Does the Supreme Court's immunity ruling turn the president into a 'king above the law'?

The high court declared a president could not be charged for 'official' acts, complicating Trump's insurrection prosecution and raising concerns of unchecked executive power

Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to supporters during a Farmers for Trump campaign event at the MidAmerica Center
The court has "handed Donald Trump the keys to a dictatorship," said Joe Biden's Deputy Campaign Manager Quentin Fulks
(Image credit: Scott Olson / Getty Images)

Donald Trump has long argued that as president, he and other chief executives must be granted "complete and total" immunity for all acts committed in office. Anything less, and the "authority & decisiveness of a president of the United States will be stripped & gone forever," he claimed in a post on his Truth Social platform earlier this year. 

On Monday, the United States Supreme Court largely agreed with Trump, ruling 6-3 that presidents enjoy "presumptive immunity" for official acts while acknowledging that "not everything the President does is official." The landmark decision, opposed by the court's more liberal justices, largely closes the door on the possibility that Trump will go to trial for his election interference charges before polls close in November. Instead, it will send that case back to the lower courts, where federal prosecutors and attorneys for the former president will make their cases for which of Trump's actions related to his attempts to subvert the results of the 2020 election should be considered part of his official duties. 

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Rafi Schwartz, The Week US

Rafi Schwartz has worked as a politics writer at The Week since 2022, where he covers elections, Congress and the White House. He was previously a contributing writer with Mic focusing largely on politics, a senior writer with Splinter News, a staff writer for Fusion's news lab, and the managing editor of Heeb Magazine, a Jewish life and culture publication. Rafi's work has appeared in Rolling Stone, GOOD and The Forward, among others.