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Supreme Court says Trump can’t be charged for actions as president

The U.S. Supreme Court decided that Donald Trump cannot be prosecuted for actions he took while he was president. This is the first time the court has said a president has some immunity from being charged with a crime.

The justices voted 6-3, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing the decision. They overturned a lower court’s ruling that rejected Trump’s claim of immunity for trying to overturn the 2020 election results. The six conservative justices agreed, while the three liberal justices disagreed.

Trump is running for president again against Joe Biden in the November election. The Supreme Court’s decision makes it unlikely that Trump will go to trial before the election for charges brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith.

Chief Justice Roberts wrote that former presidents have some immunity from being prosecuted for actions they took while in office. This means it’s very hard for prosecutors to charge a former president for their official actions.


President Biden called the ruling “a dangerous precedent” because it means the president might not be constrained by the law. He said, “This nation was founded on the principle that there are no kings in America … no one is above the law, not even the president of the United States.”

The ruling may affect the special counsel’s case against Trump. U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan will decide how much immunity Trump has.

Roberts said that a president needs to be able to do their job without fearing prosecution. However, he also said there is no immunity for unofficial acts.

Trump celebrated the ruling on social media, calling it a “BIG WIN FOR OUR CONSTITUTION AND DEMOCRACY.”


Trump, 78, is the first former U.S. president to be criminally prosecuted. He faces several criminal cases, including charges for trying to overturn the 2020 election. The court looked at four main actions in the indictment: Trump’s talks with Justice Department officials, his pressure on Vice President Mike Pence to block Biden’s win, his role in assembling fake electors, and his actions related to the January 6th attack on the Capitol.

The court decided that Trump is immune for his talks with Justice Department officials and is “presumptively immune” for his interactions with Pence. The other two categories will be decided by lower courts.

This is the first time the Supreme Court has said that former presidents can be protected from criminal charges in some cases. The court’s conservative majority includes three justices appointed by Trump.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by the other two liberal justices, wrote a strong dissent. She said the ruling creates a “law-free zone around the president.” She warned that a president could now act without fearing prosecution for many actions.


Trump’s trial was supposed to start on March 4, but now there’s no trial date set. The Supreme Court’s ruling and the time it will take to understand its implications mean a trial is unlikely before the election.

UCLA law professor Rick Hasen said the Supreme Court’s ruling favors the president’s immunity, making a pre-election trial unlikely. Georgetown University law professor Erica Hashimoto agreed, saying it will take a long time to sort out the ruling.

The Supreme Court made other decisions this year that helped Trump. They reinstated him on the presidential primary ballot in Colorado and raised the legal bar for prosecutors in Smith’s case against Trump.

Trump faces several charges, including conspiring to defraud the U.S., obstructing an official proceeding, and conspiring against the right to vote. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges and says they are politically motivated.


This decision is as significant as the court’s Bush v. Gore decision in 2000, which affected the presidential race between George W. Bush and Al Gore.

If Trump wins the presidency again, he could try to stop the prosecution or pardon himself for federal crimes.

Source: Reuters

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