Chief Justice John Roberts Just Invited President Biden to Pardon Nicholas Roske

Since Republicans on the Supreme Court voted to make Presidents king yesterday, I’ve been thinking about ways to reverse the decision.

Some of those ways (like expanding the court) are structural, long term, and involve winning both the presidency and Senate in November by good margins.

But another way is to get the court to recognize how insane their ruling was in practice, to encourage them to moderate their order, as they did by using the Rahimi decision to moderate their Bruen insanity.

Another way is to use the pretrial hearings on what counts as official and unofficial conduct as a way to demonstrate the problem with the decision. Since any decisions Tanya Chutkan makes will come back to SCOTUS, they will have to review their handiwork.

But the one I keep thinking of is action President Biden can take that would demonstrate to the Justices the problem with their decision.

Some such actions would be symbolic: Biden can order the military to use military planes to fly women needing abortions in states where it is banned for necessary medical care, for example. Acting as Commander in Chief, his power would be at its zenith.

On Bluesky, someone recommended selling Willie Nelson a pardon — one guitar — for smoking marijuana in a National Park in a state where pot is legal.

But the most symbolic way that President Biden could convey the insanity of yesterday’s decision would be to pardon Nicholas Roske. Roske is the suicidal man who, in June 2022, flew to Maryland with vague plans but real weapons to assassinate Brett Kavanaugh. Since he filed a suppression motion for admissions he made after his arrest, he and the government have been discussing a plea.

Let me be clear: I don’t think it would be wise to pardon Roske. Biden has the unreviewable authority to do so, but it would be stupid to do so. While Roske seems he is mentally ill, he nevertheless armed himself and took steps that put Justice Kavanaugh in danger.

But Roske is exactly the kind of menace that John Roberts just immunized yesterday.

The weapons Roske armed himself with — including a Glock, pepper spray, zip ties, a hammer, a screw driver, a nail punch, a crow bar, and duct tape — were precisely the kinds of things with which January 6ers armed themselves when they attacked the Capitol and threatened to kill Mike Pence, Nancy Pelosi, and Mitch McConnell. Many January 6ers, like Roske, suffer from mental illnesses. Like Roske, many Jan6ers were trying to give their life meaning.

The only thing that makes Roske different is that he wasn’t sent by a political candidate trying to get elected.

Still, Roske is always used, especially by Congressional Republicans, to describe the unique danger the Justices face.

There would be no better way for Biden to make it clear to the Justices what kind of danger they have blessed than to pardon Roske (for which, again, I’m not advocating).

With their ruling yesterday, the Justices have said that Members of Congress, Biden voters, and democracy itself must face similar threats without recourse. And one way to make that clear would be to pardon Roske.

146 replies
  1. dimmsdale says:

    There must be a fairly vast number of high-visibility measures to instantly improve everyone’s lives that Biden could take with his newly granted powers. I hope the White House and Congress are working HARD on that, because this isn’t the only site I follow where that’s being discussed. I’m also hoping for (and keeping an eye out for) some sort of organized “MAKE me do it” movement, in case he needs that Rooseveltian brand of suasion. One thing that’s difficult about this moment is that we don’t yet know all the weapons we have. The other unknown is whether we (looking at you, Joe, Chuck, and Dick Durbin) have the imagination, heart, and fortitude to use them decisively and totally.

    • Rugger_9 says:

      Banning Faux News on military bases would be a start, or at least imposing the Fairness Doctrine of equal time for MSNBC, et al.

      • Fraud Guy says:

        I can’t wait for the 6-3 decision holding that, while the government can’t force content providers to carry its message, content providers can force the government to carry theirs.

    • scroogemcduck says:

      Biden could send Clarence Thomas, Sam Alito, Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch to Gitmo for the rest of 2024. It would stop the Court from issuing insane decisions and would also give the Conservative justices an opportunity to think about whether absolute Presidential immunity is such a wonderful idea.

      • Corey Hammer says:

        We have all of the 6 conservatives on perjury for lying to Congress about Roe being settled law (and Roberts for lying about no one being above the law). Alito and Thomas on corruption. Lock ‘em up. After, it’s an official act to get dangerous criminals off the street. Sure, it might take some time for their cases to wind their way through the court, but those 6 just said that was perfectly fine.

    • Marie_02JUL2024_1454h says:


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    • Chuffy sez says:

      Biden just told everyone that, although he has this power now, he won’t use it. I believe him.

    • originalk says:

      Yes – I think he needs to bring Congress into this. If the administration does something positive, it will only polarize the electorate (e.g. our side wants that power) when Biden wants to live within his idea of the previous constitutional framework. If he exerts power (that he already has) to potentially unleash violence, even against people we know are bad actors, that is not in his character or a good look.

      Nycsouthpaw had a post on bluesky yesterday that was worth repeating to anyone with a college-level education:

      If Jefferson had just ordered Madison to kill Marbury and then pardoned him for it, then his problem would’ve been solved and the courts wouldn’t have gotten involved.

      And that kind of thinking was an important footnote of the Jackson dissent (I spent some time today refamiliarizing myself with Amb. Marie Yovanovitch):

      While the President may have the authority to decide to remove the Attorney General, for example, the question here is whether the President has the option to remove the Attorney General by, say, poisoning him to death. Put another way, the issue here is not whether the President has exclusive removal power, but whether a generally applicable criminal law prohibiting murder can restrict how the President exercises that authority.

      This makes me think that the Biden admin should propose a way for Congress to signal their best practices for how the president is to use his/her power – existing and new – maybe tie it to the next government shut down threat.

      The rest of us can know that 5 members of the Supreme Court have decided they will have the ultimate say in where the line is and don’t care what happens in the months before they get around to drawing it.

    • Patrick Carty says:

      And with absolutely no sarcasm, let me say Joe can remove the tax exempt status for religious entities, including his own Catholic Church. And for another matter, stop the pilfering of my tax monies to charter schools.

