Supreme Court sets deadline for response to Trump immunity appeal

Washington DC - The US Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered special counsel Jack Smith to respond by next Tuesday to Donald Trump’s blanket immunity appeal in his stalled 2020 election interference case.

Special prosecutor Jack Smith (r.) has until February 20 to respond to Donald Trump's appeal against a lower court ruling that rejected his presidential immunity argument.
Special prosecutor Jack Smith (r.) has until February 20 to respond to Donald Trump's appeal against a lower court ruling that rejected his presidential immunity argument.  © REUTERS

Chief Justice John Roberts gave prosecutors eight days to say whether they believe the top court should hear Trump’s explosive claim that he cannot be prosecuted for crimes he committed while in the White House.

Trump met a Monday deadline to ask the Supreme Court to hear his appeal of a unanimous DC Circuit Court of Appeals panel’s ruling that he cannot be allowed to be above the law.

Roberts’ ruling sets in motion a dance with the other eight justices that could result in Trump’s case being returned swiftly to Judge Tanya Chutkan for trial, being delayed indefinitely, or something in between.

Trump may be sued by E. Jean Carroll for a third time after Memorial Day rant
Donald Trump Trump may be sued by E. Jean Carroll for a third time after Memorial Day rant

If four or five of the nine justices believe the top court should hear Trump’s appeal, they could decide to schedule arguments soon enough to make a ruling in a couple of months, which could leave the former president facing a summer trial.

Or they could hear the case in their normal fall session, effectively letting Trump off the hook until after the presidential election that he hopes will get him back into power, allowing him to kill the case.

A third option would be for the court to refuse to hear the appeal and allow the appeals court decision to stand, a move that would lead to Trump’s trial likely starting in mid-spring.

Trump is accused of seeking to overturn his loss to President Joe Biden in the 2020 election, an effort that culminated in the violent January 6 attack on the Capitol in 2021. It’s one of four criminal trials he faces, covering 91 felony counts.

Cover photo: REUTERS

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