Trump asks the Supreme Court to postpone the presidential immunity ruling in the 2020 election case


Former US President Donald Trump speaks during a press conference held at Mar-a-Lago on February 08, 2024 in Palm Beach, Florida.

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On Monday, Donald Trump’s lawyers asked the Supreme Court to temporarily halt the trial proceedings to rule His claim that he is immune from criminal prosecution by trying to overturn his loss in the 2020 presidential election was rejected.

Last Tuesday, a three-judge panel of the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., unanimously rejected Trump’s argument that he could not be prosecuted for any official acts he took as president.

The ruling would end Trump’s efforts to dismiss the election interference case brought by special counsel Jack Smith and resume proceedings in federal district court in D.C.

But the panel held off on taking its 57-page ruling into effect until Monday, giving Trump’s lawyers time to ask the Supreme Court to temporarily halt the case while they file an appeal to the nation’s highest court.

Trump’s request for a stay of execution keeps the case on hold, at least until the Supreme Court rules on whether or not to approve the request. An individual justice can make this decision.

The nine-member Supreme Court includes three justices appointed under Trump, but Chief Justice John Roberts, who was nominated by former President George W. Bush, is charged with handling matters coming out of D.C.

Trump sought to postpone his multiple criminal and civil cases as he ran for the Republican presidential nomination. He is currently the Republican Party’s front-runner, and is preparing for a potential rematch with President Joe Biden.

Last week’s ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld US District Judge Tanya Chutkan’s earlier decision denying Trump’s claim of “absolute” presidential immunity.

Protesters demonstrate outside the US Supreme Court on February 8, 2024 in Washington, DC.

Julia Nickinson | Getty Images

“For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become a Trump citizen, with all the defenses of any other criminal defendant,” the ruling by appellate judges Karen Lecraft Henderson, Michelle Childs and Florence Pan said.

“But any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as president no longer protects him from this prosecution,” they ruled.

Trump’s lawyers say the Constitution’s principle of separation of powers prevents courts from reviewing the president’s official actions. They also argued that the same principle required immunity to avoid obstruction of the functions of the executive.

The Court of Appeal rejected those arguments.

“At heart, former President Trump’s position would collapse our system of separation of powers by placing the president beyond the reach of the three powers,” the justices ruled.

They also rejected Trump’s claim that the Constitution only allows for impeachment against a former president if he has been impeached and convicted by Congress, calling it “irrational.”

Trump was impeached in the House of Representatives twice while in office, but the Senate voted on both occasions to acquit him. The majority of Senators voted to convict Trump in his second impeachment trial on charges of incitement to rebellion on January 6, 2021 at the US Capitol, but the vote did not reach the two-thirds requirement.

Smith is on trial in Trump’s D.C. election case on four criminal charges, including conspiracy to defraud the United States by attempting to reverse the 2020 results and conspiring to prevent Congress from certifying Biden’s victory on January 6, 2021.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to those charges and dozens of others in three other active criminal cases, which he claims are part of a conspiracy by the Biden administration to damage him politically.

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