  2. Sussex Trafalgar says:

    Since Roske and the DOJ are currently in discussions about a plea agreement, perhaps Biden should ask the House of Representatives to discuss proposing a bipartisan bill that would require Roske to pay for his pardon before the DOJ agreed to a plea agreement?

    Whatever monies the House Republicans agree to charge Roske for his pardon could be given to a charity of Justice Kavanaugh’s choice.

  3. harpie says:

    From: President Joseph R. Biden
    To: Chief Justice John Roberts
    Date: July 2, 2024
    Subj: THANKS for getting this done!

    Dear John,
    This is just a little note to THANK YOU
    for yesterday’s AMAZING! ruling in TRUMP v. United States!
    Truly, this change will prove to be momentous! (One for the ages!)

    No One [ME!] is Above the Law.

    As you can perhaps imagine, I’m already planning how to make robust use of it.
    My first action will be to pardon Nicholas Roske.

    Thanks again,
    Your Friend, Joe

    / snark

      • CambridgeKnitter says:

        It has occurred to me that the pardon is not enough to make the point. He needs to say that, in the spirit of the sacred Second Amendment, all of Mr. Roske’s hardware will be returned to him. He could consider stating that he will see to it that Mr. Roske and his hardware will be dropped off at Justice Kavanaugh’s house.

      • Spencer Dawkins says:

        I have been EXTREMELY frustrated in recent weeks, because I do try to read all the comments here, and the number of interactions that have taken the form of

        – Joe Biden ought to take action X, which Trump has previously taken, and which the Fascists in Robes have twisted the law/constitution into saying “this is actually legal”, or “our awesome new legal finding means this is constitutional”, but this time, Joe would be taking action X with Trump and his minions as targets, followed by one of

        – you know Joe Biden would never do that, or
        – if we aren’t any better than Trump and his accomplices, why does any of this matter, or
        … well, you know …

        I know Biden wants to look like an actual president, and not Trump, Il Duce or der Führer, but I’ve got to believe there is SOME action that Biden can take that qualifies as trolling, that would make Americans who have proudly ignored the difference between progressives and fascists finally realize where we are. Pointing out that there are inconvenient actions Biden COULD take, but has not taken in the past because Biden understood them to be illegal, and now Biden realizes that a President has nothing to fear from the legal system, is my new favorite thing.

        Sending open love notes to Republican-appointed justices and Leonard Leo describe the proposed action, and say “I couldn’t have done this without you!” is the icing on the cake.

  4. Knowatall says:

    “The only thing that makes Roske different is that he wasn’t sent by a political candidate trying to get elected.”. Actually, he had already lost and incumbently held the office, making it exponentially worse.

  5. klynn says:

    Our family was discussing that Joe could:

    -Revisit student loan forgiveness and expanding it.

    -Expand the infrastructure act

    -Expand green energy

    -Expand women’s autonomous health rights to include the medical challenge to personhood definition. Make the medical definitions the standard.

    -Stop venture capital/private firms from buying up homes and aggravating the housing crisis

    Our list was longer than these few items. It would be interesting to create a list and make it go viral. A “Joe, you can do this” list.

    • Spencer Dawkins says:

      I like this. And I would like it even more if he had a list, but only announced the actions one at a time, about a week apart, just to given the Federal Society types a splitting migraine that never seems to go away.

      And as I noted previously – ending each executive action with “I’d like to thank the following justices who have made this action possible” would make me smile.

  6. klynn says:

    Since Joe is King now, could he get a border plan done? At least the increase in immigration judges?

    Man, THAT would be great!

    Really like the idea of a King Biden Bucket List. One that is the opposite of Project 2025!

    • harpie says:

      These are great, klynn!
      I like both “Joe, you can do this” list and “King Biden Bucket List”.

    • Saeomon+1 says:

      He should absolutely put as many roadblocks in Project 2025’s way as he possibly can. Protecting the Civil Service would be a nice start.

      • EuroTark says:

        The problem is that anything Biden has the power to do, any future president will have the same power to undo.

        • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

          I see this argument floated when expanding the court, etc, are proposed, but it’s still better than the ratchet only moving one way.

          It would require senior institutional Democrats to wake up and abandon norms, like the gop has for the past thirty years.

        • Saeomon+1 says:

          I’m aware of that. That’s no disincentive. Actually, it incentivizes MAXIMUM ACTION. At best, you help even more people. At worst, you keep your successor so occupied with undoing what you did that they don’t get accomplish anything else.

          That’s even if you ever deign to leave office.

        • Capemaydave says:

          What future Presidents?

          If it comes to that – a Trump victory – Biden, in that extreme event, could refuse to cede power to a felon who is also barred by 14A 3.

          Let the courts argue in that event.

  7. Saeomon+1 says:

    Somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but Biden could ask for the Opinion of the Secretary of Transportation on the danger to aircraft presented by flags flown over Supreme Court Justices’ properties, and, using the plenipotentiary Executive power of the Office of the President, direct the Secretary to issue an opinion finding they are an unacceptable hazard and must be prohibited.

  8. JonathanW says:

    Any thoughts on more structural reforms? I’ve spent my life between the US and France and both seem to be calcifying. I’m imagining structural constitutional changes, like term limits for SCOTUS, independent AG, etc. Maybe we are too caught up in the tit for tat for GoP to go for it but it does seems like we are stuck right now and the only way to unstick it is by winning some elections and driving some big message of change.

    Not to be too snarky but maybe Biden can get started with his new immunity and set up a norm of term limits by placing those justices who are past the 18y limit on house arrest and simply appoint one more (given that he already appointed KBJ) leaving the remainder vacant. No one could prosecute him for this according to this most recent ruling.

  9. NH2ME_barn says:

    One wonders what “official acts” might be performed to protect the constitution. Apparently no person nor institution would be exempt.

