Delayed & Dangerous SCOTUS Ruling Allows Trump to Avoid January 6th Trial Until After the Election

Today, in a ruling that likely comes too late to hold a trial prior to the election, the U.S. Supreme Court in Trump v. United States found that presidents are immune from prosecution for actions within their conclusive and preclusive constitutional authority, and are presumptively immune from prosecution for official acts and returned the case to the district court.

Common Cause’s brief in the case had urged the High Court to rule expeditiously, citing previous cases – including United States v. Nixon and Bush v. Gore – where the Justices acted quickly when the presidency was at stake and the public interest demanded speed.

Statement of Common Cause President Virginia Kase Solomón

Today, I join Justice Sotomayor in her “fear for our democracy.”

This decision is fraught with dangerous potential. It will likely deprive the American people of the trial and verdict that they deserve prior to going to the polls in November. It undermines the principle that no one is above the law and allows former President Trump to avoid prosecution on charges that he conspired to overturn the 2020 election until after the current election.

Today’s decision means that presidents and former presidents are absolutely immune from criminal prosecution for actions related to their core constitutional powers, and presumptively immune from prosecution for “official acts.”  In practice, this makes it nearly impossible for a president to be prosecuted for actions they took in office – even if those acts were criminal. This is not how a democracy that works for all should function, nor what the framers intended

Notably, however, the District Court will now take up the questions left by the Supreme Court around whether the former president’s specific conduct was an official or unofficial act, and to what extent the presumption of immunity stands. This means we still have the opportunity to hold former President Trump accountable for his actions in attempting to overturn the will of the people in 2020.

The timing of the Court’s action today stands in stark contrast to an earlier expedited ruling from the Court to restore the former president to the ballot in Colorado after the state had ruled him ineligible to hold federal office for inciting an insurrection to overturn the 2020 election. The inconsistency in the Court’s actions in these two cases leave the American people to question to why both were decided on timetables beneficial to the candidacy of former-President Trump.

Regardless of whether you believe that the Court made the right decision, violence, threats, and harassment are unacceptable in our democracy. We call on elected leaders, candidates, and other thought leaders to use their platforms responsibly to turn down the national temperature.


To read Common Cause’s amicus brief in Trump v. United States urging an expedited ruling, click here.