Supreme Court Denies Smith’s Attempt to Fast-Track Trump Prosecution

In an important judicial win for President Donald Trump, the Supreme Court ruled on Friday that it would not expedite Special Counsel Jack Smith’s case, currently under review for a decision about the extent of presidential immunity. Instead, the case will follow ordinary channels and must first be reviewed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The case could then be ready for review by the high court.

Smith has been under pressure from Democrats to ensure the case goes to trial before next year’s election to maximize the negative effect they believe it might have on the 45th president’s campaign.

Trump has pulled no punches in describing Smith’s request to short-circuit ordinary procedure as a purely political maneuver.

The issues raised by President Trump regarding executive immunity will directly impact Smith’s underlying case. The prosecution alleges that Trump conspired to defraud the federal government, obstructed an official proceeding and conspired to deny citizens of their civil rights. Smith’s case involves the events of January 6, 2021, and his allegations that President Trump led a conspiracy to overturn the result of the 2020 election.

Smith appeared determined to somehow preserve the favorable trial date that the trial judge had assigned for March 4 of next year. Trump countered by arguing that the crucial matter of a review of the extent and nature of presidential immunity must be given comprehensive judicial review according to the ordinary due process of law.

No dissent by any justice from the court’s decision to reject Smith’s request was recorded. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals has already expressed willingness to provide an expedited review of the immunity issue. However, there is no official timetable for completing that review.

When the case eventually reaches the Supreme Court, it promises to be a landmark ruling on the nature of presidential immunity. For now, the high court shows it intends to take a deliberate and cautious approach. While that is undoubtedly frustrating to Smith and the Democrats, it reflects the historically temperate approach the Supreme Court has taken to politically driven and charged cases.