    • Terrence says:

      Well the impeachment of a president is out. If the president immune for official acts, I’m guessing, there can be no basis for charging him with high crimes and misdemeanors.

      • Ithaqua0 says:

        Impeachment isn’t a criminal thing, and the courts aren’t involved, so yes he can be impeached. A high crime or misdemeanor is whatever Congress says it is. Weak sauce, I admit…

        • Terrence says:

          I understand that impeachment is a political act, but it looks to me like criminality is off the table or at least left up to the court.

        • ButteredToast says:

          As I see it, the problem with impeachment as a remedy is the same as it was during Trump’s presidency: a Republican president will never be convicted by a Senate containing more than 33 Republicans. If January 6 wasn’t enough to garner 67 votes, nothing will be.

      • Flock of Bagels says:

        I was thinking the same thing (with the caveat that Ithaqua0 pointed out)

        If you look at the whole phrase, it’s even worse: “shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

        Without being able to assess motive, can bribery exist? And isn’t treason just foreign policy by other means, and therefore an (immunized) official act? If the 1787 gang didn’t intend _any_ correspondence to criminal law, they would have written, “impeach for whatever reason you like.” They clearly had some criminal elements in mind. But the current SC majority just decided (originally? textually?), “Nah, those words were an oopsie, like that militia thing in the second amendment. Definitely not foundational. So ruled, and have a great summer vacation, everyone!”

        It just breaks my brain.

      • boloboffin says:

        The Constitution says the sole power of Impeachment is in the House, as the sole power of trying an impeachment is with the Senate. No doubt the Supreme Court would say these are as unreviewable by the Court as the President’s core constitution powers that the President shares with no other branch, like the pardon (except in cases of impeachment).

        So the Congress can kick the President out for any damn reason they chuse.

  10. David Brooks says:

    Please stop this, even as a hypothetical, because of the other ideas it lets loose. Joe is better than that.

    • klynn says:

      So are you opposed to Biden using this decision to pardon the homeless? To federally mandate that homelessness is not a crime. To direct the construction of more housing for the homeless, especially for veterans?

    • Chris papageorgiou says:

      Agree !!!
      Joe, our beloved POTUS is not wreckless.
      There are many ways to do good for the nation, “Shock and Awe” is not a Democratic tactic.
      He is the President for all of us, regardless of who voted for him.
      True Leadership.

      [Welcome back to emptywheel. Please use the SAME USERNAME and email address each time you comment so that community members get to know you. You attempted to publish this as “Charly Pappa”; I have edited it to match your established username which you have used on (8) previous comments. Please make a note of your username and check your browser’s cache and autofill. /~Rayne]

    • Saeomon+1 says:

      This isn’t Lovecraftian horror. We’re not dealing with Words of Unspeakable Power. MAGA’s legal department, a/k/a the Federalist Society, has more than enough manpower and imagination to come up with evil ideas which it WILL implement, if given the opportunity. Hell, it’s published those ideas for everyone to see! You’re castigating the wrong people.

      • blackbird says:

        It also feels like the shortest path to rectifying the situation:

        1. use the powers of a unitary executive to implement a popular agenda and win a majority
        2. unpack the court in the next Congress
        3. sane court majority unworks the lawless ruling (in response to inevitable GOP lawsuits)

        • Saeomon+1 says:

          I don’t LIKE the idea of ANYONE wielding absolute power, but the fact is that anyone occupying the Office of the President will wield it until we right the ship, and the alternatives (abject surrender or starting a revolution) are equally extreme and guarantee making things far worse for quite a long time, if not permanently.

    • Ithaqua0 says:

      “The other ideas it lets loose?” As if the only people anywhere who could think of any way a President could take advantage of this ruling are posters on this site?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Reread the post. It’s a thought experiment most readers on this site appreciate. EW expressly does not recommend actually doing it. Rather, she illustrates the temptation this decision will inflict on all presidents, but which Republican presidents are more likely to take advantage of.

      To your point, Biden wouldn’t consider it. If Trump wins, he won’t need encouragement from anyone to seek revenge and to punish and intimidate others for the possibility that they might not follow orders with the correct esprit de corps.

        • Knowatall says:

          While it would be nice to remove Lynne from the scene (and Dick, too!), it’s Liz that Small Hands has a hard on for. (BTW, I now see that Small Hands is an award-winning performer in one of Don’s ex-partner’s business).

      • CitizenSane77 says:

        You really need to reread the article yourself. Marcy is thinking of actions Biden can take to lead to a reversal of the decision. Actions, not hypotheticals.

        Marcy concedes that she doesn’t think pardoning Roske is a good idea, but the main message is to take some action in hopes of causing a reversal of the order.

        • dopefish says:

          Pardoning Roske would not lead to the order being revisited.

          It would just provide fodder for the RWNM about how Democrats don’t respect the law and Biden wants to be a dictator and a bunch of similar projection.

  11. Rugger_9 says:

    I also saw an interesting idea: release of the tax returns for Convict-1 (since that is the norm for all candidates) as well as RFK Jr. SCOTUS too.

    • DumbledoreMV says:

      I like this! A/ It appears to be a straightforward executive action, the President asking a department head to carry out a directive. B/ It would be nice to have full disclosure from a group (SCOTUS) which feels it is above such disclosure. C/ It would be wonderful to see if Justice Thomas reported as income the gifts he received, or how much Ginni is being paid.

  12. Magbeth4 says:

    As the reality of this terrible Decision sinks in, I believe the American Public is going to be disturbed enough to demand some remedy from Congress. Experts on the Constitution,such a Sheldon Whitehouse, should work with others of his ilk to fashion Legislation which could ameliorate some of the damage Robert’s Court (for it certainly can’t be called a “supreme” court, for that would imply excellence in judgement) has inflicted on the basic structure of our Government.

