All Three Branches of Government Need Legal Immunity

Nestled snugly under her own warm blanket of judicial immunity, Justice Sonia Sotomayor penned an hysterical list of predicted horribles which she warned would result from another branch of government enjoying any protection of legal immunity.

Justice Sotomayor was dissenting to the recent Supreme Court majority opinion in Trump v. United States which recognized that a president has immunity for “actions performed within the outer perimeter of his official responsibilities.” The case involved charges stemming from Trump’s actions on Jan. 6, 2021 and has been a significant component of the lawfare project intended to prevent Trump’s reelection. 

Yet, Justice Sotomayor enjoys the legal protections of judicial immunity. Meanwhile, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who enjoys legislative immunity, threatened to punish the Supreme Court for recognizing presidential immunity. And from his own immunity-protected perch, President Joe Biden piled on with more hysterics, warning of the dangers of a president possessing executive-branch immunity.

We don’t allow judges and justices to be sued or prosecuted when they err in sending somebody to jail. We don’t allow legislators to be intimidated with threats of defamation lawsuits when they make speeches urging legislation regulating big corporations. We don’t allow presidents to be charged with war crimes when an errant American bomb kills an innocent in a war zone. There’s a cost to enforcing these immunities. They result in judges, legislatures, and presidents escaping “justice” when they abuse their power. Yet for hundreds of years, even before the founding of the United States, the Western legal tradition recognized them as essential for protecting the independence and proper functioning of the elected and appointed leaders within government.

“When he uses his official powers in any way, under the majority’s reasoning, he now will be insulated from criminal prosecution. Orders the Navy’s Seal Team 6 to assassinate a political rival? Immune. Organizes a military coup to hold onto power? Immune.” So writes Justice Sotomayor.

While her description of potential abuses of immunity certainly make for scary-sounding if less-than-plausible hypotheticals, the abuses resulting from a lack of immunity are on full display in the news.

We’re all familiar with the left’s ongoing campaign of lawfare against Donald Trump and his associates which began in December 2016 just weeks after the election. In the fall of 2016, the FBI, the Justice Department, and their allies in the Democratic establishment had already launched a post-election offensive to hamstring or even remove the newly elected president before he could even begin performing his duties.

The FBI illegally obtained a warrant to spy on Trump campaign figure Carter Page’s emails, texts, and other private communications. In December of 2016, the left mounted an unsuccessful public campaign to steal the recently concluded presidential election by convincing electors to change their votes. Later, FBI Director James Comey attempted to blackmail the incoming President Trump. Then Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein sidelined Trump’s appointed attorney general to launch a bogus special counsel against Trump.

In 2022, President Biden reassured like-minded Trump haters that he would stop Trump from taking power by using “constitutional” means—code, of course, for lawfare. We all know what happened next: Prosecutors swarmed Trump with bogus criminal cases. Nobody hid the fact that the lawfare was all about stopping Trump from getting elected again.

Meanwhile, the left launched a parallel campaign against the Supreme Court. Jilted Supreme Court hopeful and Biden Attorney General Merrick Garland withheld legal protection from conservative justices targeted by illegal protests meant to intimidate them and prevent them from acting independently in controversial cases. The left attacked Justice Clarence Thomas, Justice Samual Alito, and Judge Aileen Cannon with bogus complaints and slanderous press.

Even Democratic members of our legislatures have found themselves the targets of leftist thuggery. Lawmakers AOC and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have found themselves targeted by intimidation campaigns when they have dared to venture opinions contrary to the prevailing regime narrative.

What good are elections if thugs and lawyers can control our leaders and judges? Presidential immunity, judicial immunity, and legislative immunity are essential to a system that allocates power through a democratic process. If you want to know the limits of immunity, you need only look at what the left does to illegitimately influence elected and appointed leaders. Immunity must be in place to insulate those leaders from anti-democratic forces that seek to subvert their honest judgment and thereby preserve the consent of the governed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.