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ROUNDUP: MAGA Republicans Will Ignore States’ Rights and the Constitution To Do Convicted Felon Donald Trump’s Bidding

Jun 10, 2024

MAGA House Republican members are whipping a bill that allows presidents and former presidents to bring state cases against them to federal court – a move to benefit their leader, convicted felon Donald Trump. This is only the latest MAGA Republican legislative proposal to attack the independence of the justice system. They have long used their official positions to do the bidding of a convicted felon, threatening to defund law enforcement and attack the rule of law to shield him from his crimes and interfere in criminal trials. Legal scholars and commentators agree – this proposed bill is not only another political stunt, but an unconstitutional one to boot.

Duncan Levin, Former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York: 

  • So much for state’s rights. By their thinking, the president or the former president is above the law in all 50 sovereign states in the United States of America. 
  • It’s unconstitutional.

Steve Vladeck, Law Professor at the University of Texas School of Law:

  • I literally used this as a hypothetical on my Federal Courts exam last year—to test all of the ways in which such a bill would be unconstitutional.

Steve Benen, MSNBC: 

  • For those who still believe that the Republican Party is committed to states’ rights, I have some very bad news.
  • [The bill] would (a) create an opportunity for the issues to be assigned to Trump-appointed loyalists in the federal judiciary; and (b) open the door to Trump pardoning himself in a prospective second term.
  • Would the bill be constitutional? Probably not. Could it pass sometime this year? That seems extraordinarily unlikely, given the Democratic majority in the Senate. But House Republicans appear likely to pursue the plan anyway — a floor vote in the coming months is a safe bet — and if the party is able to seize control of the federal levers of power in the 2024 elections, no one will be surprised if this legislation receives attention in early 2025.

Greg Sargent, The New Republic: 

  • “They would use the power of the purse to immunize current or former presidents from criminal prosecution, no matter what law they broke and no matter how grave their crimes,” legal scholar Matthew Seligman told me. “It’s fundamentally antithetical to the rule of law.”