On Monday, Special Counsel Jack Smith petitioned the Supreme Court to review former President Donald Trump’s immunity defense in the case against him related to the 2020 election.
Trump’s legal team has argued in his defense that charges should be dismissed on the grounds that he is protected by presidential immunity because the alleged crimes he is accused of happened while he was still president. The attorneys also assert that prosecuting Trump for these allegations violates double jeopardy because he was acquitted of the same allegations by the Senate in 2021.
District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who has been found to have serious bias against Trump in this case, disagreed with the Trump legal team’s arguments — ruling on December 1 that he is not immune from prosecution.
Trump immediately appealed the ruling, which delays the trial process — ultimately prompting Smith’s decision to escalate the matter to the Supreme Court.
The former president’s appeal would have brought the issue before the D.C. Appeals Court, but the special counsel has petitioned the Supreme Court to expedite a review of Chutkan’s ruling — complaining about the delay caused by Trump’s appeal, which is his legal right.
“The district court presiding over this case rejected respondent’s constitutional arguments and has scheduled trial for March 4, 2024,” prosecutors wrote in the petition.
“Respondent’s notice of appeal, however, suspends trial proceedings, and respondent has moved for a stay of all proceedings in the district court while his appeal is pending,” the petition continued. “It is of paramount public importance that respondent’s claims of immunity be resolved as expeditiously as possible— and, if respondent is not immune, that he receive a fair and speedy trial on these charges.”
Prosecutors went on to express concern that without Supreme Court intervention, “the pace of review may not result in a final decision for many months” — which would delay the trial indefinitely.
The prosecutors repeatedly deem their demand to expedite the trial to be in the “public” interest throughout their petition, though they don’t actually explain what the public’s interest is in ensuring that Trump’s trial begins on March 4.
In an article on the issue, The Blaze questions Smith’s desire to rush the trial, asking: “Are prosecutors really concerned with providing Trump with a speedy trial? The case, after all, is already moving at lightning speed; Trump was indicted in August, which means only seven months would elapse between the indictment and the beginning of the trial.”
The outlet went on to point out that Trump’s trial date “was already controversial,” noting that the date chosen coincidentally happened to be “in the middle of the primary season” and just “one day before Super Tuesday” — which has prompted “accusations that prosecutors are seeking to damage Trump’s presidential prospects.”
Meanwhile, constitutional law scholar Jonathan Turley pointed out in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, that the Supreme Court might not be inclined to agree with Smith on the issue.
“The Supreme Court may not view a trial of Trump during the campaign to be as motivating or urgent as does Smith,” he wrote.
…The Supreme Court may not view a trial of Trump during the campaign to be as motivating or urgent as does Smith. This is a novel legal argument that the Court would ordinarily prefer to hear the views from the appellate judges.
— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) December 11, 2023
Democrats are already expressing concern that the potential decision from the Supreme Court could instantly put an end to two of the left’s attempts to prosecute Trump — with CNN’s Elie Honig arguing that a Trump victory would “obviously” end Smith’s case and likely shut down Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis’ case as well.
JUST IN – FEAR ON THE LEFT: CNN's Elie Honig warns that Jack Smith, by going directly to the Supreme Court, may be making a HUGE mistake, as this could instantly end two of the most serious Trump trials. WATCH pic.twitter.com/yf4cvuiF82
— Simon Ateba (@simonateba) December 11, 2023