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Lawfare Daily: Are Former Presidents Immune From Criminal Prosecution? We’re Still Not Sure

Anna Bower, Quinta Jurecic, Lee Kovarsky, Natalie K. Orpett, Roger Parloff, Benjamin Wittes
Tuesday, July 2, 2024, 5:15 AM
The Supreme Court handed down its ruling in Trump v. United States, concerning the former president’s potential immunity from prosecution over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

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It’s the decision we’ve all been waiting for: on the very last day of the Supreme Court’s 2023 term, the Court handed down its ruling in Trump v. United States, concerning the former president’s potential immunity from prosecution over his efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Rather than resolving the issue clearly, a 6-3 conservative majority found that presidents enjoy some immunity from criminal prosecution in some circumstances—a ruling that will likely create significant problems for the case against Trump.

Lawfare’s Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Wittes discussed what to make of the opinions and what comes next with Executive Editor Natalie Orpett, Senior Editors Roger Parloff and Quinta Jurecic, and Courts Correspondent Anna Bower, along with special guest Lee Kovarsky of the University of Texas at Austin School of Law.

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Anna Bower is Lawfare’s Legal Fellow and Courts Correspondent. Anna holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Cambridge and a Juris Doctorate from Harvard Law School. She joined Lawfare as a recipient of Harvard’s Sumner M. Redstone Fellowship in Public Service. Prior to law school, Anna worked as a judicial assistant for a Superior Court judge in the Northeastern Judicial Circuit of Georgia. She also previously worked as a Fulbright Fellow at Anadolu University in Eskişehir, Turkey. A native of Georgia, Anna is based in Atlanta and Washington, D.C.
Quinta Jurecic is a fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and a senior editor at Lawfare. She previously served as Lawfare's managing editor and as an editorial writer for the Washington Post.
Lee Kovarsky is the Bryant Smith Chair in Law at the University of Texas, where he also co-directs the school's Capital Punishment Center. He has litigated Texas death penalty cases for almost twenty years.
Natalie Orpett is the executive editor of Lawfare and deputy general counsel of the Lawfare Institute. She was previously an attorney at the law firm Jenner & Block, where she focused on investigations and government controversies, and also maintained an active pro bono practice. She served as civilian counsel to a defendant in the Guantanamo Military Commissions for more than eight years. She also served as counsel to the National Security and Foreign Policy Legal Team of the Biden-Harris Transition Team.
Roger Parloff is a journalist based in Washington, D.C. In recent years, he has regularly contributed to Yahoo Finance and Air Mail News, and has also been published in The New York Times, ProPublica, New York, and For 12 years, he was the main legal correspondent at Fortune Magazine. He is an attorney who no longer practices. He is a senior editor at Lawfare.
Benjamin Wittes is editor in chief of Lawfare and a Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. He is the author of several books.