Thursday, July 4, 2024

Congressman announces plans to reverse SCOTUS immunity ruling

Congressman Joe Morelle (D-NY) announced plans to attempt to reverse this week’s US Supreme Court ruling on former US President Donald Trump’s immunity claims, reports Jurist.

He said in a statement:

I am introducing a constitutional amendment to reverse the Supreme Court’s catastrophic decision and ensure no president is above the law. This amendment will do what they failed to do — prioritize our democracy. The Supreme Court decision will cause a seismic shift in the powers of the presidency unless we take immediate action to ensure accountability, integrity, and justice prevail.

In a split decision, the Supreme Court ruled Monday that former US presidents ar immune from criminal prosecution for actions taken within their constitutional purview, thus clearing a path for Donald Trump to challenge a federal indictment accusing him of conspiring to sabotage the 2020 elections.

The case, US v. Trump, centered on the former president’s alleged conduct on and leading up to Jan. 6, 2021, when supporters of then-President Donald Trump gathered outside the US Capitol as Congress met to certify Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election. As tensions escalated, some protesters breached the Capitol, resulting in property damage, clashes with law enforcement, and a significant delay in the certification process. The events raised widespread concerns about the security of democratic processes in the US and led to multiple prosecutions, including another case ruled on by the Supreme Court last week.

In August 2023, Trump was indicted on four counts related to the 2020 elections and the events leading up to Jan. 6. He was accused of having conspired to overturn the results of the election by pressuring electoral officials in swing states, pressuring federal officials to instill doubts in the electorate about the legitimacy of the vote, and ultimately, “exploiting” those of his supporters who had gathered in Washington DC on Jan. 6 “by redoubling efforts to levy false claims of election fraud and convince Members of Congress to further delay the certification.”

Trump pleaded not guilty and sought to dismiss the charges on grounds of presidential immunity. He asked the Supreme Court to determine whether the doctrine of absolute presidential immunity shields a former president from criminal prosecution for acts performed on the “outer perimeter” of their official duties.

In its ruling on Monday, the Supreme Court emphasized the imperative of protecting executive functions from the looming threat of prosecution in order to protect the president’s ability to act with agility amid rapidly developing crises. But the ruling specified that only constitutionally mandated presidential functions are protected on this basis, concluding that neither unofficial conduct nor functions shared between the executive and legislative branches are immune to prosecution.

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