U.S. Supreme Court Ruling: 'A Blow to Democratic Principles'

The US Supreme Court has granted partial immunity to former US President Donald Trump. While he and his supporters are celebrating, President Joe Biden and Democrats are sharply criticizing the Court's decision

by Sededin Dedovic
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U.S. Supreme Court Ruling: 'A Blow to Democratic Principles'
© Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

President Joe Biden sharply criticized the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court regarding former President Donald Trump's immunity. In a speech at the White House, Biden stated that the decision effectively means "there are no limits to what a president may do." He emphasized, "This is a completely new principle and a dangerous precedent," writes DW.

Biden stressed that no one is above the law, not even the President of the United States, promising to continue respecting the limits of presidential power as he has done so far. He added, "But every president, including Donald Trump, will now have the freedom to ignore the law."

President Joe Biden speaks to the media following the Supreme Courts ruling on charges against former President Donald Trump tha© Andrew Harnik / Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump viewed the Supreme Court ruling, which guarantees immunity from criminal prosecution while acting as president, as a monumental triumph.

Trump declared it a victory for the Constitution and democracy on his social media platform, Truth Social. Trump had earlier predicted in a podcast that the ruling would have a greater impact on his Democratic rival Biden than on himself.

The Supreme Court, where conservatives hold a majority, ruled that U.S. presidents are shielded from criminal prosecution at least when performing official duties. However, they do not enjoy immunity for unofficial actions during their presidential term.

Whether Trump's attempt to influence the election outcome was official or unofficial will be decided by a lower court. This makes it increasingly unlikely that Trump will face trial before the presidential elections on November 5 of this year.

Support for Trump's supporters

Trump's supporters, such as Republican Senator J.D. Vance, welcomed the Supreme Court's ruling. Vance wrote on his X profile that it could dismantle Special Counsel Jack Smith's lawsuit against the president.

Smith is investigating Trump for attempting to influence the election outcome and his role in the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot. Republican and staunch Trump critic Adam Kinzinger criticized the Supreme Court's decision on CNN, saying it completely absolves Trump of charges related to the events of January 6, 2021.

Strong criticism from the Democratic camp

Democrats reacted with dismay to the Supreme Court's decision. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer labeled the decision on his X profile as a "shameful ruling" that allows a former president to undermine democracy by breaking the law.

Former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi stated in a release that the Supreme Court's ruling departs from standards and violates the firm American principle that no one is above the law. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also weighed in on X, stating that the American people will hold Donald Trump accountable in November.

"Trump is the greatest threat to democracy"

Harris Dunn, a former police officer who was on duty during the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot, cannot believe that judges have granted Trump partial immunity. Dunn stated before reporters that Donald Trump remains the greatest threat to democracy.

He emphasized that he was personally present during the riot and believes the people who attacked him acted on behalf of Trump's orders.

Pro-Trump protesters gather in front of the U.S.

Capitol Building on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. Trump supporters gathere© Brent Stirton / Getty Images

Former police officer Aquilino Gonnell came to Washington personally, and after the verdict was announced, he stated, "The Supreme Court has further undermined the foundations of democracy.

This is absurd and dangerous."

Verdict not a surprise for the holidays

Legal experts say they are not surprised by the differentiated ruling on partial immunity for U.S. presidents. Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said on CNBC that presidents must make the toughest decisions, requiring them flexibility, power, and authority.

As long as they act in an official capacity, they should be protected from criminal prosecution, Gonzales stated. Historian Lea Wright of Johns Hopkins University noted a trend of expanding presidential powers for over 50 years.

However, the fact that Supreme Court justices have left it to lower courts to decide on each individual case shows that some members of the Supreme Court prioritize neutrality and objectivity, she said.

Trump could pardon himself if victorious

Months may pass before the next court decides how the Supreme Court ruling should be applied to Trump.

The trial is likely to be delayed until after the presidential elections in November, making it unlikely that Trump will be convicted before then. If Trump wins the election, he could pardon himself. Trump's lawyers are also working on suspending a New York court ruling where Trump has already been convicted of falsifying business records before the 2016 presidential election, as reported by CNN and The New York Times.

Experts doubt the success of this request but believe a postponement of the sentencing scheduled for July 11 of this year is possible, writes DW referring to ARD..

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