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By Sarah May on
 December 21, 2023

Trump files response to Jack Smith's request for immediate SCOTUS review of immunity claim

Attorneys for Donald Trump on Wednesday submitted its response to Special Counsel Jack Smith's petition for expedited Supreme Court review of the former president's claim of immunity in the federal election interference against him, as Fox News reports, and has asked the panel to reject that request.

The action from Trump's lawyers came after Judge Tanya Chutkan, overseeing the aforementioned case in Washington, D.C., denied the immunity claim below, which prompted the former president's team to seek appeals court review.

Smith subsequently filed his petition to the Supreme Court in an effort to sidestep the intermediate level of appellate review and secure the high court's determination as rapidly as possible so that the trial might commence, as currently scheduled, on March 4, 2024.

In their brief to the Supreme Court, Trump's attorneys implored the justices not to rush a decision before the lower appellate court has had an opportunity to weigh in on the issues presented.

The Trump legal team wrote, “This appeal presents momentous, historic questions. An erroneous denial of a claim of presidential immunity from criminal prosecution unquestionably warrants this Court's review.”

“The Special Counsel contends that '[i]t is of imperative public importance that respondent's claims of immunity be resolved by this Court,'” they added.

However, the former president's lawyers went on to say, “That does not entail, however, that the Court should take the case before the lower courts complete their review.”

“Every jurisdictional and prudential consideration calls for this Court to allow the appeal to proceed first in the D.C. Court,” the brief went on.

Smith, for his part, took less than 24 hours to file his response to the Trump team's legal brief, as the Washington Examiner notes, reiterating his belief in the need for “immediate” review by the highest court in the land of the former president's claim of executive immunity.

The special counsel declares in the brief, “The charges here are of the utmost gravity. This case involves -- for the first time in our Nation's history -- criminal charges against a former president based on his actions while in office. And not just any actions: alleged acts to perpetuate himself in power by frustrating the constitutionally protected prescribed process for certifying the lawful winner of an election.”

Smith's filing continued, “The Nation has a compelling interest in a decision on respondent's claim of immunity from these charges -- and if they are to be tried, a resolution by conviction or acquittal, without undue delay.”

Among the most vocal critics of Smith's attempt to circumvent the standard appeals process of which Trump planned to avail himself following Chutkan's denial of the immunity claim is Harvard law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz, as Fox News noted separately.

In Dershowitz's opinion, Smith and the DOJ are engaging in a “kind of election fraud,” in that they are seeking to use the courts as a means to put "political thumbs on the scale of the justice system" and impact the 2024 cycle.

“It's very hard to prove fraud by government agencies, but I think in the court of public opinion, what we're seeing is an attempt to get down and dirty convictions of Donald Trump,” Dershowitz said, adding that those efforts – in which the prosecution seeks to rush to completion well ahead of November – will only sow deep and dangerous distrust among an already deeply divided populace.

Written By:
Sarah May

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