U.S Supreme Court Agrees to Review Whether Donald Trump is Immune from Prosecution in Federal Election Interference Case

The United States Supreme Court has agreed to review if former President Donald Trump is immune from prosecution in the federal election interference case brought forward by the Special Counsel, a dispute during an election year that will have substantial political and legal implications for the country. 

Justices have put the appeal on the fast track and will hear verbal arguments in late April, with a ruling on the case’s merits expected by late June. Donald Trump’s criminal trial has been put on hold pending the resolution of the matter. 

Arguments are set to start the week of April 22.

This will be the second time during this term the Highest Court will hear a case that involves the presumed GOP presidential nominee. Separate arguments were held earlier in the month about whether the former President can be removed from the Colorado primary ballot over claims he led an “insurrection” during the January 6, 2021, incident at the Capitol.

The Supreme Court was considering an emergency appeal filed by former President Trump to extend the trial’s delay stemming from the 2020 election interference case of Special Counsel Jack Smith, arguing his presidential immunity protects him from prosecution.

The request came only days after the D.C. appeals court ruled the former President and GOP 2024 front-runner isn’t immune from prosecution in the Special Counsel’s case.

The request was for temporary relief to block or stay the appeals court mandate from taking effect, which would give Trump’s legal team additional time to file an appeal to the high court on the merits of whether or not the former President is immune from criminal prosecution for actions that happened while in office.

Just days later, Smith requested the U.S. Supreme Court reject Trump’s bid to delay the trial.

The case has “unique national importance”

Although the filing by the special counsel doesn’t explicitly mention Trump’s status as the GOP primary front-runner, and the upcoming November election with prosecutors describing the case as having “unique national importance” and said that “delay in the resolution of these charges threatens to frustrate the public interest in a speedy and fair verdict.”

The trial stems from Smith’s case against former President Trump and has been put on hold pending the resolution of the immunity question.

“If the prosecution of a President is upheld, such prosecutions will recur and become increasingly common, ushering in destructive cycles of recrimination,” stated the Trump request. “Criminal prosecution, with its greater stigma and more severe penalties, imposes a far greater ‘personal vulnerability’ on the President than any civil penalty.”

“The threat of future criminal prosecution by a politically opposed Administration will overshadow every future President’s official acts — especially the most politically controversial decisions,” added the request.

The request states Trump’s “political opponents will seek to influence and control his or her decisions via effective extortion or blackmail with the threat, explicit or implicit, of indictment by a future, hostile Administration, for acts that do not warrant any such prosecution.”

“This threat will hang like a millstone around every future President’s neck, distorting Presidential decision-making, undermining the President’s independence, and clouding the President’s ability ‘to deal fearlessly and impartially with’ the duties of his office.”

Attorneys for Trump added, “Without immunity from criminal prosecution, the Presidency as we know it will cease to exist.”

The decision follows after Tanya Chutkan, Washington, D.C., federal judge, delayed the trial, which was to begin Monday — the day before crucial Super Tuesday primary contests, when Alaska, California, Arkansas, Alabama, American Samoa, Texas, Utah, Colorado, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Maine, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas, Vermont and Virginia vote to choose a Republican nominee.

In December, Chutkan said she doesn’t have jurisdiction over the matter while it is pending before the Supreme Court and put a pause on the case against the GOP 2024 front-runner until the highest court decides its involvement.

Smith has charged the former President with conspiracy to defraud the U.S., obstruction of an attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights. The charges stemmed from Smith’s investigation into whether Trump was involved in the January 6 incident at the Capitol and any alleged interference in the 2020 election results.

In August, Trump pleaded not guilty to all charges.