US Supreme Court grants immunity to former presidents for official actions in controversial Trump ruling

Ultra-conservative Court once again pushes a wildly unpopular decision with major implications nationwide

July 01, 2024 by Peoples Dispatch
Photo: Gage Skidmore

On Monday, July 1, the US Supreme Court ruled that former presidents have some immunity for official actions during their presidencies, granting former president Donald Trump substantial immunity from prosecution. This has major implications for the case against Trump for attempting to subvert the 2020 presidential elections, and the outcome has been vehemently opposed by leading Democrats.

“We 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,” reads the majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts. Six justices voted in favor, while three voted against, in a decision that was split in favor of the six ultra-conservative justices on the court, who are collectively responsible for many wildly unpopular decisions in recent years, including overturning abortion rights nationally and striking down student debt relief

This latest decision, which has not only major implications for Trump but also for all current, future, and former presidents, has many in the US continuing to question the legitimacy of the Supreme Court as a body that can make undemocratic decisions that affect the entire country. According to a Marquette University poll from May of this year, the Supreme Court has only a 39% approval rating, almost as low as directly after abortion rights were overturned nationally (38%). According to the same poll, the majority (71%) of the US public opposes presidential immunity.

“The far right’s war on the most basic democratic rights won’t end until millions of people rise up and change the politics of this country,” wrote the campaign of Claudia De La Cruz and Karina Garcia, two socialists running against Biden and Trump in the presidential election on the ticket of the Party for Socialism and Liberation. “Joe Biden and the Democratic Party elite are the absolute last people capable of winning this fight.”