    First anger, then grief, then constructive action to fight back against this ticket to Tyranny!
    Biden’s follow-up speech certainly outlined the outraged reactions to a ruling which spit in the face of over 248 years of our original brave rejection of Monarchy and its abuses. We voters have a responsibility. We can’t expect Lawyers to solve all our problems. We still have a choice, and all the dithering over one debate performance is stupid. Biden is who we have. We should back him and prove that the Spirit of Independence still lives! ( My ancestral genes are raging: Revolutionary heroes in the genetic pool.) Excelsior!!!!!!

    • Saeomon+1 says:

      I hope you’re right. I also hope Congress actually ACTS on this. The decision is so tailored to fit Trump’s circumstances that it guarantees severe Republican obstruction. So I’m doubtful of any legislative solution emerging anytime soon.

      The other problem is the Court. It carried out this coup on the people’s sovereignty and crowned Trump more-than-a-king. It’ll doubtless declare unconstitutional any legislative attempts to reign in Presidential omnipotence.

      • paulka123 says:

        FWIW apparently 538 did a poll in May and 71% of respondents stated they do not think a president should have immunity for official acts. Only 16% said they should.

        That just gives an idea of just how unpopular and fringe this decision is.

    • hstancat says:

      What do you suppose Congress can do with this decision? It is quite intentionally Congress-proof in that it defines immunity as inherent in the powers of a one person Executive Branch. The is no room in this monstrosity for a congressional diminution of those powers and immunities.

      • Saeomon+1 says:

        It could try to circumscribe the breadth of “official acts” by declaring certain acts unofficial. For example, it could make communications between Executive Branch officials, including the President, and anyone else in furtherance of or concerning any attempt, conspiracy, or other effort to overthrow the Constitution an unofficial act.

        I can’t say how successful that’d be since our Republic apparently only exists at the pleasure of the Supreme Court.

  13. David Brooks says:

    And now you can take July 11 off your calendar. Both sides have agreed to a delay so that the new deference to “official acts” can be examined, and Merchan will certainly permit it.

    • SteveBev says:

      “Although we believe defendant’s arguments to be without merit, we do not oppose his request for leave to file and his putative request to adjourn sentencing pending determination of his motion,” prosecutors wrote in the letter.

      • Saeomon+1 says:

        Unfortunately, there is SOME merit to Trump’s demand, insofar as admitted evidence from after he was sworn in is concerned. How much merit? Nobody knows. That’ll have to be litigated and, since it involves a Federal question, will be appealable all the way back up to SCOTUS.

        • P J Evans says:

          Personal acts while he was president. He desperately needs them to be official, but that isn’t flying.

        • SteveBev says:

          I have a couple of thoughts on the matter which I posted on an earlier thread

          On the understanding that the contested evidence consists of
          1 Tweets by Trump relating to Micheal Cohen
          2 The statement in the Ethics Form re reimbursement to Cohen

          For the reasons set out I think the motion by Trump likely fails.

          If the present motion objects to other evidence beyond the above mentioned then
          1 if it was previously objected to and subject to the same ruling, then it fails for the same/similar reasons
          2 if it was not objected to on immunity grounds in the trial filing then that is further reason in addition to the above why it should fail

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I see no merit to Trump’s demand, except to delay. But it gives Merchan a crack at stating why it has no merit. The appeals process for this case goes to the Appellate Division as of right, then to the Court of Appeal as a discretionary matter.

          All state appeals have to be completed before Trump can appeal to the Supreme Court, which is discretionary, though this Court is likely to take any appeal involving Donald Trump. But it could take years.

    • Chris Papageorgiou says:

      Agree !!!
      Joe, our beloved POTUS is not wreckless.
      There are many ways to do good for the nation, “Shock and Awe” is not a Democratic tactic.
      He is the President for all of us, regardless of who voted for him.
      True Leadership.

      • ExRacerX says:

        “Joe, our beloved POTUS is not wreckless.”

        Actually, the POTUS’ bicycle wreck was documented on video.

        Agreed on all other points, though!

        Slightly OT: I’d pay good money to watch Trump try to ride a bike for 1 mile. It would be the best slapstick humor since the Three Stooges.

      • Ginevra diBenci says:

        Thanks to harpie and ExRacer for catching the wreckful presidency before it could crash out of memory!

        • Chris Papageorgiou says:

          Bicycle recks excluded. We all had that experience, part of growing up.
          Points well taken.

          Thanks !!!

      • SteveBev says:

        I have the temerity to suggest you might read the comment I made upthread and the comment of mine I linked to.

        I think there is a deep problem with the argument in the TPM post.
        It only deals in generalities, and not the specifics of the ‘contested evidence’. In sum the TPM argument amounts to this

        “There’s no way that the NY trial court correctly analyzed evidence drawn from Trump’s time in office—how could it, when the rule didn’t exist then? But still, it seems impossible to say ex ante that all of the evidence let in was merely private. And, if anything let in was plausibly a public [official] act, then SCOTUS’s opinion seems to say that a mistrial would be required”

        However the specifics of the evidence leads one to conclude that statements related to the personal dealings with his personal lawyer are private rather than official acts on their face and should any rebuttable presumption arise from eg the use of Twitter, then any such presumption that the statement is ‘official’ is rebutted by the nature of the content and subject matter.

        • Saeomon+1 says:

          You’re operating under the presumption of a Court constrained by rules. This Court threw the entire rule book out. The traitors on the bench start with their desired outcome and work backwards to justify that outcome. They’ve abandoned every principle that conservative jurisprudence claimed to hold sacred.

        • Saeomon+1 says:

          Some of the evidence used in that trial is from his time as President. Under the Court’s holding, the admission of that evidence is likely prejudicial. In any event, determining whether or not actually IS, and, if so, what remedy is warranted, is now a federal question. How do you think the Court will rule on the inevitable appeal by its pet President?

