Trump wants the Supreme Court to stay the appeals court’s ruling — a move that would keep proceedings frozen in the lower court. Those proceedings were delayed for two months while Trump argued the immunity issue, and the trial date originally scheduled for March 4 has already been postponed.
If the justices quickly deny Trump’s request for a stay, the case would be sent back to the lower court, and the former president could go to trial on federal election-related charges as early as this spring.
If, on the other hand, the justices granted a stay, it would likely cause months of delay in any trial in this case, almost guaranteeing a conflict with the Republican National Convention in July or at the height of the presidential general election season in July. late summer or fall.
It requires the support of five judges to grant a stay.
Special counsel Jack Smith has already pleaded with the Supreme Court to deal with the case urgently, asking the justices in December to consider the immunity issue on an expedited basis even before the court appeal does not examine it. The judges denied it, at the time, without any public explanation or dissent.
Trump’s motion also comes just days after the justices heard arguments about efforts by Colorado voters and anti-Trump activists seeking to remove Trump from the ballot for his role in fueling the violence at the Capitol on June 6. January 2021. The judges seemed ready to reject this effort.
But the attempt to exclude Trump from the ballot is separate from Trump’s criminal cases, and the justices have not indicated how they might address the issue of immunity or other questions related to Trump’s criminal cases that are currently before them or could find themselves there during the next year. some months.
Trump’s new Supreme Court filing also seeks a measure that could lead to further delay. It asks that the justices grant a stay and hold off further action on the immunity issue until the D.C. Circuit decides whether to reconsider the immunity claim before all 11 judges of that court . Such “en banc” rehearsals are rare, but formal action on Trump’s request could take weeks, particularly if members of the appeals court wish to file one or more opinions disagreeing with their colleagues.
“Allowing President Trump to pursue en banc review in the Washington Circuit will provide an opportunity for thoughtful review in the lower court before this Court considers the novel, complex, and momentous issues at stake in this appeal,” Trump’s lawyers wrote.
The Trump campaign quickly announced the filing, saying the Supreme Court’s action is essential to ensuring that a president’s political opponents cannot “use the threat of future lawsuits as a weapon, making effectively blackmail and extort him to influence his most sensitive and important decisions.”