The Supreme Court's Plan To Save Donald Trump Comes Into Focus
Democrats might be able to upend it, but they'd have to get loud, now
Here’s something Democrats should get comfortable saying on every media platform available to them: If the Republican-controlled Supreme Court intervenes for any reason to prevent a jury from deliberating Donald Trump’s guilt before the 2024 election, it’ll be the most disgraceful decision since Dobbs and the most corrupt and partisan since Bush v. Gore.
That’s because the means by which the Court might interfere in the administration of justice to protect Trump are just becoming clear.
Liberals were heartened last week when Special Counsel Jack Smith asked the Supreme Court to consider short-circuiting Trump’s efforts to delay his January 6 trial in Washington, DC, and even more heartened just hours later when the Court agreed. It seemed to imply at least five justices (including, therefore, at least two Republican-appointed justices) were inclined to make quick work of Trump’s dilatory objections. And since his objections are frivolous, it also suggested Smith had simply outplayed Trump and his lawyers.
With respect to Trump’s “presidential immunity” gambit, it seems he has.
But just two days later, at least four Supreme Court justices agreed to hear arguments in a different, high-stakes January 6 case—this one brought by a man named Joseph Fischer, who’s been charged with obstructing an official proceeding. If the Court agrees that the law making it a crime to obstruct an official proceeding has been wrongly applied, that charge will be withdrawn, and hundreds of Capitol rioters could see their convictions overturned.
The interaction of these cases could also provide the Supreme Court cover to delay Trump’s January 6 trial past the election, even while they make quick work of his bad-faith “immunity” appeal.
That’s because two of the four charges in Trump’s January 6 indictment stem from his violation of the same law against obstructing an official proceeding.
If the Supreme Court construes that law narrowly enough to overturn the convictions of multiple Capitol rioters, it may also render the law inapplicable to Trump’s conduct. But simply agreeing to consider this appeal now, this term, while Trump awaits trial, arms the Republican justices with the tools they’d need to help Trump achieve his primary goal of delay.
Wherever the Supreme Court falls in the end on the question of obstructing an official proceeding, “we should expect Trump’s lawyers to seek a stay of his trial pending the resolution of that question,” one knowledgeable source tells me.