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  /  News   /  Does Trump immunity ruling create crime-free zone for presidents?

Does Trump immunity ruling create crime-free zone for presidents?

(NewsNation) — After the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that American presidents, including former President Donald Trump, enjoy immunity from official acts while in office, dissenting justices wrote that a president’s power has been dramatically expanded in a way that threatens the country’s democracy.

As one of three justices to rule in the minority of a 6-3 decision, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that Trump “will now be insulated from criminal prosecution” when a president uses his official powers. In her dissenting opinion, Sotomayor wrote that Monday’s decision reshapes the institution of the presidency.

The justice wrote that the Supreme Court effectively creates a “law-free zone” around the president, upsetting the status quo that has existed since the founding. The justices wrote that Monday’s decision “makes a mockery” of the consitutitional premise that no man is above the law.


Can Trump be prosecuted in Jan. 6, election interference cases?

In her dissenting opinion with “fear for our democracy,” Sotomayor added: “This new official-acts immunity now ‘lies about like a loaded weapon’ for any president that wishes to place his own interests, his own political survival, or his own financial gain, above the interests of the nation.”

“Orders the Navy’s Seal Team 6 to assassinate a political rival? Immune,” Sotomayor wrote. “Organizes a military coup to hold onto power? Immune. Takes a bribe in exchange for a pardon? Immune. Immune, immune, immune.

“Let the President violate the law, let him exploit the trappings of his office for personal gain, let him use his official power for evil ends. Because if he knew that he may one day face liability for breaking the law, he might not be as bold and fearless as we would like him to be. That is the majority’s message today.”

Legal analysts told NewsNation that at the very least, Monday’s Supreme Court decision slows down any possible prosecution of Trump in connection with the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol. Trump, writing in a social media post following Monday’s ruling, called the decision a major win for his campaign in terms of his pursuit of a second White House term.

NewsNation political contributor Chris Stirewalt said that Trump poses a series of problems for the American legal system. Stirewalt told NewsNation on Monday that while is not insinuating that no former president has never committed any crimes or that no former president committed crimes while in office, Trump “is real enthusiastic about doing so.”

“Prior to Donald Trump, we didn’t have to deal with a lot of these questions because presidents basically behaved themselves, or they at least tried to appear like they were behaving themselves,” Stirewalt said.

He added: “When we think of former presidents, we think they ride off into the sunset. They go away. Donald Trump does not go away. So (justices) are trying to figure out a way to balance two legitimate concerns.”

However, Sotomayor wrote that Monday’s Supreme Court ruling could have much more “disastrous” impacts on the democracy and on the future of the presidency. The court’s decision sends a dangerous message: “Let the President violate the law, let him exploit the trappings of his office for personal gain, let him use his official power for evil ends.”