RELEASE: Judge Should Be Skeptical of Trump Attorneys’ Argument for Total Immunity for January 6 Acts
WASHINGTON – Following oral argument over motions to dismiss lawsuits brought by Capitol Police officers and Members of Congress for damages relating to injuries former President Trump allegedly caused by his actions on and leading up to January 6, 2021, Constitutional Accountability Center Vice President Praveen Fernandes issued the following statement:
While the events of January 6, 2021, might have been extraordinary, the constitutional accountability principle at issue in these cases is anything but. No one is above the law.
In today’s lengthy hearing, Judge Mehta asked insightful and pointed questions of all parties. The former president’s attorneys tried to make the case that Trump’s remarks and acts on and leading up to January 6 were part of Trump’s official duties as president. But as the amicus briefs we filed in these cases on behalf of legal scholars explained, Trump’s conduct in allegedly inciting a riot at the Capitol to forcibly disrupt a session of Congress fell far outside the outer perimeter of his official responsibility.
In short, today’s hearing should have only reinforced the points that we made in those briefs—absolute presidential immunity does not shield a former president, sued in his personal capacity, from damages liability for unofficial conduct.
We hope for a prompt ruling from Judge Mehta.
CAC case page for Blassingame v. Trump: https://www.theusconstitution.org/litigation/blassingame-v-trump/
CAC case page for Thompson v. Trump: https://www.theusconstitution.org/litigation/thompson-v-trump/
CAC case page for Swalwell v. Trump: https://www.theusconstitution.org/litigation/swalwell-v-trump/
Why Trump Cannot Hide Behind Presidential Immunity for Inciting an Insurrection, Lawfare, Dayna Zolle, August 2, 2021: https://www.lawfareblog.com/why-trump-cannot-hide-behind-presidential-immunity-inciting-insurrection
Constitutional Accountability Center is a think tank, public interest law firm, and action center dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution’s text and history. Visit CAC’s website at www.theusconstitution.org.