DC Circuit Court Rules Against Trump’s Presidential Immunity

In the least surprising judicial ruling of 2024, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decided on Tuesday that former President Donald Trump is not immune from prosecution.

The D.C. judges determined the 45th president could face charges related to activities during his final days in office. This decision will likely ultimately be determined by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Waiting for the decision from the three-judge panel meant a delay in one of the Democratic persecutions of the former president set to begin next month. The ruling upheld a previous decision by a lower court rejecting Trump’s immunity.

The case against the 45th president was brought by controversial Special Counsel Jack Smith. It concerns claims by Democrats that Trump attempted to interfere with the 2020 presidential election.

The D.C. Circuit Court wrote that “any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as President no longer protects him against this prosecution.” It added that President Trump is now “citizen Trump,” though the charges concern actions while he occupied the White House.

The court, as widely expected, dismissed the 2024 Republican frontrunner’s assertion that allowing him to be prosecuted would have a chilling effect on presidential action.

It also rejected the argument that such action would permit “vexatious litigation.”

What is clear, even though the court disagreed, is that allowing this case to proceed opens the floodgates to any former president being indicted for actions taken while in the Oval Office. Actions that up until now were protected by presidential immunity.

Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung released a statement calling out the court for the consequences of their decision.

He noted, “If immunity is not granted to a President, every future President who leaves office will be immediately indicted by the opposing party. Without complete immunity, a President of the United States will not be able to properly function!”

Cheung continued, declaring that Smith’s prosecution of Trump for official acts directly conflicts with “the Doctrine of Presidential Immunity and the Separation of Powers.”

Trump has up to 90 days to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court. Undoubtedly he will, and there is a great chance that justice at the highest level will ultimately be served.