Mister Smith Goes to SCOTUS

The Story Thus Far: In Trump’s J6 trial in DC, U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan set a March 4 trial date. And she seems determined to keep that date. She’s begun the process of jury selection already.

Trump’s entire strategy consists of slowing down the process so he can get elected president again before he’s found guilty. To that end, Trump is claiming absolute immunity from prosecution for anything he did while he was president. It’s basically the Nixonian “if the president does it …” position.  He filed a motion claiming immunity with Chutkan, that she denied. Then on Thursday he filed a notice that he intends to appeal Chutkan’s decision to the D.C. Circuit Court, and he demanded that all court procedings stop until the D. C. Circuit gives an opinion. (It’s not clear to me whether this appeal has been filed or if it’s something he still intends to get to eventually, like in 2025.)

Last night Jack Smith filed a response to Trump’s Thursday notice, saying that Judge Chutkan doesn’t have to stop the whole process. Chutkan can still hold the March trial date on the calendar. She can continue to rule on already pending motions. She can enforce the gag order against Trump and the terms of his release. She can keep things moving forward for the time being.

And today Jack Smith went to the Supreme Court and asked the Court to go ahead and decide whether Trump has absolute immunity.

“This case presents a fundamental question at the heart of our democracy: whether a former President is absolutely immune from federal prosecution for crimes committed while in office,” Smith wrote in the court filing.

Smith said it was “of imperative public importance” that the high court decide the question so that Trump’s trial, currently scheduled for March, can move forward as quickly as possible. …

… Smith asked the court to order Trump to respond by Dec. 18 and then immediately act on his request. Under the timeline proposed by Smith, the court — if it decides to step in — could hear arguments and issue a ruling in a matter of weeks.

There is precedent for such an outcome, with Smith citing the 1974 U.S. v. Nixon case, in which the court ruled on an expedited basis that President Richard Nixon had to hand over tape recordings sought during the Watergate scandal probe. Nixon resigned soon after the ruling.

More recently, the court has on several occasions taken up cases at an early stage of litigation to decide issues of national importance, such as the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for businesses and its plan to forgive student loan debt. The justices ruled against Biden in both cases.

Of course there is no telling what the current Court might do. But the question will end up there, anyway. There’s been no response from the Court so far whether they will accept Smith’s request.

In other news: Kate Cox has left Texas to terminate her pregnancy elsewhere. News reports don’t say where. I do not blame her. Now let’s see if odious toad Ken Paxton tries to prosecute her if she returns to Texas.

Update: The Texas Supreme Court ruled against Kate Cox. Texas women have the legal status of cows now.

Update: SCOTUS will hear Jack Smith’s request. They ordered a response from Trump’s lawyers by Wednesdday, December 20.


15 thoughts on “Mister Smith Goes to SCOTUS

  1. Paxton doesn't have to persecute (not a typo for prosecute!) her. Presuming her husband drove her, the odious $10K bounty law is there for any willing a-hole to pick up the slack.

  2. Kate Cox made the right decision. At least now her health ( physical and emotional) and the future of her fertility will be safeguarded. It will change the dynamic of what the State of Texas is trying to accomplish by prosecuting her further. Now it will become a case of not saving the unborn, but of punishing a women who seeks to defend her life and  her God given right to procreate in her future.

    My feeling is the the Texas law is designed to instill fear in women and the people who support them more than to pursue the cruelty it's intended to cast. Scare them into obedience. Their bounty law is totally insane and I would suspect it wouldn't hold up if  forcefully challenged in a court of law.

  3. It's good to see that Smith is determined to run that bag of shit Trump into the ground.

     No rest for the wicked?

  4. "odious toad Ken Paxton"

    Best description of that tool I've heard yet! Whenever a so-called "pro-lifer" talks about exceptions to abortion limits only two words need to be said: Kate Cox!

  5. If a cow gets an abortion , others can help her, she can travel certain highways leading out of state, her doctor won't be sued prosecuted jailed or license lost, her parent or spouse won't be sued for assisting and her other children don't have to worry about losing their mother.

    So I would say less than the legal privileges of cows.

  6. Trump has no intention of following court orders until/unless there are consequences. I think some on the USSC are smart enough to appreciate that the USSC would exist to rubber-stamp any decisions from the Oval Office because the USSC has no mechanism to enforce their decisions EXCEPT a referral to DOJ. Under Trump, the A/G will be a complete toadie, much worse than Barr. (and I thought Barr was the bottom of the barrel)

    The precedent of conferring complete, lifelong immunity for all crimes while in office is unthinkable. There is only one justice who might try to give that to Trump. (You guess.) The court will have to decide this now or next year. The only thing a delay does is push out the trial. So this is good – I'm hopeful that this will keep the DC trial on track for March (or so) next year.

