Rule of Law

RELSEASE: Leading Constitutional Scholars Oppose Trump’s Bid for Absolute Immunity in Suits By Capitol Police Officers and Members of Congress Seeking Damages for Injuries from January 6th Attack on the Capitol

WASHINGTON, DC – Earlier today, the Constitutional Accountability Center (CAC) filed in a brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Blassingame v. Trump on behalf of leading constitutional law scholars with expertise in executive immunity and separations of powers principles. The brief explains why former President Trump’s bid for “absolute immunity” from damages in suits (consolidated on appeal) brought by Capitol Police Officers and Members of Congress seeking compensation for injuries they incurred during the January 6th insurrection should be rejected.

CAC President Elizabeth Wydra said:

Trump should not be able to evade accountability for his role in the January 6th insurrection. No one is above the law, and Trump’s arguments that he is entitled to absolute presidential immunity are inconsistent with established Supreme Court precedent, as well as the separation of powers concerns and public policy considerations underlying that precedent.

The Capitol Police Officers and Members of Congress bringing these suits allege that Trump conspired to violently prevent Congress from discharging its duty to certify the results of the 2020 presidential election. Trump’s arguments that his alleged conduct—inciting a riot at the Capitol to prevent the peaceful transfer of power—was part of his “official duties” as president, and are therefore protected by absolute immunity, are completely without merit.

As our brief explains in detail, the Supreme Court has held that presidents are entitled to immunity for their official conduct because, in the Court’s view, such immunity preserves the separation of powers and ensures the proper functioning of government. Trump, however, seeks to invoke the immunity doctrine as an absolute shield from damages liability for unofficial conduct that allegedly sought to serve his own private interests by forcibly interfering with the constitutionally mandated functions of Congress.

Given Trump’s flagrant attempt to violently disrupt the separation of powers, it would be particularly inappropriate to allow Trump to hide behind the shield of an immunity intended to preserve the separation of powers. The D.C. Circuit should affirm the district court decision rejecting Trump’s bid for absolute immunity.



CAC brief in Blassingame v. Trump:


Constitutional Accountability Center is a nonpartisan think tank and public interest law firm dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution’s text, history, and values. Visit CAC’s website at