    • c-i-v-i-l says:

      Judge Merchan: “Defendant’s request to file a CPL Section 330.30 motion by July 10, 2024, is granted. The People’s request for a deadline of July 24, 2024, to file a response to the motion is also granted. The July 11, 2024, sentencing date is therefore vacated. The Court’s decision will be tendered off-calendar on September 6, 2024, and the matter is adjourned to September 18, 2024, at 10:00 AM for the imposition of sentence, if such is still necessary, or other proceedings.”

    • SteveBev says:

      Further, attention needs to be paid to footnote 3 of Roberts ruling, wherein he makes clear that
      •evidence From the public record of ‘official acts’ is admissible•

      1 Thus evidence from the Ethics Document and from Tweets is admissible even if the creation of those statements were official acts, because they form part of the public record.

      2 There might have been some problem re the official acts exclusionary rule as it pertains to some evidence of Hope Hicks and Westerhout. The problem is that Trump never sought to object to or exclude the evidence from them. Perhaps this was for tactical reasons, because they cross examined those witnesses on other matters which would come within the prohibition.

      But it looks like they have waived any specific objection now to evidence in 2 above

  14. FrictionBlistered says:

    The Constitution and the nation are in suddenly increased peril. Now might be the sort of emergency where the current president needs to be bold and fearless in defending us.

    Let’s say the president says to his vast official resources in law enforcement and intelligence:

    “I may be wrong, but I have every reason to worry that the Supreme Court has just conducted a massive, historic attack on our Constitution. I would be derelict in my duty to investigate this miscarriage of justice if I don’t employ the means at my disposal to mount a defense. The dissenting justices are alarmed, and their reasoning appears sound to me.

    “Starting now, monitor and record all communications to and from the chief justice and the others who concurred with his decision. In addition, go immediately to their offices and homes and impound all documents, records, receipts, knicknacks, etc., for investigation. Hold them for questioning until you are satisfied that they have told you the truth. I could order you to torture them, but I won’t, because I actually have some personal ethics. Investigate every person and organization that appears to be involved in influencing the court to inflate presidential powers beyond self- or any other form of control. And don’t forget those gratuities.”

    Today would be a good day to see how the new ends and means might work out.

  15. xyxyxyxy says:

    Declare emergency caused by Supremes and cancel 2024 presidential election till they backtrack; let other elections though, go forward.

      • xyxyxyxy says:

        Yes, wtf. If Biden wins, magats and Trump will do everything they can to get it to the Supremes and they will rule against Biden no matter what. So best to beat them to the punch.

  16. hstancat says:

    I don’t understand the premise. I assume you want Biden’s hypothetical symbolic act to be something that we mere mortals would have assumed was a crime last week when we were still a republic. So the pardon would only make sense as a protest if Biden very publicly solicited a bribe first or auctioned off the pardon or something like that.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Marcy is illustrating what the Roberts Court has unleashed, which might generate blowback against GOP sacred cows. It’s not a plan of action.

      Should the Court refine its judgment to stop such things, it would make clearer that their decision was intended to save Donald Trump’s backside, and to benefit only future Republicans, making the Court a laughing stock worthy of being substantially reformed.

      • c-i-v-i-l says:

        hstancat was pointing out that the President already had pardon power, so pardoning Roske is not newly immunized by the ruling.

  17. zscoreUSA says:

    There should finally be motion forward in the Roske case by July 19, after the prosecution just gave a deadline for a plea or face trial.

    The defense has been filing extension requests for I think over a year now, without objection from the prosecution. I don’t understand why that takes so long to decide if they are going to negotiate a plea or move forward.

  18. SelaSela says:

    I don’t think this would work. First, as controversial as it would be, there is no corrupt intent there. Maybe I’m missing something, but I don’t see how pardoning Roske would’ve been criminal even without yesterday’s decision.

    Second, this could hurt Biden electorally, because unlike the MAGAs, most of Biden’s voters do care about such action.

    The president have to commit some kind of criminal offence that is within the outer perimeters of his authority, and use the new immunity to shield himself. And it have to be an act that is bold enough to make it controversial, but not in a way that would hurt him electorally.

    How about offering pardons for anyone paying million dollars, and keeping the money in a new special fund for fighting supreme court stupidity?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Marcy’s is not a proposal for action. It is a thought experiment.

      As for “corrupt intent,” Roberts made that irrelevant. Evidence of the president’s intent is no longer admissible. Moreover, issuing a pardon and naming an ambassador are core presidential functions. A president could charge $2 million or $10 million for each one and have no legal liability. He could do anything with the money he wanted. Politically, it should remain highly relevant.

      • SelaSela says:

        Yes, I know Roberts made it irrelevant. That was my whole point. I was looking for some kind of action that would’ve been illegal for the president before yesterday’s decision, but now the president is immune. It could either be acts with “corrupt intent” or acts as a candidate that are not official acts of a president but are still within the outer perimeters of his authority. In both cases, a criminal case would rely on intent or motivation, which are no longer relevant.

        And the issue with the Roske thought experiment is that I don’t see how it would’ve been criminal before yesterday’s decision.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Hypothetically, issuing the suggested pardon would be an indirect physical threat against the Supremes. I think that’s Marcy’s point, rather than illegality.

          Another hypothetical avenue is that Roberts’s decision makes it impossible to challenge the legality of a president’s communication and interaction with his DoJ, regardless of motive or purpose. Frankly, I don’t see Biden engaging in any misuse of executive authority, which is the problem I have with this post.

          Trump, otoh, might take the hint and use his free DoJ to plan all sorts of once illegal conduct. He would avoid the need to pay outside counsel, an obsession with him. His communications with DoJ lawyers could not be pierced through such means as the crime-fraud exception. He just needs to staff the DoJ “properly.” The Heritage Foundation is seeing to that.

