Newsline

Newsline , Society

Presidential Immunity to Criminal Prosecution – What is at Stake?

Posted on Tuesday, April 30, 2024
|
by AMAC, Robert B. Charles
|
16 Comments
|
Print
immunity-definition

What is all this “presidential immunity” talk about, the Supreme Court considering whether presidents should be immune from criminal liability later for actions taken in office? What is the nub of the issue? What was at the heart of arguments before the Supreme Court last week?  And what is the answer? Speaking candidly, this is simple. You do not need to be a lawyer to see why.

Common sense says:  Other than actions on which no citizen could possibly disagree, where the evidence of a crime is overwhelming, and where a federal statute clearly sets out that crime, former presidents should not be criminally prosecuted for actions taken – particularly not a speech – when serving as president. If the Supreme Court does not recognize this immunity, the Republic sinks.

While a president should not be immune from a cold-blooded murder, burglary, accepting bribes foreign or domestic, giving aid and comfort to an enemy, the idea of suddenly imposing criminal liability for official acts, or potentially official – like a speech urging civil protest – would be fatal.

Fatal? Yes, to the Republic. Why? Pause and think about it. If presidents were afraid they would be put in prison for a speech, position, or action that opponents did not like – that is, had no immunity from criminal suits later – presidents would be paralyzed, something our Founders never wanted.

Fear of being criminally sued for political speeches, positions, or acts would overturn the entire constitutional scheme of “separate” and co-equal branches, ending or eviscerating the presidency.

For context, imagine if that same thing happened to decision-makers in the other two branches, a Supreme Court justice, judge, or member of Congress not just removable by impeachment or other means, but held criminally liable for a ruling or a speech. The world would be afire with lawsuits against justices, judges, and members of Congress, with no end in sight. Justice would vanish.

Put differently, imagine if twisting the law to accuse a political opponent of a crime while in office became an accepted way of ending an opponent’s political career, where would we be?

This is why the Supreme Court, 9-0 in 2014, sanctioned none other than Jack Smith, the same federal prosecutor targeting Trump now, for targeting former Virginia Governor Bob McConnel. 

The High Court effectively said he was mocking obligations imposed on the Department of Justice to be fair, and on all prosecutors to administer justice fairly, evenly, and impartially. He was being political, which if not criminal in itself was an abuse of discretion, disrespecting Western law.

I hear you: We are already there.  Yes, in effect, we are back there again – in that the federal cases against the former president for a speech on January 6th and holding classified documents – are politically motivated, disrupting or trashing public perceptions of impartial justice.

Of course, you are right. These federal cases, like the twisted political interpretations of law by politically motivated state and federal prosecutors judges, Justice, and the White House, are wrong.

When we allow any two-bit prosecutor and local judge to trash a former president, we are trashing our own Constitution – or they are trashing it. They replace the concept of fairness and impartial administration of laws, the “rule of law” in Western culture, with raw, ugly, low politics.

The effect of this prosecutorial abuse, which continues now is serious. This is why the Supreme Court must halt it by affirming presidential immunity to such flagrantly unlawful, politically inspired criminal suits.

Abuse of power by federal and state prosecutors, here against a president but potentially against everyone, is a danger to the Republic. Why? Yes, because it puts people in fear, usurps powers belonging to the other branches, and makes a mockery of the idea of justice, turning it political.

But there is more, and we all know it. It creates incredible tension in society, distrust of government, anger at the government, and then – if allowed to stand – deters good people from getting involved in leading the nation, at every level of government.

In effect, if the Supreme Court does not grant criminal immunity to Trump, no future president will act without fear of possible criminal prosecution by his or her opponents later, a collapse of the idea of impartial justice, on which the entire Republic depends. That is what is really at stake.

Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman for AMAC.

We hope you've enjoyed this article. While you're here, we have a small favor to ask...

The AMAC Action Logo

Support AMAC Action. Our 501 (C)(4) advances initiatives on Capitol Hill, in the state legislatures, and at the local level to protect American values, free speech, the exercise of religion, equality of opportunity, sanctity of life, and the rule of law.

Donate Now
Share this article:
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
16 Comments
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Leslie
Leslie
25 days ago

I’m really tried of the obvious double-standard where liberals do whatever with virtually no consequences, yet conservatives are called out, or even worse, things are made up to punish them. Riots on college campuses still being called “protests” while January 6th supposed insurrectionists still being held without trial. It will not end well for America.

Max
Max
25 days ago

RBC, no matter what — NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW!!! Those who violate the law should be prosecuted to the full extent through due process. Of course, we now are seeing the total perversion of our laws where evil is getting away with murder and the innocent are prosecuted and sent to prison or held without trial. In the end, GOD will have the final judgement.

lawrence greenberg
lawrence greenberg
25 days ago

All the talking heads on television have been warning the Democrats that removing Presidential immunity can come back to bite them when they are no longer in charge. What the talking heads don’t seem to understand is that the Democrats will never again not be in charge; they have the voting system completely rigged and are going to use their fraud/cheating system to steal every election from now until the end of time.

granky
granky
25 days ago

If the SCOTUS rules for no immunity it will backfire on the democrats. Both Obama and Biden have had foreign nationals killed by drone strikes while we were not in a state of war and the victims had not been found guilty and sentenced to death by a court of law. By definition, they ordered them murdered and there is no statute of limitations on murder. This is a double edged sword they are playing with.

Jeri
Jeri
25 days ago

Maybe there is something to be said about getting one’s bum torn up during childhood…

Hehehewoo
Hehehewoo
25 days ago

Trumps not guilty that’s why he needs immunity. Because he did nothing wrong lol

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
25 days ago

Just wish they’d stop referring to Stormy Daniels as a “porn star”… she was more “B” list as far as that goes! The one thing that gives me pause to vote for Trump is not that he banged her but that someone who could afford BETTER paid for HER!

Melinda
Melinda
25 days ago

The country, and the world, are in an upheaval. We have to have hope that it will right things, but it looks dismal for sure.

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
25 days ago

Goes Both ways OK Dems

An older blonde women laughing in the kitchen with a grey haired man.
AMAC’s Medicare Advisory Service
The knowledge, guidance, and choices of coverage you’re looking for. The exceptional service you deserve.
The AMAC App on 3 different iPhone
Download the AMAC App
The AMAC App is the place to go for insightful news wherever you are and whenever you want.
Biden gender
rececssion
Donald Trump s first Presidential campaign rally in Phoenix. Donald Trump held his first campaign rally, since announcing his Republican candidacy for President, at the Phoenix Convention Center. The event was hosted by the Maricopa County Republican Party. Media outlets from all over the country converged in Phoenix to cover this event. Previously, Mr. Trump created a media firestorm with his comments about illegal immigration during his candidacy announcement. Thousands filled the north ballroom of the convention center to see Trump and hear him speak. The event was scheduled to be held at the Arizona Biltmore, but the requests for tickets were so great the event had to be moved to the larger venue. Opponents held a peaceful protest outside the center. Trump s slogan is Make America Great Again.
Historic American Revolution flag at The Hall of Flags. Old and historic American flag on the wall on display at the American pavilion in EPCOT in the restaurant next to The Hall of Flags, Orlando, Florida. Appeal to Heaven flag from New England aka The Tree Flag aka Washington`s Cruisers Flag 1775.

Stay informed! Subscribe to our Daily Newsletter.

"*" indicates required fields

16
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x

Subscribe to AMAC Daily News and Games