedTrump’s bid to dismiss his case based on presidential immunity on Dec. 1, writing that the presidency “does not confer a lifelong ‘get-out-of-jail-free’ pass.”
— Katelynn Richardson (@katesrichardson) December 13, 2023
The D.C. case is one of multiple criminal indictments against the former president. He also faces federal charges brought by Smith in Florida stemming from alleged mishandling of classified documents, and two cases on state charges in Georgia and New York.
South Texas College of Law Houston professor Josh Blackman told the Daily Caller News Foundation he is “not sure any of these cases, so far at least, have impacted Trump’s ability to win the presidency.”
“At one level, these cases will require Trump to focus on things outside the campaign,” Blackman said. “But at another level, these cases will give Trump more of a platform to attack what he sees as the ‘witch hunt’ against him.”
“And if he wins, the cases in state court would pause, and the cases in federal court would likely draw to a close,” he noted.
There’s still another issue that could come before the Supreme Court: Trump’s eligibility for the ballot, which has been challenged in a number of states under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The amendment restricts government officials who took an oath to the Constitution and then “engaged in insurrection” from holding office.
The Supreme Court declined an appeal in October from little-known 2024 Republican presidential candidate John Anthony Castro, who filed a lawsuit in Florida challenging Trump’s eligibility for the ballot. Multiple federal judges have also sided with Trump in Castro’s lawsuits to remove him in other states, finding Castro lacked standing to sue.
However, the Colorado Supreme Court is currently weighing a case brought by a different plaintiff, the left-wing donor backed group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). Colorado state Judge Sarah Wallace previously ruled in November that Trump did engage in an insurrection on Jan. 6, but did not fall under the definition of an “officer of the United States” disqualified from holding office under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.
Notre Dame Law School Professor and election law expert Derek Muller told the DCNF in September that the Supreme Court would likely weigh in to provide “some clarity and potential uniformity” if Trump is removed in at least one state.
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