          Trump would also need to assure govt employees that he has their back, because they would not benefit from Trump’s immunity. Relying on any promise from Trump is self-evidently foolish, so this majority’s would be to find a case that allows it to immunize govt employees doing Trump’s illegal bidding, which would also avoid the need for Trump to personally insulate individuals from liability.

          That also illustrates that the slippery slope this majority has created involves the Court, as well as the president. Like any addiction, you need to keep upping the ante.

      • CitizenSane77 says:

        This isn’t purely a “thought experiment”. Marcy literally says “But the one I keep thinking of is action President Biden can take that would demonstrate to the Justices the problem with their decision.”

        And I’m personally sick of all the “thought experiments”. There needs to be some action if the threat of fascism and the fall of the rule of law is real.

        I think most people already understand the absurdity of the Supreme’s ruling. But is there anything Biden can actually do with this ruling while still maintaining good character? Is it not moral and of good character to prevent long term authoritarianism, even if that ironically requires short term authoritarianism?

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          Exactly. Pardoning a person who might pose a physical threat to Supreme Court justices illustrates the Pandora’s Box Roberts just opened, from which other presidents, like Trump, will willing grab what they can.

          The non-thought experiment aspect of the post is what realistically to do about it.

    • dopefish says:

      Perhaps President Biden could order drone strikes against the houses of Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. (while they were not home, of course)

  19. tomm-aip says:

    Whatever Biden does to illustrate the inanity of this decision, the GOP is sure to loudly protest no matter what it is. A Roske pardon would be a message received clearly by the conservative majority in the Supreme Court, but I think it would be fly over the heads of most voters, and I think that it would be better to send a message to voters.

    I think Biden’s best option would be to reverse the most indefensible SC judgement in the eyes of the public. There may be better suggestions, but mine would be to target Citizen’s United: direct FINCEN to prohibit transfers from all mark-to-market billionaires to PACs, effective immediately. Or simply limit them to, say $10,000. Make Speaker Johnson and McConnell use their positions to advocate for the rights of billionaires to buy elections with their limitless money and claim that Biden is abusing his power to silence all those helpless billionaires. I’ll have a bowl of popcorn ready.

  20. FiestyBlueBird says:

    I’ve never been in charge of anything.

    That said, if I were in charge of the Democratic National Convention, I would ditch most of the pomp and pageantry and turn it into a seriously fascinating “educate the American people NOW” project.

    And don’t be afraid to have people get up and say, “Yeah, Joe Biden is older than I’d prefer in a president. But in this election, that’s a non-factor.”

    Bring in one or more people who can explain clearly and simply why the immunity ruling is such a disaster for the future. Heather Cox Richardson, or one or more of the Lawfare panel, and/or other similar people who have the talent to inform clearly, simply, succinctly.

    Bring in a former military leader and explain the untenable situation this sets up for complying or not complying with an illegal order from the President.

    Educate about some of the worst aspects of Project 2025.

    Bring in people who served with Donald Trump, and now disavow him, with the receipts of why. Cassidy or someone. There are others.

    Bring in the (rare but they exist) January 6th convict who now understands he/she was conned. Or in lieu of that, someone who has permission to tell his/her story in brief.

    Remind people of the long list of campaign promises Trump made in 2016, and never came close to accomplishing.

    Have a national security lawyer speak about what usually occurs when a private citizen is caught retaining national security documents. And why.

    Talk Ukraine and Europe’s future.

    Last, talk of Biden’s competent accomplishments, wrongs still to be righted; e.g., Supreme Court.

    I could go on, but you get the idea. Don’t make it the typical “Rah, Rah for our guy” event. Lay out the stakes in a no nonsense, no pomp manner.

    This is probably why I’ve never been in charge of anything. I apologize for the length.

    • paulka123 says:

      It says a great deal that your list does not include reproductive freedom. That is not a slam at you, (and I certainly don’t know your position on the matter), but that is a critical issue in the 2024 campaign and is a seemingly forgotten wrinkle after yesterday.

      • FiestyBlueBird says:

        I definitely had that in mind. As well as other things. But by the time I’d decided I’d written too much already, I forgot it wasn’t in there when I posted. Then thought of it again immediately after…

        I always liked Alan Simpson’s view, which was: men should not be allowed to write the laws around the issue. Impractical, but I agree.

    • Bobster33 says:

      If the Democrats are serious, abortion and marijuana legalization are the only two issues. Everything else is a distraction.

      • paulka123 says:

        I strongly suspect that countering presidential immunity from every and all heinous crimes will also play well as an issue with the undecideds.

  21. Savage Librarian says:

    I say release all the digital files of the Trump pee tapes, the Trump China shenanigans, the Trump Saudi corruption, and the Trump Russia collusion. I’m sure there are plenty of visual files on laptops strewn around the world. [snark] Maybe Smirnov could give a hand, not to mention Millian, Deripaska, and Peskov. Oh, and maybe a raid of Pecker’s vault is in order.

    • David Brooks says:

      Aren’t those already legal? Possibly not Pecker’s vault (there’s a vulgar joke hiding there) unless you can persuade a judge that his trial evidence is probable cause.

      • Savage Librarian says:

        I’m thinking more on the lines of what Trump and Bill Barr did to Hunter Biden. Lots to think about there. Don’t forget all the players involved.

  22. CitizenSane77 says:

    And the justices know Biden won’t do any such thing because he values the image of good character over taking advantage of this ruling to prevent fascism.

  23. harpie says:

    TRUMP and the Black Lives Matters protests

    1] TRUMP [hosting a private conference call on Monday with a group of the nation’s governors]:

    “You have to dominate” [] “you’re going to look like a bunch of jerks” [if the National Guard were not heavily deployed in protest areas] [] “You have to do retribution” [] “fight back” [] “And you can’t do the deal where they get one week in jail” [] “These are terrorists. These are terrorists. And they’re looking to do bad things to our country.”

