In the Trump immunity case, the Supreme Court has determined that former presidents have considerable protection against prosecution.

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The Supreme Court ruled on Monday in the case of Trump v. United States that former president has significant immunity from prosecution for official acts performed while in office, but this immunity does not extend to unofficial acts.

The 6-3 decision sent the case back to a lower court without deciding whether former President Trump is immune from prosecution for actions related to efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.

Members of the Supreme Court (L-R) Associate Justices Amy Coney Barrett, Neil M. Gorsuch, Sonia Sotomayor, and Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and Associate Justices Ketanji Brown Jackson, Samuel A. Alito, Jr., Elena Kagan, and Brett M. Kavanaugh pose in the Justices Conference Room prior to the formal investiture ceremony of Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson September 30, 2022 in Washington, D.C. (Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States via Getty Images)

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, stated, “The President enjoys no immunity for his unofficial acts, and not everything the President does is official.” He further emphasized, “The President is not above the law. But Congress may not criminalize the President’s conduct in carrying out the responsibilities of the Executive Branch under the Constitution. The system of separated powers designed by the Framers has always demanded an energetic, independent Executive.”

The Court ruled that the President cannot be prosecuted for exercising core constitutional powers and is entitled to presumptive immunity for all official acts, regardless of politics or party affiliation.

This case arose from Special Counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into Trump’s alleged involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot and alleged interference in the 2020 election results. Trump pleaded not guilty to all charges and argued for immunity from prosecution for his official acts as President.

Official Photograph of Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson taken by Supreme Court Photographer Fred Schilling, 2022.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, joined by Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson, dissented, stating that the decision undermines the principle that no one is above the law. Sotomayor criticized the majority for granting Trump immunity beyond what is warranted, arguing that the Constitution does not shield a former President from answering for criminal acts.

Justice Clarence Thomas, in a separate concurrence, raised concerns about the legality of Special Counsel Jack Smith’s appointment, questioning whether the office was properly established by law. He suggested that if the Special Counsel’s office is not lawfully established, the prosecution cannot proceed.

Following the ruling, former President Trump expressed relief, claiming it as a victory for the Constitution and democracy. He stated that he is now free to campaign without legal hindrance.

The Supreme Court heard arguments on whether presidents should have absolute immunity, with justices debating the broader implications for future presidents. Justice Samuel Alito raised concerns about the potential destabilizing effects of prosecuting former presidents, while Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson warned about the risk of emboldening future presidents to commit crimes without fear of consequences.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh highlighted the significant implications of the Court’s decision for the presidency, and Justice Neil Gorsuch noted that the ruling would set a precedent for the future.

The ruling follows a New York jury’s recent conviction of Trump on charges of falsifying business records, stemming from an investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg.