Supreme Court Sets April Date To Consider Whether Donald Trump Has Immunity From Prosecution

UPDATED: The Supreme Court will hear arguments in April on whether Donald Trump has immunity from prosecution on criminal charges that he conspired to remain in office after the 2020 election.

Oral arguments are set for the week of April 22, a calendar date that raises doubts that a trial on the January 6th related charges will happen before the election.

More from Deadline

But the high court has in the meantime stayed an appellate court mandate that overwhelmingly concluded that Trump did not have immunity.

The stay will further delay any start of the trial in the D.C. criminal case, where the former president faces four conspiracy counts related to his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election that ultimately led to the attack on the Capitol on January 6th. The district court has put a trial on hold as Trump’s legal team pursues its claims of immunity, and the Supreme Court’s scheduling raises the possibility that the trial and verdict won’t occur before the November election.

Read the Supreme Court’s order.

UCLA Professor Rick Hasen wrote on his Election Law blog that “if the Court does not issue an opinion until late June, are we really going to see the trial court put Trump on trial during the general election season (or even during the RNC convention)? I find this very hard to believe….This could well be game over.”

A three-judge panel of the D.C. Circuit rejected Trump’s claims of immunity in a decision earlier this month.

The appellate judges wrote, “Former President Trump’s alleged efforts to remain in power despite losing the 2020 election were, if proven, an unprecedented assault on the structure of our government. He allegedly injected himself into a process in which the President has no role — the counting and certifying of the Electoral College votes — thereby undermining constitutionally established procedures and the will of Congress. To immunize former President Trump’s actions would ‘further … aggrandize the presidential office, already so potent and so relatively immune from judicial review, at the expense of Congress.’”

The Supreme Court already is considering whether Trump can be prohibited from a state’s ballot given the 14th Amendment. That includes a clause restricting those who have engaged in an insurrection from holding public office.

Liz Cheney, the former Republican congresswoman who served as vice chair of the January 6th Committee, wrote on X/Twitter, “Delaying the January 6 trial suppresses critical evidence that Americans deserve to hear. Donald Trump attempted to overturn an election and seize power. Our justice system must be able to bring him to trial before the next election. SCOTUS should decide this case promptly.”

Trump’s campaign released a statement. “Without Presidential Immunity, a President will not be able to properly function, or make decisions, in the best interest of the United States of America. Presidents will always be concerned, and even paralyzed, by the prospect of wrongful prosecution and retaliation after they leave office. This could actually lead to the extortion and blackmail of a President. The other side would say, ‘If you don’t do something, just the way we want it, we are going to go after you when you leave office, or perhaps even sooner.'”

More to come.

Best of Deadline

Sign up for Deadline's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.