Jack Smith, the special counsel overseeing the prosecution of former President Donald Trump’s election interference case, has petitioned the Supreme Court for a speedy resolve in one of the biggest issues of the case.
On Monday, Smith asked the high court to quickly rule whether Trump is allowed to be prosecuted on the charges, or whether he has immunity, as the former president’s legal team claims.
Smith is headed to the Supreme Court in this matter, as he doesn’t want the trial to be delayed unduly. As of now, the trial is set to start on March 4, but if there were significant appeals to parts of the case, that start date could drag on for quite a while.
It’s obvious that Smith and the prosecution team doesn’t want to see that happen. They’d much prefer that Trump face the charges in court while he’s in the middle of a presidential election — rather than potentially after he already wins election.
Luckily for Smith, the Supreme Court said later on Monday that they’d make a quick decision about whether they’ll hear his case. The justices ordered Trump’s legal team to respond to Smith’s request by December 20.
The high court issued a brief in the matter, but The Associated Press reported that it didn’t signal if the court was leaning one way or the other in terms of what their final decision might be.
A federal judge decided that the case against Trump could proceed, but the former president’s legal team is hoping to have the D.C. appeals court take up the issue of whether he enjoys immunity.
Smith’s appeal directly to the Supreme Court would bypass the appeals court, which would be the standard “chain of command” in the judicial system.
In trying to make their case to the high court justices, the prosecutors wrote in their filing:
“This case presents a fundamental question at the heart of our democracy: whether a former President is absolutely immune from federal prosecution for crimes committed while in office or is constitutionally protected from federal prosecution when he has been impeached but not convicted before the criminal proceedings begin. …
“It is of imperative public importance that respondent’s claims of immunity be resolved by this Court and that respondent’s trial proceed as promptly as possible if his claim of immunity is rejected.”
While this is playing out in court, the presidential campaign for Trump has started to levy harsh criticism against Smith and his team for attempting to circumvent the D.C. appeals court.
In a statement, Trump’s campaign said:
“There is absolutely notreason to rush this sham to trial except to injure President Trump and tens of millions of his supporters. President Trump will continue to fight for Justice and oppose these authoritarian tactics.”
The issue in question here is a ruling from U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, who said the claims Trump’s legal team is making that he’s immune from being prosecuted federally are incorrect.