SCOTUS Paves the Way for Fascism

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

The Supreme Court of the United States decided to hear Trump’s appeal of DC District Judge Tanya Chutkan’s ruling in the J6 ‘Obstruction of an Official Proceeding’ case, stating that the former president is not immune from prosecution for crimes committed during official acts or ‘alleged official acts’ while he was in office. The ruling was already confirmed by the District Court of Appeals with a blistering opinion, so there was no need for SCOTUS to hear the case, and if it wanted to do so it could have done it in December, when Special Counsel Jack Smith asked SCOTUS to take up the case bypassing the District Court, because he feared significant delay if Trump would file an appeal at every step of the judicial process. Smith’s fear has now become reality, the Supreme Court has scheduled a hearing for April 22nd and may very well take until early July to publish a ruling. Since Judge Chutkan will give Trump’s legal team 80 days to prepare for a trial there is no chance of a verdict being issued before the election.

      The situation SCOTUS has created is frustrating for many reasons, most importantly because the American electorate will be denied the knowledge if one of the candidates for the presidency is a convicted felon who illegally tried to overturn the result of the last presidential election. Adding to the frustration is the fact that Trump’s claim of total presidential immunity is completely bogus and has already made one of his lawyers declare that the president could have political opponents assassinated by Seal Team 6 without legal consequences unless he was first impeached and convicted by Congress. Of course the Justices, of which at least four must have voted to take up the case, know that Trump’s claim is horseshit, which leads to plenty of speculation about their motives. Three of the Justices, Kavanaugh, Gorsuch and Amy Coney Barrett, have been appointed by Trump, two of them on seats stolen by Mitch McConnell, and the oldest and most reactionary Justices, Alito and Thomas, might want to retire but won’t do that unless Trump is president.

      The Supreme Court’s action doesn’t solve all of Trump’s problems, although it will make his potential road back to the White House easier. On March 24th his trial for committing campaign finance and election fraud related to the hush money payment to Stormy Daniels will start in Manhattan. Undoubtedly Trump will try to delay this case, arguing that the immunity question has not been resolved, but since the bulk of his crimes were committed before he was elected president he has little chance of success here and the trial could very well result in a prison sentence that Trump will appeal, but that will stand at least until the election. The stolen documents case in Florida is still scheduled for early May, in spite of Judge Cannon’s obstruction, and could proceed but only if SCOTUS issues a ruling within a week from the April hearing.

      In the short term Trump’s biggest problems are of a financial nature. In order to appeal rulings in the second E. Jean Carrol defamation case and the Trump Organization business fraud case he’ll have to put up respectively $83 million and over $450 million, or find an institution that will post a bond guaranteeing payment of those penalties if Trump’s appeals fail. So far Trump has not found a bond agent that will take him on and he doesn’t have the cash to post $533 million out of pocket, so he has asked for an extension of the one month he has to find the money, which has already been denied in the defamation case. Meanwhile New York State Attorney General Letitia James, who is expecting the larger amount of money in the business fraud case, is threatening to seize one or more of Trump’s prized properties if he doesn’t pay up.

      This week the stakes for the presidential election have gone up significantly. All the polling shows that Trump’s chances of beating Biden drastically go down if he runs as a convicted felon, and although he might be just that after the campaign finance and election fraud case has been completed, many Republican voters may not consider payment of hush money to a porn star a serious enough offense not to vote for Trump. It is up to Biden and the Democrats to show that the direction for the country the Supreme Court is implicitly recommending leads to the end of democracy and a fascist regime, where the constitution, freedom of speech and elections will be abolished, abortions will largely be prohibited, President Trump will report to Vladimir Putin and when he dies be succeeded by one of his crooked sons.