Legal Figures Predict Further Failure For Trump’s Immunity Claims In Court Cases

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Multiple longtime legal figures are predicting the U.S. Supreme Court won’t even take up appeals from former President Donald Trump in a couple of key disputes. That list includes the legal battle over whether he can be sued with allegations of civil liability in connection to the early 2021 Capitol attack and the criminal case he is facing from Special Counsel Jack Smith over allegations of attempted election interference.

In the back-and-forth over the civil litigation Trump is already facing for the riot, an appeals court recently issued an initial rebuttal of Trump’s ideas of far-reaching presidential immunity, though proceedings were set to continue. (Trump has infamously claimed some sort of immunity or privilege associated with his current or former office at an obsessive rate amid his wide-ranging travails in court.) “Rather, in his view, a President’s speech on matters of public concern is invariably an official function, and he was engaged in that function when he spoke at the January 6 rally and in the leadup to that day,” an appeals judge wrote, discussing Trump. “We cannot accept that rationale.”

And this is what former federal Judge J. Michael Luttig said: “Chief Judge Srinivasan, writing for the court, is indisputably correct, and I cannot imagine the Supreme Court granting certiorari if the former president appeals.” “Granting certiorari” refers to the process of that higher court taking up a given dispute.

Speaking about the future of appeals in Jack Smith’s Trump case was Neal Katyal, whose professional background includes time as acting solicitor general, where he was the top lawyer for U.S. federal government arguments before the Supreme Court. In the Smith case, presiding Judge Tanya Chutkan also recently rejected claims from Trump of protective presidential immunity.

“Everything Donald Trump says, like in those clips you just showed, is bogus,” Katyal said, discussing why he thinks that higher court wouldn’t take up Trump’s appeals here either. “Like a hundred percent bogus. […] This is not a good-faith argument about the Constitution, because no scholar would support him. This is just about delay.” Katyal then discussed Trump’s shifting rationales for trying to push away the prospect of legal consequence, from the claim while president that holding the office broadly immunized him to the idea now that running for the office (and having held it previously) should legally protect him. Can Trump ever go on trial in his team’s imagining?