Legal Analyst Christy Kelly Breaks Down SCOTUS Ruling on Presidential Immunity and How It May Affect Lawfare Against Former President Trump


Christy Kelly, reporter at The Arizona Sun Times, said the U.S. Supreme Court’s 6-3 ruling on Monday in Trump v. United States that former President Donald Trump is immune from federal prosecution for official acts he took while in office is certain to affect current and past litigation surrounding the former president.

However, the nation’s highest court also ruled that there is no immunity for unofficial acts.

Kelly noted that while Trump would have preferred the Supreme Court to rule in favor of “absolute immunity,” the Court’s ruling on Monday was “the next best thing” for the former president.

“I definitely know that Trump would have wished they would have come down and just said, complete blanket, absolute immunity, but I think this was the next best thing and he has telegraphed that it is a huge win for him. The first thing it does is – the court shocked everyone because we did not think that they were going to get into the merits of the case, but they did – they actually remanded it back to the lower court to determine what is an official act,” Kelly said on Monday’s edition of The Michael Patrick Leahy Show.

“Now, they could have just stopped there, and a lot of times the court usually does stop there, but in this case, I love that they went into the details. You’re already seeing how the mainstream media pundits are breaking down because they’re like, this potentially opens up the Stormy Daniels hush money case where it looks like Trump may be able to go back in because [the Court] also said if any of those official acts are used as evidence, they cannot be included. So it looks like it’s going to affect not just Jack Smith’s case, but going back to the hush money case, and definitely the Georgia case is going to be impacted as well,” Kelly added.

When it comes to the Stormy Daniels hush money case in New York that saw Trump being found guilty on all 34 counts in the falsification of business records, Kelly noted that the trial had included testimony from officials during the time of Trump’s presidency, which has now been classified as official acts according to the Supreme Court and could end up reopening the case.

“They used [Hope Hicks’] testimony in this case as well as other evidence, other official testimony while [Trump] was actually president. And [Hicks] was an official employee within his department. So that’s akin to the Justice Department. Those acts or conversations with Pence, those the court definitively said are official acts. So I think it’s going to come back to using Hope’s testimony, taking that out of the case, and reopening that case,” Kelly said.

Kelly also pointed out that special counsel Jack Smith’s case against Trump is also in jeopardy. In its ruling, the Supreme Court said that the courts cannot consider motives when deciding what classifies official and unofficial acts.

“A key nugget [the Supreme Court] said is that the courts cannot look into motives when they are deciding what’s an official act and an unofficial act. I really think that is going to be key when the lower court has to evaluate these decisions. The Supreme Court really has tied their hands because if they can’t look into the motive, if they said that they’re allowed to speak passionately – they said that there’s a heavy presumption that these things are going to be official acts and going to be protected – I definitely think that he was within the bounds of his official acts, and it’s going to be hard to argue elsewise,” Kelly said

“But we do know that Jack Smith is not immune to being overturned, and I do not think he’s going to go away. I think he’s going to double down. I think we’re going to see him maybe amend his case, but it’s not going to happen before election day,” Kelly added.

Kelly also addressed critics of Monday’s ruling who falsely push the idea that a president could become a “king” under the ruling, saying such arguments are baseless.

“One of the dissents also said the president is now a ‘king.’ I definitely think that they went overboard because…If there are things that he does while in office, for instance, he can still be impeached. That has not been taken away…But yeah, all of the liberals, all of the mainstream media is breaking down over, ‘Oh, the president is now a king.’ We of course know that there are mechanisms within our system, such as impeachment, if the president does something that is way out of bounds. He can still be impeached. That is still intact,” Kelly explained.

“I do think the court does go a bit further than we’ve had before, but they needed to, right? Because otherwise, anytime a president makes a decision, he would be looking over his shoulder as to whether I’m going to be prosecuted for this down the road based on these Trump’s prosecutions,” Kelly added.

Watch the full interview:

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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Follow Kaitlin on X / Twitter.





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