July 1, 2024 / by emptywheel


SCOTUS’ Republicans Allow Presidents to Use SEAL Team 6 To Execute Their Opponents

Until this morning, it was a joke that if a President sent out SEAL Team Six to take out, say, their opponent, their Vice President, or Sammy Alito as an official act, they would be immune from prosecution.

But the Republicans on SCOTUS have just given Presidents presumptive immunity for official acts.

I’ll post updates. But the effect of the opinion is to throw out the entirety of the charges involving Jeffrey Clark, and remand for further consideration on Trump’s pressure on Mike Pence and his public comments. It also prohibits the government from using Trump’s communications with his advisors. That guts the case.

From Sotomayor’s dissent:

Looking beyond the fate of this particular prosecution, the long-term consequences of today’s decision are stark. The Court effectively creates a law-free zone around the President, upsetting the status quo that has existed since the Founding. 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. Korematsu v. United States, 323 U. S. 214, 246 (1944) (Jackson, J., dissenting). The President of the United States is the most powerful person in the country, and possibly the world. When he uses his official powers in any way, under the majority’s reasoning, he now will be insulated from criminal prosecution. Orders the Navy’s Seal Team 6 to assassinate a political rival? Immune. 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.

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Originally Posted @ https://www.emptywheel.net/2024/07/01/scotus-republicans-allow-presidents-to-abuse-seal-team-6/