Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Opinion: God save us from this dishonorable court

An egregious, unconscionable ruling on presidential immunity from the Supreme Court.

Ignore the majority's protestations to the contrary. The Supreme Court has just ruled that the president is, in fact, above the law - absolutely immune from criminal prosecution for some conduct and "presumptively" immune for much else. This broad grant of immunity raises the stakes for November's election immeasurably. The risk is no longer just that Donald Trump will evade responsibility for his actions as president, though that seems close to foreordained by Monday's ruling. It is that he will be emboldened by the protection the court just gave him to behave even more unconscionably in a second term.

If I sound worked up, it is because a six-justice majority opinion in the aptly named Trump v. United States is bad beyond my wildest imaginings. The court might have had legitimate concerns about the implications of its rulings not for Trump but for future presidents who might be chilled in exercising their constitutional duties by the prospect of criminal prosecution, and the consequent "enfeebling of the Presidency." It is correct that "we cannot afford to fixate exclusively, or even primarily, on present exigencies."

But the opinion, written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., went way further than necessary to insulate Trump from prosecution - not simply before the election, which the court, by its lassitude, had nearly guaranteed, but forever, even in the event that President Biden wins reelection. The court could have carved out an oasis of protection for reasonable presidents engaging in reasonable executive actions. It chose not to.


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