  7. OK. The SCOTUS decision invites (orders) a response from Team Trump re what Jack sent SCOTUS. In other words, "Suppose you tell us, Trump. if we should consider the issue in an all-fired hurry." SO by Dec. 20, Trump has to explain why the Supreme Court should NOT look at the Trump argument that he has a lifetime get-out-of-jail-free card for u he did while POTUS.

    Got that? Trump has to argue that the case is beneath the notice of the Supreme Court because this is a delaying tactic that fails when they rule. This will go down as the definition of farce.

    I really can't imagine any argument that justifies ignoring the issue of whether or not Trump is above the law. If the USSC was going to ignore this, they would not have responded in the hurry that they did. Soon after Trump responds, the USSC will (I think) schedule oral arguments before the USSC. My guess is January. But I think the issue will be decided VERY quickly after oral arguments. I hope January. The Court decided Bush v Gore in a day.

    From what I read from lawyers, Trump is going to trial after that. This is the ONLY gambit that Trump can propose that would derail the prosecution of the case. It's the only argument that can question if Trump is not guilty because he's not subject to prosecution. All other arguments have to address conventional defenses to the charges. The judge can disallow frivolous defense arguments – any "real" argument will be heard by the jury.

  8. Hopefully a ruling by SCOTUS that Trump is not above the law will go a long way in tidying up their image of being an appendage of the GOP. It seems to me that the question of whether Trump is immune from prosecution for his criminal acts is a no brainer. It is blatantly at odds with the concept of equal justice under law. How anybody could seriously consider Trump would be immune from his criminality is beyond me. We got rid of the concept of the Divine right of Kings in 1776. We don't need to reinstate it.

    • If SCOTUS decides that Stump has complete immunity then I guess the upcoming election won't mean Jack Shit. If Stump has immunity then so does Biden. If the Supremes say a president is king and can never be prosecuted then goddamn it's Joe and Kamala forever! Hey Clarence put that in your pipe and smoke it!


      • Yep. Any immunity the USSC grants Trump as president, no matter how it's defined, is bestowed on Biden in corresponding circumstances. This whole idea is DOA when it hits the Supremes. The ONLY thing they could have done for Trump on this is ignore it as long as possible to give Trump a shot in the election. And the USSC isn't doing that.

  9. According to the new speaker, Ukraine's president didn't articulate his strategy for victory in sufficient detail to get the speaker's support for the aid that is sought. 

    When I first saw the brief clip this afternoon, my immediate thought was: Thank goodness the president of Ukraine did not comply with the speaker's request for details about the strategy, because there is no guarantee that the details would not find their way through labyrinthine channels to the Kremlin.  Ukraine's president is too smart to take that risk, which could unfold through multiple steps of carelessness or otherwise.

    The Speaker is in the legislative branch, not the executive branch. The Congress has a legitimate oversight function, but that does not include the right to meddle with the administrative function which falls within the executive branch. At this point, the Speaker's posturing represents a willingness to cosplay usurpation of the domain of the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, and the various Intelligence Community agencies which own the management of the operational details which those agencies use keep our country safe from threats.  It's a shame that the R base will buy this snake oil.

    And while I was thinking about the new Speaker, it took me back to several interviews I've seen in the past week or so, interviews with Tim Alberta about his book on the evangelical right. Alberta, the son of an old-school evangelical minister and an evangelical believer himself, is horrified by the evangelical right in this country, and he is pretty scathing about Mr. Johnson. But there is a fair amount of confusion publicly about where the new Speaker actually stands. With the Mr. Rogers demeanor and the appearance of a sense of responsibility around the debt limit extension vote juxtaposed with the constant carrying of the Bible and the public statement that it is all he needs to know about anything breeds a sense of mystery.  So my final point here is that this evening, it occurred to me that it might be true/insightful to think of the current GOP as the party of deception.  Directly from that thought, the following things followed: The GOP platform for 2020 being (for all practical purposes) a blank sheet of paper; TFG's constant presentation of a smokescreen, as if he's at a poker table trying to keep his opponents in the dark about the cards he holds (and the way he publicly states that this is how he rolls… it's just smart business practice). We cannot afford to have one of the two major political parties in our democratic republic dedicated to keeping the public in the dark about their intentions.  That strikes me as being fundamentally insurrectionist in nature, given our constitution.  

  10. With the law firm of Furschitz and Giggles (Motto: We f**k the constitution so you don't have to) controlling 66.6% of the Supremes, I fear the worst can and will happen.

    While the above arguments are sound regarding the decision going both ways for whoever wins when the decision of declaring democracy dead "and presidents shall hereby known as trumps and rule for life", Furschitz and Giggles will use the same logic they use for many of their decisions, which is "Because we feel like it, now where's my money ( or bling, or cruises around the world or people to work in my palace).


    • There's plenty of indication that the Federalist Society (AKA Big Money) is opposed to Trump. (Thomas is the exception.) Lawyers with the FS made the written and public argument that Trump is disqualified based on the Constitution.

Comments are closed.