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Why the Supreme Court Should Clear the Way for a Pre-Election Trump Trial

March 11, 2024

At The New York Times, Prof. Kate Shaw argues that the Court should reject Trump’s immunity argument quickly to allow a criminal trial to proceed before the presidential election in the fall.

Kate Shaw, Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, argues that the Supreme Court should “fulfill its central role in our constitutional system” and “dispose of Mr. Trump’s [immunity] arguments quickly — critically allowing for fully informed democratic participation in the November presidential election.”

At The New York Times, Shaw writes, “When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last week that Colorado could not keep Donald Trump off its presidential primary ballot, it proved at least one thing: The court can decide a case both quickly and with a keen eye to the political calendar.”

Kate Shaw, Professor of Law Kate Shaw, Professor of LawA constitutional law scholar, Shaw joined Penn Carey Law in January 2024 from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where she was also Co-Director of the Floersheimer Center for Constitutional Democracy. 

Shaw’s scholarly work has appeared in the Harvard Law Review, Columbia Law Review, Georgetown Law Journal, Cornell Law Review, Michigan Law Review, and Texas Law Review, among other places. Her popular writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Time, The Washington Post, and Slate.

She is a co-host of the Supreme Court podcast “Strict Scrutiny,” a contributor with ABC News, a Contributing Opinion Writer with The New York Times, and a Public Member of the Administrative Conference of the United States.

From The New York Times:

Mr. Trump’s argument — that he is absolutely immune from criminal prosecution for actions taken as president — does not present a difficult question. The court should decisively reject it, as both the trial court and a unanimous appeals court did in this case and as everything in our constitutional tradition demands.

But to date, signs that the court intends to proceed with urgency on this question have been less than encouraging. The court waited two full weeks to act on Mr. Trump’s request that it take up his immunity argument — and then, rather than accepting the special counsel’s proposed timeline, which contemplated a March oral argument date, the court scheduled it for April 25.

The court still has the ability to rule in time to clear the way for a trial. A schedule like the one the court followed in the Colorado case would allow for a decision by mid-May. Assuming a ruling against Mr. Trump, trial court proceedings could resume immediately, with a trial by late summer or early fall.

Read the full piece at The New York Times.