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US top court not to speed up Trump immunity clash – Times of India


The US Supreme Court refused to decide immediately whether former President Donald Trump is immune from prosecution for seeking to overturn his 2020 election loss, in a blow to prosecutors’ efforts to start trial on March 4.
The justices, without explanation or public dissent, indicated they will let a federal appeals court take the first look at Trump’s appeal of a ruling rejecting his claim of immunity.The rebuff of Special Counsel Jack Smith leaves key questions about the ex-president’s legal fate open as the primary for the 2024 election gets underway.
The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit is hearing the case on an expedited schedule, with Trump’s opening brief due Saturday and arguments set for Jan 9. The issue will almost certainly return to the Supreme Court after the appeals court rules.
Still, Friday’s action could mean weeks or even months of delay. The trial judge overseeing the case has put it on pause until the immunity issue is resolved. “It makes it more likely that the March 4 date will be pushed back, even if the DC Circuit rules very fast and affirms the district court’s denial of immunity,” said Mary McCord, a former federal prosecutor.
The March 4 date probably won’t stand, and the question now is how soon trial could take place, said Jim Zirin, a former federal prosecutor with the US attorney’s office in Manhattan. The Supreme Court order gives Trump ammunition to delay the trial and maybe prevent it from happening before the election, he said.
But the fact that none of the court’s three Democratic appointees issued a dissent suggests they aren’t overly concerned about the prospect of gamesmanship by Trump, said Stephen Vladeck, a constitutional law professor at the University of Texas.
The SC’s one-sentence order indicated Justice Clarence Thomas took part despite calls for his recusal because of his wife’s involvement with efforts to overturn Joe Biden’s election victory.


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