CT officials object to Supreme Court ruling on Trump

The Supreme Court on Monday extended a delay in the Washington criminal case against Donald Trump that accuses him of conspiring to overturn his 2020 presidential election defeat, ending the possibility that the former president could be tried before the November election.

In a landmark 6-3 decision, the justices said for the first time that former presidents have absolute immunity from prosecution for their official acts and no immunity for unofficial acts. But instead of doing so themselves, the justices ordered lower courts to figure out how to apply the decision in Trump's case.

The outcome means there will be an additional delay before Trump faces trial in the case brought by special counsel Jack Smith.

“Today the Supreme Court rejected Donald Trump’s absurd claim of absolute immunity from all criminal prosecution,” said Attorney General William Tong, a Democrat from Connecticut.

However, Tong said, “It confirmed that presidents can be prosecuted for crimes committed in their private capacity — such as Trump's creation of a fraudulent list of voters. But the Court gave Trump — and all future presidents — too much unchecked power for so-called official acts. Even presidents — especially presidents — must be held accountable for abusing the vast power of the office.”

Tong said in an emailed statement, “Like the dissenter, and like well-meaning people across this country, I am concerned for our democracy today — because Donald Trump poses an (unprecedented) threat to the rule of law, and because the Supreme Court has failed to stop him. But I remain hopeful. By needlessly delaying this decision, the Supreme Court has deferred justice for too long. Now the district court must move swiftly to apply the new, imperfect test — and hold Donald Trump accountable for his crimes.”

“The Supreme Court has elevated law-breaking presidents like Donald Trump above the law,” said U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn.

“This cowardly political decision to protect President Trump gives him a legal shield that no other citizen has,” Blumenthal said in an emailed statement. “The net effect is not only to delay Trump's criminal trial, but to provide an unwise and unjustly broad shield for him and other presidents who overstep and blatantly abuse their office. It's a license for dictatorship.”

Blumenthal said, “There is fear and anger in my gut that our democracy could be so endangered by an out-of-control Court. Members of the Court's conservative majority will now be viewed by the American people as extreme and completely partisan hackers – politicians in cloaks.”

The court's ruling in the second major Trump case this term, as well as its decision to reject efforts to bar him from the ballot because of his actions after the 2020 election, underscores the direct and possibly uncomfortable role judges will play in the November election.

“Under our constitutional framework of separation of powers, the nature of presidential power entitles a former president to absolute immunity from criminal prosecution for actions taken within his decisive and pre-decisional constitutional authority,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court. “And he is entitled to at least presumptive immunity from prosecution for all of his official actions. There is no immunity for unofficial acts.”

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