It’s Good to Be the King

If the Supreme Court majority thinks a president should have total immunity, maybe Biden should arrest, imprison, and replace the Supreme Court majority. What’s he got to lose? That sounds crazy. In other words, it has something very much in common with the sad, worrisome Supreme Court hearing on presidential immunity. Something absurd (presidents as kings) was made to seem serious, and something remarkably serious (the actual coup and insurrection) was turned into a triviality. Slate: The Last Thing This Supreme Court Could Do to Shock Us. “Justice Samuel Alito best captured the spirit of arguments when he asked gravely “what is required for the functioning of a stable democratic society” (good start!), then answered his own question: total immunity for criminal presidents (oh, dear). Indeed, anything but immunity would, he suggested, encourage presidents to commit more crimes to stay in office: ‘Now, if an incumbent who loses a very close, hotly contested election knows that a real possibility after leaving office is not that the president is going to be able to go off into a peaceful retirement but that the president may be criminally prosecuted by a bitter political opponent, will that not lead us into a cycle that destabilizes the functioning of our country as a democracy?’ Never mind that the president in question did not leave office peacefully and is not sitting quietly in retirement but is instead running for presidential office once again. No, if we want criminal presidents to leave office when they lose, we have to let them commit crimes scot-free. If ever a better articulation of the legal principle ‘Don’t make me hit you again’ has been proffered at an oral argument, it’s hard to imagine it.”

+ The New Yorker: King Donald’s Day at the Supreme Court. “By the end of the nearly two hours and forty minutes of oral arguments, it seemed likely that the outcome would not so much vindicate Trump’s outlandish claims as provide the further delay that he has sought. Several conservative Justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts, specifically raised the option of sending the case back to the lower courts, perhaps to set a clearer standard dividing non-prosecutable official acts from prosecutable private actions.”

+ When your media brands, your political leaders, and your Supreme Court justices, diminish the damage done by your king/president, then you tend to agree. WaPo (Gift Article): Anti-democratic warning signs are blinking in current polling. “The Pew Research Center published data Wednesday showing that about half of Republicans (and independents who lean Republican) think Trump did nothing wrong in trying to overturn his 2020 loss.” And from CNN: “About three-quarters of voters currently backing Trump against President Joe Biden in the 2024 election say they will stick with him even if he is convicted of a crime, while 24% of Trump’s backers say a conviction might cause them to reconsider their support.”

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