Sonia Sotomayor issues “terrified & terrifying” dissent as Supreme Court gives Donald Trump immunity

Justice Sonia Sotomayor
Justice Sonia Sotomayor Photo: Gage Skidmore/via Wikipedia

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a “terrified and terrifying” dissent as the Supreme Court ruled that Donald Trump, as a former president, has immunity from illegal acts he committed while in office.

In a 6-3 decision with all the conservative justices in the majority and all the liberals in the minority, the Court ruled in Trump v. United States that Trump could claim immunity from prosecution for some of his actions while in office. The case is about his alleged attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election results by inciting the January 6 Capitol Insurrection.

Writing for the majority, Justice John Roberts wrote that Trump could claim immunity for “official” acts while president, which was only part of the immunity Trump had asked for.

“The nature of Presidential power entitles a former President to absolute immunity from criminal prosecution” for official acts,” Roberts wrote.

Sotomayor pointed out, in her dissenting opinion, just how sweeping this partial victory for Trump is. She said that this now makes the president a “king above the law.”

“Let the President violate the law, let him exploit the trappings of his office for personal gain, let him use his official power for evil ends,” she wrote. “Because if he knew that he may one day face liability for breaking the law, he might not be as bold and fearless as we would like him to be. That is the majority’s message today.”

“Even if these nightmare scenarios never play out, and I pray they never do, the damage has been done. The relationship between the President and the people he serves has shifted irrevocably. In every use of official power, the President is now a king above the law.”

Sotomayor called out the majority’s use of the term “official acts” to attempt to limit the scope of their ruling.

“The Court effectively creates a law-free zone around the President, upsetting the status quo that has existed since the Founding,” she wrote. “This new official-acts immunity now ‘lies about like a loaded weapon’ for any President that wishes to place his own interests, his own political survival, or his own financial gain, above the interests of the nation.”

“The President of the United States is the most powerful person in the country, and possibly the world. When he uses his official powers in any way, under the majority’s reasoning, he will now be insulted from criminal prosecution.”

“Orders the Navy’s Seal Team 6 to assassinate a political rival? Immune. Organizes a military coup to hold onto power? Immune. Takes a bribe in exchange for a pardon? Immune. Immune, immune, immune.”

“Justice Sotomayor’s dissent is one of the most terrified and terrifying pieces of judicial writing I’ve ever encountered,” Mark Joseph Stern, legal journalist at Slate, wrote.

Others on X reacted negatively to the ruling, pointing out how the idea that the president isn’t above the law was integral to how the country functioned.

Don't forget to share:

Support vital LGBTQ+ journalism

Reader contributions help keep LGBTQ Nation free, so that queer people get the news they need, with stories that mainstream media often leaves out. Can you contribute today?

Cancel anytime · Proudly LGBTQ+ owned and operated

My Christian family wrecked my self-worth, but my found family is helping me heal

Previous article

Police conduct mass arrest of post-Pride partiers in Chicago

Next article