    2] TRUMP [Rose Garden statement]:

    “If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of the residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.” [] [Trump declared himself] “a law-and-order president” [and] “ally of all peaceful protesters.” [He called violent unrest] “acts of domestic terror.” [] [acts of violent unrest] “are not acts of peaceful protests. These are acts of domestic terror. The destruction of innocent life, and the spilling of innocent blood, is an offense to humanity and a crime against God.” [] “Our country always wins. That is why I am taking immediate presidential action to stop the violence.”

    3] TRUMP and Contingent PARADE through Lafayette Square to his Photo-Op with Bible; General Milley walks along, wearing battle fatigues; WH Press Secretary Judd Deere [talking about clearing the way through the Black Lives Matter protests at Lafayette Square]:

    “The perimeter was expanded to help enforce the 7 p.m. curfew in the same area where rioters attempted to burn down one of our nation’s most historic churches the night before. Protesters were given three warnings by the U.S. Park Police.”

    4] MILLEY apologizes for being with TRUMP on his 6/1/20 Photo-Op with Bible PARADE
    [He hadn’t known about the photo-op walk]

    As many of you saw, the result of the photograph of me at Lafayette Square last week. That sparked a national debate about the role of the military in a civil society. I should not have been there. My presence in that moment and in that environment, created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics. As a commissioned uniformed officer, it was a mistake that I have learned from. And I sincerely hope we all can learn from it. We, who wear the cloth of our nation come from the people of our nation. And we must hold dear the principle of an a-political military that is so deeply rooted in the very essence of our republic.

    • harpie says:

      NIXON to Frost, 1977:

      “When the president does it, that means that it is not illegal.” [] [If] “the president approves an action because of the national security — or in this case because of a threat to internal peace and order of significant magnitude — then the president’s decision in that instance is one that enables those who carry it out to carry it out without violating a law.” [Otherwise] “they’re in an impossible position.”

      Mr. President, Your Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card Is Ready [] JAMELLE BOUIE July 2, 2024

      • harpie says:

        Kavanaugh [oral arguments]:

        [2:13:35] Kavanaugh: How about, ah, I think it came up before, President Ford’s pardon. [Dreeben: hm-hm] Ah, very controversial in the moment. [Dreeben: Yes] Hugely unpopular…probably why he lost in ’76. [Dreeben: Yes] Ahh, now looked upon as one of the better decisions in presidential history, I think, by most people. [I’m sorry, but…LOL!!] Um, if he’s thinking about, well if I grant this pardon to Richard Nixon could I be investigated myself for obstruction of justice on the theory that I’m interfering with the investigation of Richard Nixon? [2:14:09]


        By the end of his time in the White House, Nixon was a disgrace. But to the conservative movement, he was something of a hero — hounded out of office by a merciless liberal establishment. One way to tell the story of the Republican Party after Nixon is as the struggle to build a world in which a future Nixon could act unimpeded by law.

        Roberts has done more than score a victory for Trump. He has scored a victory for the conservative legal project of a unitary executive of immense power. Besides Trump, he has vindicated the lawlessness of Republican presidents from Nixon to George W. Bush. The Nixonian theory of presidential power is now enshrined as constitutional law.

        This time when the president does it, it really won’t be illegal.

        SOTOMAYOR Dissent: []

        [pdf96/119] […] 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. [my emphasis, lol!][…]

    • paulka123 says:

      Which raises an issue that has been overlooked. This decision shouldn’t sit well with state’s rights advocates. How will Governor Parson react if Trump sends troops into St. Louis for example.

      538 did a poll in May 71% of the respondents did not want immunity for official acts. Only 16% supported it. I think more than a few Maga types may find giving a President king like powers is a bridge too far.

      • harpie says:


        O’Donnell: […] The commander in chief was suggesting that the U.S. military shoot protesters? American protesters.
        Esper: Yes, in the streets–
        O’D: American protesters.
        E: –of our nation’s capital. That’s right. Shocking.
        O’D: We have seen in other countries a government use their military to shoot protesters.
        E: Right.
        O’D: What kinda governments are those?
        E: Oh, those are banana republics, right? Or– authoritarian regimes. We all remember Tiananmen Square, right, in China. […]

        The interview also tells about the Photo-Op with Bible PARADE,
        which came after the meeting Esper is describing above.

  24. MsJennyMD says:

    By ensuring that no one in government has too much power, the Constitution helps protect ordinary Americans every day against abuse of power by those in authority.
    John Roberts

  25. c-i-v-i-l says:

    Some of the SCOTUS ruling cannot be overcome by an act of Congress. But I think that some of it can. I’ll be writing my members of Congress and asking them to introduce a bill to counter the parts of the immunity ruling that say motive is irrelevant and that immune acts are excluded from evidence.

  26. soundgood2 says:

    I’m starting to see articles about how living under Authoritarian rule is really not that bad…

  27. earlofhuntingdon says:

    NY state trial court judge Juan Merchan has postponed the July 11th sentencing hearing in Donald Trump’s state criminal election fraud case two months, until September 18th, assuming “it’s still necessary,” after the Roberts Court’s decision in Trump v. US.

    No word on whether Merchan expects lawyers to file briefs on the issue.

  28. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Just a reminder that misogyny remains alive and well on the Supreme Court. Chief Justice Roberts opinion tells the dissenting liberals on the Court, all women, in Joyce Vance’s words, “Sit down, little ladies.” He assures them that their interpretation of the probable consequences of his opinion is pure hysteria.

    In reality, they are right on the money, and John Roberts knows it.

  29. Magbeth4 says:

    I keep coming back to this site to see if anyone has offered an insight into how this might all connect to Putin’s manipulation of our political reportage over the course of the first Trump candidacy. I just finished reading Craig Unger’s book, “”House of Trump, House of Putin” from 2018. We Americans tend to have such short attention spans, so that some of the more outrageous stuff which happened during Trump’s occupancy of the White House has been forgotten.

    Relying on News sources which, after all, are invested in “new stuff” instead of books covering recent history, with its ability to interpret and make historical connections which are not found in daily reporting, is what many citizens do. I have a hard time remembering every criminal act Trump has committed, especially regarding the Russian Mafia and the Paul Manafort-Ukraine years. It’s worth taking a look back and to see how current events such as the Supreme Court Decision, the connections various members of the Court have in private life with Billionaires who shower certain Justices with unconscionably generous gifts, might have to Russian Mafia money and Putin influence. For men who might have had challenging youths, exposure in Washington to very rich people might have triggered greed which could have been exploited by Trump’s friends from Eurasia. At this point, I have no confidence in Roberts or his cohorts on the Court. I certainly do not vis-a-vis the Republican Party in Congress.

    As a remedy, we Citizens must exhort our Congressmen to come up with creative solutions within the parameters of the Constitution to repair the meaning of Presidential Powers in the face of such outrageous disregard for Original Intentions on the part of our Nation’s Founders. Speeches in Congress about this; interviews in the Media should stress the obtuseness of Robert’s “Court.”

    • harpie says:

      Here are two pieces that I think relate to your interests:

      Marcy’s Ball of Thread: 2 – The dossier that broke America June 19 [with transcript]

      Paul Manafort was in Spain in January 2017 when the “Trump dossier” was published. He was there to “re-establish” his relationship with Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch to whom he owed millions. When the former chairman of Trump’s 2016 campaign returned to the United States, he presented Republicans with a plan to discredit the entire Trump/Russia investigation. […] Find out how Russian disinformation helped shape the stories about the dossier, blurring the Trump campaign’s relationship with the Kremlin and strategically polarizing the United States. […]

      Letters from an American, June 28, 2024 Heather Cox Richardson

      […] Instead, tonight I want to make a note of something that has been nagging at me for weeks now: Trump’s focus on 32-year-old Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was arrested by Russian officers in March 2023 and is currently on trial for the trumped-up charge of espionage. […]

      At least three times now, Trump has interfered with those negotiations by vowing that Russian president Vladimir Putin will release Gershkovich for him and him alone.

      Somewhere in his discussion of Putin’s invasion of eastern Ukraine in February 2022, Trump said: “Putin saw that, he said, you know what, I think we’re going to go in and maybe take my—this was his dream. I talked to him about it, his dream.” […]

      Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s 2019 report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election explained that Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager and then conduit to Russian operatives, in summer 2016 “discussed a plan [“Mariupol Plan”] to resolve the ongoing political problems in Ukraine by creating an autonomous republic in its more industrialized eastern region of Donbas, and having [Viktor] Yanukovych, the Ukrainian President ousted in 2014, elected to head that republic.” […]

      So when Trump last night said about the 2022 invasion […] it sounded as if he had been in on the Mariupol Plan. And when he talked about how the war needed to end, especially in light of Putin’s recent “peace” plan, it sounded as if perhaps he still is.

      And he promised, yet again, that he and he alone could get Gershkovich released.

  30. ControlSlash says:

    Dems tried meeting with Roberts before all of this. Couldn’t they issue a subpoena and then Biden, with his newly issued power, send the marshals to retrieve all nine of the justices and sit them down for a hearing?

  31. Jim Luther says:

    Judges, prosecutors, witnesses, and jurors must weigh the probability of a Trump victory on their actions, because the consequences have already been insinuated.

    • dopefish says:

      Perhaps on Sept 18th Judge Merchan should sentence Trump to 12 years, with his sentence to start immediately. Then see how fast the NY court of appeals decides to act, and how partisan the SC is willing to appear. Let him miss a few weeks of campaigning while the RWNM screeches their outrage.

      (However satisfying this might be, I recognize that it might provoke an electoral backlash among R voters, so its probably not in the best interests of U.S. democracy. Still, it would be nice if somebody gave career-crimer Trump some actual fucking prison time, and after his behavior before & during that trial, Merchan has more legit cause than most)

  32. wa_rickf says:

    We are witnessing the end of America and its democracy in real-time. It’s happening right before our very eyes.

    The Republican presumptive POTUS nominee, Donald John Trump, is a corrupt man to his core. Trump is an adjudicated sexual assaulter, adjudicated business fraudster, and 34-count felon is leading Joe Biden to be the next POTUS in some polls.

    Trump has stolen from business partners, stolen from the American people’s treasury via Emoluments Clause violations, and tried to steal an election in 2020 that he lost. Trump was an incompetent, dishonest, lying, thieving businessman prior to be coming POTUS.

    As POTUS, we all saw Donald Trump break laws, because who of he is: a petulant narcissist who can’t stomach being a loser.

    On Monday July 1, 2024, the conservative majority SCOTUS voted to make the U.S. presidency an imperial one, stating that nothing a POTUS does is illegal – even attempting to steal an election.

    With the Citizens United decision in 2010, a majority conservative SCOTUS decision written by the current Chief Justice John Roberts giving corporations personhood, America has become an oligarchy where the rich get laws and judicial judgments that they want, to benefit the oligarchy. Providing gifts such as vacations and RVs and paying off the mortgages for the mother of various judges help in deciding the cases that the rich bring. This SCOTUS court season, we saw the SCOTUS limit the power of federal agencies and giving that power to the judicial branch and the demise of the “Chevron standard” because this is what corporations and the rich want.

    The SCOTUS also stated this past Monday that a POTUS receiving a bribe for a pardon isn’t even illegal – because ANYTHING a POTUS does is an “official act.” None of this is what the founding fathers wanted for America, nor do we decent Americans.

    For the conservative minority, their goal is to make laws for us forward-thinking majority, where fascism means freedom. I don’t want the conservative’s version of freedom. What the conservatives want to offer is not freedom, but “freedom.”

    Tomorrow is America’s 248th birthday and what a sad day for America it will be.

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