WASHINGTON, D.C., July 1, 2024 – Today the Supreme Court issued its ruling in Trump v. U.S., concluding that President Trump — and any other president or former president — cannot be held criminally accountable for actions taken in the course of official presidential leadership. By hearing this case at all and taking so long to issue its decision, the Court had already tipped the scales. Now, it contradicts the very foundation of the Constitution by concluding that presidents are above the law. 

In dissent, Justice Sotomayor writes that this decision “reshapes the institution of the Presidency” by making a “mockery” of the notion that “no man is above the law”. She notes that the conservative majority “invents an atextual, ahistorical, and unjustifiable immunity that puts the President above the law.” Justice Jackson goes on to note: “Presidents alone are now free to commit crimes when they are on the job, while all other Americans must follow the law in all aspects of their lives, whether personal or professional.” 

Alliance for Justice President Rakim Brooks issued the following statement: 

“Today, the Court’s conservative majority rules that Donald Trump is very likely immune for literally every act that took place between November 3, 2020, and January 6, 2021. The Court believes he was allowed to pressure his attorney general with termination, intimidate state officials to change the election’s outcome, and instigate a violent mob to attack the Capitol — all because he was president at the time. This decision is a disaster for the rule of law.  

“The founders made clear that presidents were not kings. The justices seemed rusty on their lessons from fifth grade social studies when they granted this case, but it turns out they meant to rewrite the principles of our democracy. Elected leaders must be held accountable for their actions, particularly if and when they abuse the power of their office for personal gain. Subverting democracy to cling to power is anathema to the Constitution and the values of this country — no matter who does it in what role. Our democracy depends on its ability to properly investigate and prosecute those who would seek to undermine it. The Supreme Court has just enabled American dictators. 

“Just as nearly every citizen can aspire to be president, every citizen should be held accountable for their actions. The Supreme Court had a simple task here: to ratify the nation’s common understanding that no one is above the law. They are instead placing their thumb on the scale, and not on the side of equal justice. Every president, regardless of party, should respect (and fear) the law. After today’s decision, they have no earthly reason to do so.”

Alliance for Justice (AFJ) believes that all Americans have the right to secure justice in the courts and to have their voices heard when government makes decisions that affect their lives. We are a national association of around 130 organizations, representing a broad array of groups committed to progressive values and the creation of an equitable, just, and free society.