Politics

Republicans react with triumph to Supreme Court immunity ruling, Democrats with dismay

In comments that reflected the ideological divisions of the Supreme Court justices in their ruling granting presidents immunity from official actions, Republicans on Monday expressed their triumph and Democrats’ dismay.

Ohio Senator J.D. Vance was the first of the leading candidates for former President Donald J. Trump’s running mate to voice his opinion, to call the decision “A huge victory, not only for Trump, but also for the rule of law.”

Other Republicans also praised the ruling as a rejection of what they characterized as Democrats’ use of the administration against Trump for political purposes.

Sen. Steve Daines of Montana, who heads the Senate campaign arm of Republicans, said the Supreme Court had ended a “sad chapter of Joe Biden’s weaponization of the Justice Department.” Stephen Miller, a top Trump adviser, called the decision “Another setback for the Democratic Party’s illegal and unconstitutional crusade to ban dissent, imprison the opposition leader, impose authoritarian rule, replace democracy with the deep state and freedom with a left-wing oligarchy.”

The Justice Department operates independently of the president, and there is no evidence that President Biden had any involvement in the prosecutorial decisions.

Trump wants to strip the department of its independence and has called for prosecuting his political opponents, purging federal agencies of officials who might oppose his policies and significantly expanding executive power.

Democrats expressed fear for the future of American democracy, as Justices Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson did in their dissent. “Just scary. May God have mercy on this nation,” said Democratic National Committee Chairman Jaime Harrison wrote next to the quote from Justice Sotomayor: “For fear for our democracy, I disagree.”

Mr Biden’s deputy campaign manager, Quentin Fulks, said on a call with reporters that the Supreme Court had “given Donald Trump the keys to a dictatorship.” Shortly before, the Biden campaign had issued a statement saying the ruling did not change the facts of Mr Trump’s actions leading up to and on January 6, 2021: “Donald Trump went on a rampage after losing the 2020 election, encouraging a mob to overturn the results of a free and fair election,” the report said.

“Our democracy has been seriously injured,” Eric H. Holder Jr., who served as attorney general under President Barack Obama, wrote in a post on social media, which said the Supreme Court had given presidents a free hand to commit crimes. “There is no basis in the Constitution for this monstrosity constructed by the Court.”

Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, called Monday “a sad day for America” and added“Treason or incitement of insurrection should not be considered one of the primary constitutional powers of a president.”

The district judge overseeing Mr. Trump’s lawsuit in Washington will have to determine whether his specific actions are protected under the ruling. That will take time and will likely delay any trial until after the election — at which point, if Mr. Trump wins, he could order the Justice Department to drop the case.

“I don’t see how this case can move forward before the election,” Alina Habba, a lawyer for Trump, said on Fox News.

Outside groups focused on democracy also condemned the ruling.

‘The Court has issued a manual for law-breaking presidents’ said Michael Waldman, the president of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University. “Make sure you only collude with other government employees. You will never be held accountable.”

Michael Gold, Simon J. Levien And Mattathias Schwartz reporting contributed.

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