Biden, Trump React to Supreme Court Ruling on Presidential Immunity

Biden, Trump React to Supreme Court Ruling on Presidential Immunity
(Left) Former President Donald Trump in Washington on June 22, 2024. (Right) President Joe Biden at the White House on Sept. 21, 2023. (Samuel Corum, Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON—President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump on July 1 issued contrasting reactions to the Supreme Court decision that presidents have absolute immunity from prosecution for official acts.

Former President Trump, who may benefit from the ruling, called it a “big win for our Constitution and democracy.”

President Biden addressed the nation on July 1 in response to the ruling, saying that it “undermines the rule of law of this nation.”

“This nation was founded on the principle that there are no kings in America,” President Biden said, speaking from the Cross Hall at the White House.

“Each of us is equal before the law. No one, no one is above the law, not even the president of the United States. But [with] today’s Supreme Court decision on presidential immunity, that fundamentally changed,” he said.

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President Joe Biden speaks to the media following the Supreme Court’s ruling on presidential immunity, at the White House in Washington, on July 1, 2024. (Andrew Harnik/Getty Images)

The Supreme Court’s decision sends special counsel Jack Smith’s election case against former President Donald Trump back to the district court for further consideration. Judge Tanya Chutkan will now have to determine whether several of President Trump’s actions in the indictment were official or unofficial.

The ruling was a partial victory for former President Trump, who sought a broader form of immunity than the justices ultimately granted. He had asked the court to rule that he enjoyed immunity from criminal prosecution for his official acts unless Congress had impeached and convicted him for those acts.

“Big win for our Constitution and democracy. Proud to be an American!” former President Trump responded to the decision on his social media platform, TruthSocial, using all capital letters.

President Biden, however, said that the Supreme Court’s decision “almost certainly means the there are virtually no limits to what the president can do,” arguing that he is no longer being constrained by the law, even including the Supreme Court.

“The only limits will be self imposed by the president alone.”

The incumbent also focused on what happened at the Capitol Building on Jan. 6, 2021. “I think it’s fair to say [it] is one of the darkest days in the history of America,” he said.

“The American people deserve to have an answer in the courts before the upcoming election,” he said. “Now, because of today’s decision, that is highly, highly unlikely.”

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Former President and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Historic Greenbrier Farms in Chesapeake, Va., on July 28, 2024. (Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

‘Official Acts’

The president’s speech was made hours after the Supreme Court’s 6–3 ruling that presidents are immune from criminal prosecution for carrying out “official acts.” The decision is expected to postpone former President Trump’s trial in the federal election case in Washington.

The Supreme Court held that: “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.”

Chief Justice John Roberts penned the majority opinion, which was joined in full by Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh. Justice Amy Coney Barrett joined part of the opinion while issuing a concurrence of her own.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor penned a dissent, which was joined by Justices Ketanji Brown Jackson and Elena Kagan. Justice Jackson also issued a dissent.

Sam Dorman contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times