Biden says SCOTUS decision sets 'dangerous precedent'

Trump called the ruling a "big win for our constitution and democracy."

Last Updated: July 1, 2024, 8:21 PM EDT

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected Donald Trump's sweeping claim of "absolute" immunity from criminal prosecution in his federal election subversion case, but said former presidents are entitled to some protections for "official" acts taken while in the White House.

The ruling affects whether Trump faces a federal trial this year on four felony counts brought by special counsel Jack Smith, including conspiracy to defraud the U.S. and obstruction of an official proceeding, for his attempts to overturn his 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden. Trump pleaded not guilty and has denied any wrongdoing.

The justices are sending the case back to the trial court to determine what acts alleged in Smith's indictment constitute official duties that could be protected from liability and which are not.

Jul 01, 2024, 8:21 PM EDT

'There are no kings in America': Biden reacts to SCOTUS ruling on immunity

President Joe Biden addressed the Supreme Court's historic decision on presidential immunity Monday, saying the ruling "fundamentally changed" the limits to America's highest office.

"This nation was founded on the principle that there are no kings in America," Biden said.

"Each of us is equal before the law," he continued. "No one is above the law, not even the president of the United States."

"Today's decision almost certainly means that there are virtually no limits on what a president can do," Biden said.

President Joe Biden speaks in the Cross Hall of the White House, July 1, 2024, in Washington.
Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Addressing the charges Trump faces for actions taken to overturn the results of the 2020 election, Biden said, "The public has a right to know the answer about what happened on Jan. 6 before they are asked to vote again this year."

Ahead of the November election, Biden said the American people have to decide if they want to "entrust" the presidency once again to Donald Trump, "now knowing he'll be even more emboldened to do whatever he pleases, whenever he wants to do it."

Jul 01, 2024, 7:55 PM EDT

Biden says SCOTUS decision sets 'dangerous precedent'

President Joe Biden addressed the Supreme Court’s ruling Monday, which said former President Donald Trump is entitled to some immunity from criminal prosecution for actions taken to overturn results of the 2020 election.

SCOTUS' 6-3 decision made it unlikely the former president would be tried before the November 2024 election.

"Today's decision almost certainly means that there are virtually no limits on what a president can do," Biden said.

"This is a fundamentally new principle, and it's a dangerous precedent because the power of the office will no longer be constrained by the law, even including Supreme Court of the United States," Biden continued, warning, "The only limits will be self-imposed posed by the president alone."

Biden delivered his remarks from the White House’s Cross Hall Monday.

Jul 01, 2024, 6:17 PM EDT

Biden set to deliver remarks on SCOTUS ruling

President Joe Biden will deliver remarks on the Supreme Court's immunity ruling this evening from the White House at 7:45 p.m. ET.

Biden is returning to the White House from Camp David, where his family, including first lady Jill Biden, son Hunter Biden and their grandchildren have been for a pre-scheduled gathering.

Jul 01, 2024, 4:05 PM EDT

Supreme Court's liberal justices warn of 'law-free zone'

While both the conservative and liberal Supreme Court justices agreed its ruling has far-reaching implications for the future of the presidency, Justice Sonia Sotomayor said the impact would be chilling.

"Looking beyond the fate of this particular prosecution, the long-term consequences of today's decision are stark," she wrote. "The Court effectively creates a law-free zone around the President, upsetting the status quo that has existed since the Founding," she said in her dissent.

Sotomayor was joined in her dissent by Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson.

United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson poses for an official portrait at the East Conference Room of the Supreme Court building on Oct. 7, 2022, in Washington.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Jackson described the majority's threshold for deciding immunity on a case-by-case basis as complicated and convoluted. The model they laid out, she said, could leave presidents feeling more emboldened to act unlawfully.

"Having now cast the shadow of doubt over when -- if ever -- a former President will be subject to criminal liability for any criminal conduct he engages in while on duty, the majority incentivizes all future Presidents to cross the line of criminality while in office, knowing that unless they act 'manifestly or palpably beyond [their] authority, they will be presumed above prosecution and punishment alike," she wrote.

U.S. Supreme Court justices pose for their group portrait at the Supreme Court in Washington, Oct. 7, 2022.
Evelyn Hockstein/Reuters

Chief Justice John Roberts pushed back against the liberal dissents, saying they "strike a tone of chilling doom that is wholly disproportionate to what the Court actually does today."

"Like everyone else, the President is subject to prosecution in his unofficial capacity. But unlike anyone else, the President is a branch of government, and the Constitution vests in him sweeping powers and duties. Accounting for that reality -- and ensuring that the President may exercise those powers forcefully, as the Framers anticipated he would—does not place him above the law; it preserves the basic structure of the Constitution from which that law derives."

-ABC News' Alexandra Hutzler

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