REUTERS reports that the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 6-3 ruling authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, threw out a lower court’s decision rejecting former President Donald J. Trump’s claim of immunity from federal criminal charges involving allegations that he attempted to overturn his loss to President Joe Biden in the 2020 General Election – making it unlikely that Trump would be tried on election-related charges brought by U.S. Department of Justice Special Counsel Jack Smith prior to the 2024 General Election.

Chief Justice Roberts stated in the ruling that “[w]e conclude that under our constitutional structure of separated powers, the nature of presidential power requires that a former president have some immunity from criminal prosecution for official acts during his tenure in office,” and further stated that immunity for former presidents is “absolute” with respect to their “core constitutional powers,” and that a former president has “at least a presumptive immunity for acts within the outer perimeter of his official responsibility.”

Chief Justice Roberts cited the need for a U.S. president to “execute the duties of his office fearlessly and fairly” without the threat of prosecution.  The matter has been remanded to the District Court to determine what constitutes official versus unofficial acts by a U.S. president.

The REUTERS report may be read in full HERE.

FGGAM has obtained a copy of the U.S Supreme Court’s opinion, which may be viewed or downloaded HERE.

In the ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court summarized the situation leading up today’s opinion as follows:

“A federal grand jury indicted former President Donald J. Trump on four counts for conduct that occurred during his Presidency following the November 2020 election.  The indictment alleged that after losing that election, Trump conspired to overturn it by spreading knowingly false claims of election fraud to obstruct the collecting, counting, and certifying of the election results.  Trump moved to dismiss the indictment based on Presidential immunity, arguing that a President has absolute immunity from criminal prosecution for actions performed within the outer perimeter of his official responsibilities, and that the indictment’s allegations fell within the core of his official duties.  The District Court denied Trump’s motion to dismiss, holding that former Presidents do not possess federal criminal immunity for any acts.  The [District of Columbia] Circuit affirmed.  Both the District Court and the [District of Columbia] Circuit declined to decide whether the indicted conduct involved official acts.”

In a summary of the ruling, the U.S Supreme Court held the following opinion:

“Under our constitutional structure of separated powers, the nature of Presidential power entitles a former President to absolute immunity from criminal prosecution for actions within his conclusive and preclusive constitutional authority.  And he is entitled to at least presumptive immunity from prosecution for all his official acts.  There is no immunity for unofficial acts.”

There is an extensive and highly informative Syllabus included at the beginning of this ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court (“the Court” or “SCOTUS”).  In the Syllabus, the Court did not attempt to define what constituted an official act (with absolute presidential immunity) versus an unofficial act (with no presidential immunity), as this situation has never been litigated before and the SCOTUS is not a court of first review.  It is possible, depending on what District and Appellate Courts may determine in the future, that this matter could again reach the level of the SCOTUS.

Additionally, in Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurrence, he states, in part:

“In this case, the Attorney General purported to appoint a private citizen [Jack Smith] as Special Counsel to prosecute a former President on behalf of the United States.  But, I am not sure that any office for the Special Counsel has been ‘established by Law,’ as the Constitution requires.  Art. II, §2, cl. 2.  By requiring that Congress create federal offices ‘by Law,’ the Constitution imposes an important check against the President—he cannot create offices at his pleasure.  If there is no law establishing the office that the Special Counsel occupies, then he cannot proceed with this prosecution.  A private citizen cannot criminally prosecute anyone, let alone a former President [emphasis mine].  No former President has faced criminal prosecution for his acts while in office in the more than 200 years since the founding of our country.  And, that is so despite numerous past Presidents taking actions that many would argue constitute crimes.  If this unprecedented prosecution is to proceed, it must be conducted by someone duly authorized to do so by the American people.  The lower courts should thus answer these essential questions concerning the Special Counsel’s appointment before proceeding.”

My brothers and sisters, this ruling was geared “for the ages” and was not intended as some sort of stopgap measure prior to the upcoming General Election this November.  This matter is critical to the effectiveness of the current and all future presidents of the United States, as Chief Justice Roberts stated that a president needs to be able to “execute the duties of his office fearlessly and fairly” without the threat of prosecution.  And for clarity, this was stated in regard to official duties, not any conceivable action by a president.

As followers of Christ, let’s continue to lift up all of our federal leaders, including those involved in the upcoming 2024 General Election and those within the U.S. Congress and Judicial System, in prayer (see Philippians 4:6-7 and 1 Timothy 2:1-3), asking for godly wisdom and peace to prevail (see Proverbs 3:13 and 1 Corinthians 3:19).  The word of God tells us to respect civil authority – when such is not contrary to biblical standards and morality (see Romans 13:1-3).  We can change the laws or help to assure proper interpretation of the law by prayerfully electing men and women of faith who seek the word of God for wisdom in their day-to-day work.

Here are the aforementioned scriptures:

Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

1 Timothy 2:1-3 (ESV)
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.  This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior…”.

Proverbs 3:13 (ESV)
Blessed Is the One Who Finds Wisdom
“Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding…”.

1 Corinthians 3:19 (NLT)
“For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God.  As the Scriptures say, ‘He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness.’”

Romans 13:1-3 (NKJV)
Submit to Government
“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities.  For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.  Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil.  Do you want to be unafraid of the authority?  Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.”

Praise Jesus forevermore!

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