Supreme Court Rules 6-3 in Donald Trump’s Favor in Presidential Immunity Case that Will Have Massive Ripple Effects

Spencer Platt/Pool Photo via AP

The Supreme Court finally issued its highly anticipated ruling on the issue of presidential immunity on Monday, and the 6 to 3 decision is being called a “massive” win for Donald Trump and the executive branch in general.

In the majority opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts, the court determined presidents have immunity for “official acts” and ordered the lower courts to review Special Counsel Jack Smith’s January 6 case against Trump that already suffered a major blow in last week’s ‘obstruction’ ruling. The decision will also have implications for Trump’s election interference case in Georgia and classified documents case in Florida.

On Monday’s show, Megyn was joined by Charlie Kirk, author of Right Wing Revolution, to discuss the Supreme Court’s ruling and what it means for the ‘lawfare’ against Trump.

The Majority Opinion

After months of speculation, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday in Trump v. United States that former presidents have significant immunity from prosecution for ‘official acts’ committed while in office but not for ‘unofficial acts.’

Roberts was joined by Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett in the majority, while Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Ketanji Brown Jackson were in the minority. 

In his majority, Roberts explained that the nature of presidential power under the constitutional structure of separated powers “entitles a former president to absolute immunity from criminal prosecution for actions within his conclusive and preclusive constitutional authority.” Additionally, “he is entitled to at least presumptive immunity from prosecution for all his official acts” and “there is no immunity for unofficial acts.”

“Official acts” mentioned in the opinion include appointing an ambassador or dealing with a foreign government. Presidents would rely on “absolute immunity” in those cases. When it comes to other official duties that may or may not be clear, presidents “get a presumption of immunity that can be pierced there,” Megyn noted.

As it related to the January 6 case against Trump, the court remanded the case back to the District Court to determine whether the alleged actions the GOP hopeful was indicted for were official. 

Megyn called the decision a “great ruling for Trump” and said it “the best” he could have hoped for. “Even his lawyer was not arguing that he gets absolute immunity for all unofficial acts,” she explained. “But it’s an enormous victory for Donald Trump and, frankly, for the presidency and the ability of presidents to make decisions without worrying about getting indicted writ large.”

The Minority Opinion

The dissenting opinion was penned by Sotomayor, and Megyn and Kirk worried her choice of words will further ratchet up political tensions in the United States. She wrote, in part: 

“Today’s decision to grant former presidents criminal immunity reshapes the institution of the Presidency. It makes a mockery of the principle, foundational to our Constitution and system of Government, that no man is above the law. Relying on little more than its own misguided wisdom about the need for ‘bold and unhesitating action’ by the President… the Court gives former President Trump all the immunity he asked for and more. Because our Constitution does not shield a former President from answering for criminal and treasonous acts, I dissent. “

Megyn was stunned by the accusations of treason. “Treason is punishable by death – that’s how Sotomayor sees Donald Trump and the January 6 behavior,” she said. “Trump is not allowed to say the jury are Democrats in the New York state trial against him, but the Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor can call him a traitor in a written opinion no problem. That is fine.”

Left-wing outlets like Salon were quick to use the “treasonous acts” language in headlines discussing the opinion, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer did as well. “Treason or incitement of an insurrection should not be considered a core constitutional power afforded to a president,” he posted, in part, on X.

The problem? Trump was not charged with either of those things. “How dare he,” Megyn said. “Neither one of those was charged by the most rabid partisan prosecutor Merrick Garland could find to bring this case [Jack Smith] – not incitement of an insurrection, not treason. One of those has a death penalty charge. That is disgusting.”

Crumbling Lawfare

While Kirk believes the rhetoric in the dissent puts Trump’s life in even greater danger, he said – at least politically speaking – that this is a “massive” win for the presumptive GOP nominee.

While Democrats, in his view, “bet the entire farm on lawfare, specifically on this presidential immunity case,” Kirk said the cases are now in jeopardy. “How much this is actually going to whittle down the indictments against Trump remains to be seen,” he said. “But understand this has not been a good week for Democrats.”

At this point the election cycle, Kirk believes that dems thought “they were going to be dealing with a damaged Donald Trump that barely got through a bitter primary with [Ron] DeSantis”… “that Joe Biden was going to be leading in the polls with tons of money”… [and] “that Donald Trump was going to be having two or three concurrent trials of state and federal,” he explained.

Instead, he added, the tables were turned. “They just had a debate that was one of the worst in American history, they have an internal civil war brewing in the Democrat Party, [and] Donald Trump got two great Supreme Court decisions,” Kirk concluded. “You are about to see some really desperate stuff from the American Democrat Party because… they bet on the indictments and they are falling very, very short.”

You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Kirk by tuning in to episode 827 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.