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Alabama Republicans applaud SCOTUS ruling on presidential immunity

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama’s Congressional Republicans are applauding the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision this week that ruled presidents should be entitled to the presumption of criminal immunity for acts that fall within “the core of his official duties.”

The case stemmed from federal charges against former President Donald Trump regarding his criminal culpability for the Jan. 6, 2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol and the broader effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Among Trump’s strongest allies, U.S. Sen. Tommy Tuberville released a statement calling the ruling “a big win for the Constitution and the future of our country,” calling the decision a “massive loss for Democrats.”

“Presidents should be able to do their jobs without fear of political retribution,” Tuberville said. “The American people, not the courts, will choose the next president of the United States.”

Trump was indicted last August on four felony counts related to his alleged efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election, including conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, and obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding, all stemming from his participation in the rally that preceded the Jan. 6 riot.

The indictment is one of three criminal cases against Trump, who last June was indicted on felony charges related to retaining and improperly storing sensitive documents, and last March on felony charges stemming from hush money payments made during his 2016 campaign, the latter of which he was convicted of in May.

The court’s ruling Monday did not narrowly define what may constitute an “official” act compared to an “unofficial” act, but did, in its 6-3 decision split along ideological lines, rule that official actions may extend to all actions of a president, granted they are “not manifestly or palpably beyond” their authority.

At least in the case against Trump on charges related to his alleged efforts to overturn the 2020 election, the court’s ruling has delayed the trial, likely pushing any court proceedings beyond the Nov. 5 election.

Alabama Republicans largely characterized the charges against Trump as being politically motivated, as did U.S. Rep. Jerry Carl, R-Mobile, who in a statement celebrated the court’s decision.

“Today, the Supreme Court has simply upheld the Constitution by reaffirming that presidents have immunity for their official acts,” Carl said. “This is a true victory against the left’s weaponization of our justice system!”

Using similar language, U.S. Rep. Barry Moore, R-Enterprise, also claimed the ruling as a victory, and called the charges against Trump in a statement an example of “(Joe) Biden’s weaponized government.”

U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer, R-Birmingham, a staunch Trump ally, shared a similar position in a statement shared on social media.

“Today’s decision confirms what we knew all along, that Presidential speech does not equal criminal action,” Palmer wrote.

“The justice system must not be weaponized against political enemies, but this is what we have seen against President Trump. Hopefully today’s decision, which affirms the Constitution, starts the process of restoring equal justice under law.”

Other Alabama Republicans championed the ruling as well, including U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Saks, who called the decision a “huge win for our nation and President Trump” in a social media post.

On the contrary, Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Birmingham, a strong ally to Biden, called the ruling “anti-democratic,” and echoed Biden’s own response in warning that the decision would allow future presidents to act “above the law.”

“This disturbing and anti-democratic decision by the Supreme Court’s conservative majority is contrary to our nation’s founding principle that no one is above the law,” Sewell wrote in a statement.

“At a time when our democracy is already facing serious challenges, this ruling gives a green light to future presidents to abuse their power and sets an extremely dangerous precedent that should concern every American.”

Dissenting court justices also warned of the precedent the ruling could set. In her dissent, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor warned that in the court’s decision, “in every use of official power, the president is now a king above the law.”

“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 now will be insulated from criminal prosecution,” Sotomayor wrote. 

“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.”

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