Supreme Court prepares to issue ruling on Trump immunity and final cases Monday | CNN Politics (2024)


The Supreme Court is expected to hand down its final opinions of the term on Monday morning, resolving the question of whether former President Donald Trump may claim immunity from federal election subversion charges.

Overstepping their unofficial end-of-June deadline by a single day, the nine justices will assemble on the bench for a final time before rising for their summer recess – likely leaving in their wake a flurry of legal wrangling over their last decisions.

By far, the case of greatest consequence that is still outstanding is the question of whether Trump is entitled to the sweeping immunity he is seeking from special counsel Jack Smith’s election subversion charges.

Trump has argued that without immunity, presidents would be hamstrung in office, always fearful of being second-guessed by a zealous prosecutor after leaving the White House. That position appeared to have some purchase on the 6-3 conservative Supreme Court during oral arguments in April.

The answer to the question could have profound implications for both Trump and future presidents. During the CNN debate on Thursday, Trump claimed President Joe Biden “could be a convicted felon with all of the things that he’s done.” That answer came in response to a question from CNN’s Jake Tapper about whether Trump would seek retribution from his political opponents. Trump first responded by saying his “retribution is going to be success,” but then launched into a series of accusations against Biden.

The immunity case appears likely to come down to whether Trump’s post-election actions were “official” – that is, steps pursuant to his presidential duties – or whether they were “private,” which would not likely receive immunity.

The court will also decide two cases at the intersection of the First Amendment and social media. At issue are laws enacted in Florida and Texas aimed at stopping social media giants like Facebook and X from throttling conservative views. The state laws ban online platforms from removing or demoting posts that express opinions, such as political content.

The Republican governors who signed the laws said they were needed to keep the social media platforms from discriminating against conservatives.

In some ways, the underlying dispute isn’t as salient as it might have been when the cases were first filed. Since Elon Musk bought X and changed the company’s content moderation policies, conservatives have been less likely to accuse the social media giant of throttling their views. But the case nevertheless raised fundamental First Amendment questions that could have a broad impact.

At the center of both disputes is whether the curation of posts is protected speech – in the same way that news outlets are entitled to First Amendment protection in how they design their front pages or guest lineups – or whether the social media platforms are simply carrying third-party posts to readers in a way that would allow the government to regulate them more closely.

A final case to be decided deals with a North Dakota truck stop that is challenging the fees banks can charge for debit card transactions in a ruling that could have deeper implications for other government regulations. The issue before the Supreme Court is whether the truck stop may sue in the first place, given a six-year statute of limitations on challenging government regulations.

It’s a technical question but with potentially important ramifications. The federal government has warned that if the court sides with the truck stop, it could open the floodgates for similar challenges to government rules.

The decisions will cap a term in which the high court has largely ducked the underlying questions of two major abortion matters. It has sided with the Biden administration on one gun regulation and tossed out a federal ban on bump stocks in another. On Friday, the court narrowed a charge prosecutors had filed against hundreds of people who took part in the attack on the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Beyond the decisions, the court’s term was also plagued by controversy off the bench, including a series of stories documenting that controversial flags – including an upside-down US flag – had flown at properties owned by Justice Samuel Alito. An activist who represented herself as a religious conservative at a Supreme Court event released secret recordings of Alito and his wife, as well as Chief Justice John Roberts, discussing a range of politically sensitive topics.

Finally, in a stunning breach of protocol, the court inadvertently posted a draft of its opinion in a major abortion case a day before the formal release. In that case, the court dismissed a fight between Idaho and the Biden administration over the state’s strict abortion ban, temporarily blocking that ban’s enforcement in emergency health situations while the underlying litigation continues.

Supreme Court prepares to issue ruling on Trump immunity and final cases Monday | CNN Politics (2024)
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