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Black leaders blast Supreme Court for granting Trump broad immunity

Black leaders across the country are blasting the latest ruling from the conservative U.S. Supreme Court, which on Monday, July 1, granted broad immunity to presidents from being prosecuted for certain acts they commit while in office.

The historic ruling was delivered after the Supreme Court’s conservative majority voted 6-3 to overturn a lower court’s ruling. The ruling said Trump is not entitled to absolute immunity for actions he committed while in office.

Supreme Court Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who voted against the measure, said in a dissenting opinion that the Court’s ruling set a dangerous precedent.

“The seeds of absolute power for Presidents have been planted. And, without a doubt, absolute power corrupts absolutely. If one man can be allowed to determine for himself what is law, every man can. That means first chaos, then tyranny.”

Justice Jackson said, “If the Government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. I worry that, after today’s ruling, our Nation will reap what this Court has sown.

The ruling was viewed as a partial victory for former President Donald Trump, who faces indictments in three criminal cases in Florida, Georgia and Washington, D.C. Trump remains accused of trying to overturn the 2020 election, inciting the January 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection and hoarding classified documents after he left office.

Those cases remain uncertain after the Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, said presidents have some immunity from prosecution for “official acts” they commit in office. The Court sent the immunity case back to lower courts, where judges had to interpret how to apply the ruling to criminal cases against Trump. Democrats argue that Trump’s indictments are not considered “official acts” of a president’s duties, but judges now must weigh evidence in the cases to make that determination.

For Democrats and many Americans, the ruling sowed more profound distrust in the Supreme Court, whose recent decisions against abortion, affirmative action and Trump’s immunity from prosecution have many believing the Court primarily serves and protects Trump as he seeks to advance his conservative and right-wing agenda.

The conservative majority that voted in favor of Trump includes three Justices whom Trump appointed when he was in office. And Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito defied calls to recuse themselves from the immunity case after embarrassing public incidents that showed their Republican bias.

With Trump on a revenge campaign to get back into the White House, the Supreme Court decision sparked concern that the ruling will give Trump unprecedented power and embolden him to operate above the law should he win in November.

“That is a danger, not only to the African American community – it is a danger to this society as a whole,” said Derrick Johnson, President and CEO of the NAACP.

U.S. House Speaker Hakeem Jeffries said, “No one, including the twice-impeached former president, should be above the law. The Constitution is sacredly obligatory upon all. That’s what makes America special.

“Today’s Supreme Court decision to grant legal immunity to a former President for crimes committed using his official power sets a dangerous precedent for the future of our nation.”

Congresswoman Maxine Waters of California said, “Today, the MAGA-controlled Supreme Court issued a dangerous decision that would allow Trump to be the dictator he has threatened to be if elected.

“The Court’s decision to give a president immunity for official acts means that, if elected, Trump—who said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose voters—would now have legal cover to seek retribution on those who disagree with him or whom he simply doesn’t like.

“If elected, President Trump could legally commit murder if it’s determined it’s done in his official capacity. Trump and his cronies on the Supreme Court are on a mission to destroy democracy.”

Congresswoman Frederica Wilson from Florida said on X, “A Republican Supreme Court with a six-seat majority, with three Trump-appointed Justices, just defended Trump in asserting he is above the law, even though the Court’s mandate is EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER THE LAW.

“Does this sound like equal justice under the law?”

During a nationally televised broadcast, President Joe Biden said the Supreme Court ruling is “a terrible disservice to the people of this nation,” Biden said, adding that Americans will “have to do what the courts should have been willing to do but were not.”

“The American people will have to render a judgment about Donald Trump’s behavior,” he said. “The American people will have to decide whether Donald Trump’s assault on our democracy on January 6 makes him unfit for public office. The American people must decide if Trump’s embrace of violence to preserve his power is acceptable.”

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said, “No person, not even the president, ought to be above the law. SCOTUS today left open that possibility. When Trump tried to overturn the 2020 election, it was not an official act of a president. It was the act of a despotic narcissist attempting to overthrow our democracy to cling to power, and he needs to answer for his actions.”

Prosecutors are concerned that the ruling will cause more trial delays and prevent them from bringing Trump to justice before the November election.

On Tuesday, July 2, New York prosecutors agreed to delay Trump’s July 11 sentencing after he was convicted last month of 34 felonies for falsifying business records to hide a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels. However, that case occurred before Trump became president.

Buoyed by the Supreme Court ruling, Trump’s lawyers argued that although Trump was a candidate seeking office, the evidence that was used during the trial came from his time as president in the White House.

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