Some Idle Speculation About What the Supreme Court Will Do About Trump’s Request to Put His Election Subversion Case on Hold on Immunity Grounds;It’s Potentially Good News for a Trial This Spring/Summer

As ELB readers know, Donald Trump’s federal district court trial in DC on election subversion charges, that was scheduled for March, has been put on hold as Trump has pursued an “interlocutory” appeal (that is, an appeal in the middle of trial court proceedings) arguing he’s just about absolutely immune from criminal liability for an official acts as President. (Never mind that subverting the election is not an official act; the DC Circuit, which ruled against Trump, assumed for the sake of argument that at least some of it was.) After the DC Circuit ruled against him, which would send the case back for trial, Trump sought an emergency stay in the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Court has a few options, including granting the stay and setting the case for (potentially expedited) Supreme Court consideration, which could essentially allow Trump to run out the clock. Is a court really going to make him be on trial in September, in the middle of the general election campaign? That’s why I expected that if the Court was going to grant a stay, it was going to put the case on an extremely expedited schedule (as it did for the still pending Trump disqualification case out of Colorado) and potentially get us a decision by early April, allowing a trial by summer if the Court decides (as it certainly should) that he’s not absolutely immune for crimes of attempting to steal the last election.

If that stay/expedition was going to happen, I expected an order pretty quickly. Trump filed his reply brief, ending the briefing on the stay request, one week ago, on Feb. 15. If the Court was going to grant a stay, it should have quickly said so—there would be no reason for the justices in dissent, if any, to write a dissent to that order. They could include their complaints in the ultimate set of opinions on the merits of Trump’s immunity question.

So what to make of a full week passing without such an order? Maybe the Justices are still bickering behind the scenes or one or more justices are dragging their feet. But each day that passes it gets more and more likely that the Court is going to deny the stay. And that order would mean a likely big, nasty dissent (I’m thinking Alito at least, and probably Thomas, who should be recused in the case—but that’s another story). That takes a bit of time.

At some point the Justices will run out of patience, and if the dissenters don’t get their act together, an order will be forthcoming, and the case can go back to the trial court for trial prep.

Or not. Just what I’ve been thinking as we wait and wait.

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