Supreme Court Says Presidents Have Immunity for Official Acts, But Not Unofficial Ones

By Allan Lengel

In a ruling sure to delay his trial and trigger widespread legal handwringing and consternation, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that former presidents are immune from prosecution for official actions taken while in the White House, but not for unofficial acts, the Washington Post reports.

Former President Trump at a previous court hearing. Photo: Shutterstock

The 6-3 ruling along ideological lines will require the U.S. District Court to sort out what charges can stand before proceeding to trial. (Read the ruling)

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said a president “may not be prosecuted for exercising his core constitutional powers, and he is entitled, at a minimum, to a presumptive immunity from prosecution for all his official acts.”

He also noted that the president “enjoys no immunity for his unofficial acts, and not everything the President does is official. The President is not above the law.”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, writing the dissenting opinion, stated the majority “reshapes the institution of the presidency” and “makes a mockery of the principle” that “no man is above the law.

“With fear for our democracy, I dissent.”

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