Biden’s 5 lies about the Supreme Court’s ruling on Trump’s immunity

By Around the Web

(Video screenshot)

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by The Daily Signal.]

By Tony Kinnett
The Daily Signal

On Monday, President Biden delivered a surprise four-and-a-half minute address condemning the Supreme Court’s decision in Donald Trump v. The United States released that morning.

Special prosecutor Jack Smith has alleged that Trump conspired to overturn the 2020 presidential election by “spreading knowingly false claims of election fraud.” Trump’s legal team argued that the allegations made by Smith fell under “the outer perimeter” of Trump’s official duties as president, and he was therefore immune from prosecution (so the charges should be summarily dismissed).

The Supreme Court ruled that a former president is “presumptively” immune from prosecution for any “official” duties of the president of the United States, but he may be prosecuted for “unofficial” actions.

Biden began his address by stating that no one, not even the president, “is above the law,” but then falsely asserted that “with today’s Supreme Court decision on presidential immunity—that fundamentally changed.”

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1. ‘Virtually No Limits’

“For all…for all practical purposes, today’s decision almost certainly means that there are virtually no limits on what a president can do,” Biden claimed.

This accusation is objectively false.

In the opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote that the president of the United States may not be prosecuted for duties he carries out under his constitutional authority, but may be prosecuted for all other actions.

While Biden claims that this decision is a “new principle” that sets a “dangerous precedent,” there is little evidence in the decision showing a deviation from tradition in the Supreme Court’s interpretation of a president’s vulnerability to prosecution. In fact, Roberts cites a range of historical decisions from Chief Justice Marshall rebuking President Thomas Jefferson over submission to subpoenas to parsing the separation of powers in United States v. Nixon.

In short, Roberts outlined a detailed opinion, grounded in the Constitution and legal precedent, that defines presidential immunity and its limits to only official duties assigned to the executive branch by the Constitution.

Roberts argues that “the outer perimeter” of a president’s duties as claimed by the defense were unclear—not deeming them “official” or “unofficial,” and so kicked the decisions regarding these details to the lower courts.

2. ‘Self-Imposed Limits’

Biden further claimed that “the power of the office will no longer be constrained by the law, even including the Supreme Court of the United States. The only limits will be self-imposed by the president alone.” He later reiterated this claim, stating “the law would no longer” define “the limits of the presidency.”

This is objectively false. No passage in the 119-page document gives the president the authority to define “official” and “unofficial” actions to avoid prosecution and assign himself unlimited power.

Biden continued by characterizing Monday’s decision as what he considers to be a trend of “attacks” on a “wide range of long-established legal principles in our nation, from gutting voting rights and civil rights, to taking away a woman’s right to choose, to today’s decision, that undermines the rule of law in this nation.”

The Supreme Court has not “gutted” voting rights or civil rights of any kind. Every citizen of the United States retains equal voting rights at the age of 18, the most a U.S. citizen has ever enjoyed in U.S. history. There is no poll tax to vote, nor a sex or ethnicity requirement. Every citizen maintains sovereign franchise at the ballot box—with noncitizens even allowed to vote in some local elections.

Furthermore, granting presidents immunity from prosecution for their official acts clearly falls within the Supreme Court’s precedents and does not constitute a reversal from “long-established legal principles.” As Chief Justice Roberts wrote in his opinion, the U.S. “has never before needed an answer” to the question of when a former president may “be prosecuted for official acts taken during his presidency.”

The aberration is the prosecution, not the decision that some official acts are immune from it.

4. Sending ‘a Violent Mob’

Biden accused Trump of sending “a violent mob to the U.S. Capitol to stop the peaceful transfer of power.”

Two tweets on Jan. 6, 2021, counter this claim, showing Trump calling for protesters to remain “peaceful” and to “support our Capitol Police and Law Enforcement.”

Biden asserted that Americans deserved to see Trump “answer” in court for these actions “before Election Day.”

“The public has a right to know what happened on Jan. 6 before they’re asked to vote again this year,” Biden said. “Now, because of today’s decision, that is highly, highly unlikely.”

It is unclear whether a different decision would have prolonged or expedited a trial date for Trump, much less ensured a trial by Nov. 5.

Biden then called for Americans to “do what the courts should have been willing to do, but will not: the American people have to render their judgment about Donald Trump’s behavior.”

The Supreme Court did not dismiss the Trump v. The United States lawsuit, but clarified terms of immunity so a lower court could render its decision. No court has refused to render a legal decision regarding the legality of Trump’s behavior.

5. ‘I Will Respect the Limits’

“I know I will respect the limits of the presidential powers as I have for the last three-and-a-half years, but any president—including Donald Trump—will now be free to ignore the law,” he added. He closed by echoing Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s dissension, suggesting that the president is now a “king” and “above the law.”

Biden has not respected the limits of presidential power, however, and the Supreme Court has called him out on it, proving that the president is not a king.

When Biden sought to unilaterally “forgive” billions in student debt, the Supreme Court struck down his first attempt. He responded by issuing executive orders to dismiss even more debt.

Biden concluded the press conference by encouraging all Americans to “dissent” along with Sotomayor, and then walking away from the podium, refusing to take any press questions.

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