Ex-Law Clerk Criticizes SCOTUS Delay Over Trump’s Immunity Claim

A former law clerk for the Supreme Court said that the high court has lost the “benefit of the doubt” as they have taken a while to rule on the immunity claim put forward by former President Donald Trump.

Leah Litman, who once clerked for former Justice Anthony Kennedy, made those statements this week.

Trump has tried to shield himself from criminal charges by claiming presidential immunity.

The primary case in which this is an issue is the federal case brought against him for interfering in the results of the 2020 presidential election for his role in the January 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol building. 

Jack Smith, a special counsel at the Department of Justice, has charged Trump with four different felony counts related to that case.

Trump has pleaded not guilty to all of those charges — and all of the other criminal charges levied against him. He also claims that the charges have been brought against him by political rivals who are looking to take him down.

Litman, who now serves at the University of Michigan Law School as a professor and hosts a podcast, wrote an op-ed in The New York Times that was published Wednesday. 

In the piece, she discussed various cases the Supreme Court is dealing with, including the immunity claim put forth by Trump. The high court has not yet ruled in that case.

As Litman wrote:

“This court has lost the benefit of the doubt for myriad reasons, including its willingness to act quickly in cases that benefit Republican interests. Two and a half years ago, he court scheduled a challenge to the Biden administration’s test-or-vaccinate policy two weeks after the justices decided to hear it, and then issued a decision invalidating the policy less than one week later.”

Back in February, the Supreme Court justices decided they would hear the presidential immunity claim from Trump. Oral arguments took place in April.

That’s simply too long, according to Litman. She wrote:

“Nearly two months have passed since the justices heard lawyers for the former president and for the special counsel’s office argue the immunity case. The court is dominated by conservatives nominated by Republican presidents. Every passing day further delays a potential trial. … at this point, even if the court rules that Mr. Trump has limited or no immunity, it is unlikely a verdict will be delivered before the election.”

She suggested that the justices might be trying to “resolve anything and everything related to presidential immunity,” which might be what is taking so long. But, they don’t have to do that, as she wrote:

“It would be enough to conclude that whatever the precise bounds of presidential immunity, it doesn’t extend to orchestrating a monthslong effort to overturn the valid results of a presidential election.”

The Supreme Court is schedule to announce roughly two dozen opinions before the end of June, including some major rulings on Second Amendment rights, in addition to Trump’s immunity claim.