Neal Katyal, who once served as acting Solicitor General of the United States — meaning the figure who represents the federal government’s position in arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court, suggested on social media this week that the nation’s highest court wouldn’t even take up some of the latest arguments from Trump.
The arguments are Trump’s now infamous claims of widely encompassing protections for a president from even the possibility of prosecution for actions taken amid their official duties. Trump’s team has been trying to use the claims to shut down a criminal case from Special Counsel Jack Smith related to the ex-president’s attempts to stay in power after the last presidential race despite losing. In so doing, they’ve put forth a vision of presidents arguably above the law, setting up — if their imaginings were upheld — a White House specifically empowered to take action like what Trump is accused of doing after that election.
“I do not think the Supreme Court will hear Trump’s appeal. Of course, anything can happen and it takes 4 of the 9 Justices to vote to hear a case. But Trump’s argument is so weak and the Court of Appeals decision so thorough and well done, I can see SCOTUS voting not to hear it,” Katyal said on X, the platform formerly called Twitter.
The appeals court decision that Katyal referenced is a three-judge panel’s decision in Washington, D.C. For some observers, the writing was already on the rhetorical wall signifying Trump losing in the actual arguments, but the anticipated trial in the case from Smith has been indefinitely on hold while Trump’s appeals have moved forward, accommodating the possibility of the courts upholding Trump’s challenge to the entire proceeding. Of course, the opportunity to bring procedural grievances and have them heard to the point that the entire case is paused rather contradicts Trump’s incessant claims that he’s the victim of political persecution in being meaningfully pursued within the justice system at all.