Senate committee to probe Supreme Court's Trump immunity ruling

The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing in September on whether legislation is needed to limit the impact of the recent Supreme Court ruling that said former President Donald Trump had some immunity for his conduct in seeking to overturn the 2020 election.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who chairs the committee, announced that the hearing would look into the legal and policy ramifications of the decision. An exact date for the hearing has not yet been set.

“During this upcoming hearing, we will examine the breadth of future misconduct that may be immunized from prosecution, consider the unprecedented nature of this immunity in American history, and discuss legislative solutions to the dangers of this decision,” he said in a statement.

Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he was considering a legislative response to the ruling.

In the ruling, which came down 6-3 on ideological lines with the conservative justices in the majority, the Supreme Court said for the first time that former presidents have some criminal immunity for acts taken while in office.

The court ruled that certain core presidential duties are completely protected, while other so-called official acts are presumed to be subject to immunity too. Only unofficial acts are not subject to any immunity.

The ruling has faced considerable criticism, including from legal experts who accused the conservative justices of abandoning their stated reliance on the text of the Constitution and its original meaning.

It has also prompted concerns that future presidents have been given a road map on how to avoid criminal exposure.

“This dangerous decision immunizes presidents who commit crimes, no matter how serious, as long as they claim their offenses were ‘official acts,'” Durbin added.

In Trump’s case, stemming from the election interference case in Washington, the court said some of his conduct was off-limits, but prosecutors have a chance to argue that some of his official acts are not protected. Trump’s lawyers had previously conceded that at least some of the actions alleged in the indictment are not subject to immunity.

The Supreme Court ruling further imperiled the chance of Trump’s trial taking place before November’s presidential election.

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