‘Did you just hear John Roberts scream?’: US supreme court to have outsized influence in 2024 election

John Roberts and Clarence Thomas on 18 December 2023 in Washington DC. The US supreme court , stacked with rightwing justices appointed by Donald Trump and facing a crisis of public confidence in its impartiality, has been thrust into the thick of the 2024 presidential election through a number of highly charged and critical cases. Last week’s dynamite ruling from the Colorado supreme court disqualifying Trump from the state’s presidential primary ballot on grounds that he engaged in insurrection on 6 January 2021 is almost certain to end up before the country’s highest court. Trump’s legal team has indicated it will appeal, and the nine supreme court justices will be under pressure to take the case or risk legal confusion spreading as the election year unfolds. In addition to the Colorado ruling, the top court was also asked to step into the legal battle between Trump and the department of justice’s special counsel Jack Smith in the criminal prosecution of the former president over his attempt to subvert the 2020 election. At issue was whether Trump could claim presidential immunity even though he is no longer in the White House. Earlier this month Smith asked the supreme court to expedite a decision to avoid delaying a criminal trial in Washington DC scheduled to begin on 4 March. On Friday the court issued a one-sentence denial , which returns the case back to a Washington DC-based federal appeals court, though it is likely to be only a matter of time before such a fundamental question wends its way back to the highest court for final adjudication. Unlike 2000, the general political instability in the US makes the situation now much more precarious Legal scholar Rick Hasen The confluence of two white-knuckle legal tussles, both involving Trump and both having potentially […]

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