Former President Donald Trump filed a brief with the Supreme Court Wednesday urging justices to delay a decision on whether he has “absolute immunity” for actions he took as president. He has been charged by Special Counsel Jack Smith with plotting to overturn the 2020 election.
In his filing, Trump urged the Court to take a deliberate approach and not to acquiesce to the special counsel’s request to bypass a federal appeals court and rule on the immunity question on a quick schedule:
“This case presents a fundamental question at the heart of our democracy,” Pet. 2—whether a President may be criminally prosecuted for his official acts. The “paramount public importance” of that question, Pet. 15, calls for it to be resolved in a cautious, deliberative manner—not at breakneck speed.
Trump’s team said the urgency demanded by Smith was artificial and detrimental to his case:
The Special Counsel urges this Court to bypass those ordinary procedures, including the longstanding preference for prior consideration by at least one court of appeals, and rush to decide the issues with reckless abandon. The Court should decline that invitation at this time…
Trump responds to the Special Counsel's requested expedited SCOTUS review.— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) December 20, 2023
"Novel, complex, sensitive, and historic issues-such as the existence of presidential immunity from criminal prosecution for official acts- call for more careful deliberation, not less." pic.twitter.com/K31pCaMmK0
The filing further went on to argue that due to the historic nature of the prosecution, more time should be taken rather than less:
Yet importance does not automatically necessitate speed. If anything, the opposite is usually true. Novel, complex, sensitive, and historic issues—such as the existence of presidential immunity from criminal prosecution for official acts—call for more careful deliberation, not less. When a case “arouses keen interest,” “courts should respond to that circumstance in a calm, orderly, and deliberative fashion in accordance with the best traditions of the law.
Smith has been all-in on a March 4, 2024, court date, but Trump’s lawyers have said the date has no “talismanic significance.” Of course, it might have significance to Jack Smith, considering it falls one day before the Super Tuesday primaries, where approximately one-third of all delegates to the presidential nominating conventions will be won.
Election interference, anyone?
Trump seems to agree:
“He [Smith] confuses the ‘public interest’ with the manifest partisan interest in ensuring that President Trump will be subjected to a monthslong criminal trial at the height of a presidential campaign where he is the leading candidate and the only serious opponent of the current administration,” the brief said. “The combination of an almost three-year wait to bring this case and the special counsel’s current demand for extraordinary expedition, supported by the vaguest of justifications, creates a compelling inference of partisan motivation.”
One thing is crystal clear: Jack Smith wants to get this thing rolling as quickly as possible, regardless of whether it tramples on Trump’s rights to a fair trial, while Trump is adamant that the whole process needs to slow down.
We will let you know how the high court rules in this key decision. Meanwhile, Trump made his feelings clear on this and all the other legal hurdles thrown his way by the DOJ: