Constitution and Trump

Supreme Court Opinion on Trump and Constitution

Constitution and Trump

In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court ruled that presidents have immunity from criminal prosecution for official acts, but NOT unofficial acts.  It was a 6-3 ruling. Read  the Supreme Court ruling here: Supreme Court Rules Trump Has Immunity July 1 2024

The ruling is filled with wisdom on the Constitution.  I’ve shared some golden nuggets below.


Under our constitutional structure of separated powers, the nature of Presidential power entitles a former President to absolute immunityfrom 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. Pp. 5–43.

(a) This case is the first criminal prosecution in our Nation’s history of a former President for actions taken during his Presidency. Determining whether and under what circumstances such a prosecutionmay proceed requires careful assessment of the scope of Presidentialpower under the Constitution.

The nature of that power requires that a former President have some immunity from criminal prosecution for official acts during his tenure in office. At least with respect to the President’s exercise of his core constitutional powers, this immunity must be absolute. As for his remaining official actions, he is entitledto at least presumptive immunity. Pp. 5–15.

The Framers designed the Presidency to provide for a “vigorous” and “energetic” Executive

They vested the President with “supervisory and policy responsibilities of utmost discretion and sensitivity.” Nixon v. Fitzgerald, 457 U. S. 731, 750. Appreciating the “unique risks” that arise when the President’s energies are diverted by proceedings that might render him “unduly cautious in the discharge of his official duties,” the Court has recognized Presidential immunities and privileges “rooted in the constitutional tradition of the separationof powers and supported by our history.”

Official v. Non-Official Actions

The first step in deciding whether a former President is entitled to immunity from a particular prosecution is to distinguish his officialfrom unofficial actions. In this case, no court thus far has drawn that distinction, in general or with respect to the conduct alleged in particular. It is therefore incumbent upon the Court to be mindful that it is“a court of final review and not first view.” Zivotofsky v. Clinton, 566 U.S. 189, 201.

Certification Proceeding is Official

Whenever the President and Vice President discuss their official responsibilities, they engage in official conduct. Presiding over the January 6 certification proceeding at which Members of Congress count the electoral votes is a constitutional and statutory duty of the Vice President. Art. II, §1, cl. 3; Amdt. 12; 3 U. S. C. §15. The indictment’s allegations that Trump attempted to pressure the Vice President to take particular acts in connection with his role at the certification proceeding thus involve official conduct, and Trump is at least presumptively immune from prosecution for such conduct.

The question then becomes whether that presumption of immunity is rebutted under the circumstances. It is the Government’s burden to rebut the presumption of immunity. The Court therefore remands to the District Court to assess in the first instance whether a prosecution involving Trump’s alleged attempts to influence the Vice President’s oversight of the certification proceeding would pose any dangers of intrusion on the authority and functions of the Executive Branch. Pp.21–24.


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