Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in support of Republicans Doug Mastriano for governor of Pennsylvania and Mehmet Oz for U.S. Senate at Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre on September 3, 2022.

(Photo: Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images)

The Return Of The King

The nation’s Founders would be astonished and furious at what the Supreme Court majority did this week.

This week, Chief Justice John Roberts and his band of five other Republican-appointed Supreme Court Justices restored the king to the top of our government.

Our nation’s Founders fought a revolution to help ensure our nation would be forever free from the clutches of an unrestrained monarch.

The Founders would be astonished and furious at what the Supreme Court majority did his week.

Three foundational principles of our country – principles established by our nation’s Founders nearly 250 years ago – are that we shall have no king, that the rule of law governs our country, and that NO person is above the law.

The Supreme Court’s opinion issued Monday in United States v. Trump has shattered these principles.

Six Republican-appointed Justices signed on to the opinion, written by Chief Justice Roberts, that disingenuously stated, “The President is not above the law.”

However, the opinion starkly contradicts that claim. The opinion, in reality, elevates the President to the equivalent of a king – a President free of legal accountability.

Perhaps, the Court majority should have labeled its opinion, “The President Is Now Above The Law.”

The opinion has given a President the ability to commit crimes while in office and then broad immunity from prosecution after leaving office. If Donald Trump is elected in November, he will, with the blessings of the Court majority, be free to be a dictator “on day one,” just as he promised.

The Declaration of Independence warned of the dangers of a king:

“The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.”

Our Founders further warned us about kings.

Thomas Paine wrote: “[I]n America the law is king. For as in absolute governments the King is law, so in free countries the law ought to be King; and there ought to be no other.”

And, Alexander Hamilton wrote: “The person of the king of Great Britain is sacred and inviolable; there is no constitutional tribunal to which he is amenable; no punishment to which he can be subjected without involving the crisis of a national revolution.”

The Roberts-led Justices have ignored the warnings of our nation’s Founders.

The majority invented a series of immunities – absolute immunity for a President’s core constitutional acts (whatever that means), and “a presumptive immunity from criminal prosecution for a President’s acts within the outer perimeter of his official responsibility,” (whatever that means). The opinion makes the presumption hard to overcome.

The potential for criminal prosecution after a President leaves office is a powerful deterrent to stop a President from committing crimes while in office. The Supreme Court majority has done great damage to this essential deterrent.

Just where do “originalist” Justices find the basis for immunity in the Constitution at its adoption?

Just where do the “textualist” Justices find immunities in the text of the Constitution?

Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, once wrote, “The most sacred of the duties of a government [is] to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens.”

Jefferson was clear when he wrote, “all its citizens.” All must include a former President like Donald Trump, despite what the six Justices said this week.

The absolute immunity conferred on a President by this week’s Supreme Court opinion for any discussion they have with Justice Department officials reads like it was written by the Court majority to protect former President Trump from prosecution for his alleged criminal acts in the discussions he had with his Justice Department. These discussions included pressuring officials to investigate false claims of voting fraud in the 2020 election.

How could the Supreme Court possibly give absolute immunity to a President – allowing a President to do anything they want, including criminal acts, to manipulate, misuse, and abuse the nation’s law enforcement agencies with no legal accountability?

It is a senseless, extremely dangerous position reached by the six Justices.

Former President Trump, who may be our next President, already has a track record that demonstrates the abuses he is prepared to inflict on the country. This includes his alleged criminal attempt at the first presidential coup in American history and his role in inciting the violent Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

Just recently, Trump called for a military tribunal for former Rep. Liz Cheney, no doubt because of her key role as vice chair of the House’s January 6 Committee investigation.

If elected, it seems like Trump will be free and clear of any potential criminal accountability for abusing his office to do this, under the immunity provided by the Roberts opinion.

On July 4, 1776, our Founders declared our nation free from a king. Today, 248 years later, the Supreme Court has invited the king back.

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