Donald Trump is represented before the Supreme Court by Jonathan Mitchell, who gave a very restrained speech on Thursday. This is a big difference from other lawyers who usually represent the former president who often imitate their clients' stylized style.
Mitchell — a conservative lawyer from Texas — appeared almost calm as he methodically answered the justices' questions. But by the end of his two-hour speech, almost everyone seemed to be on his side. This is one of the most politically charged issues in years. It comes down to a fundamental issue: Can the United States remove presidential candidates from the ballot, based on the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which prohibits “rebels” from holding public office?
“Why do you give up that argument?”
“I admit we're going to have a little bit of a difficult time in this case,” Mitchell said during a very frank exchange with Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. This conversation was about one of the amendment's provisions – specifically whether it includes the office of the US president [w tekście jest mowa wyłącznie o “członkach Kongresu” i “funkcjonariuszach Stanów Zjednoczonych”; to oni nie mogą wzniecać powstań ani pomagać powstańcom, jeśli chcą w przyszłości pełnić urzędy publiczne – red.].
After a moment, Mitchell acknowledged that one of the arguments made by Trump's opponents was “very accurate.” Mitchell's comments were so restrained in places that Jackson suggested the former president's defense attorney was downplaying some of the arguments in his client's favor. One of them pointed out that the drafters of the amendment did not accidentally remove the presidency from the list of positions from which rebels should be excluded.
“Given the text of the amendment itself, as well as its historical context, which suggests that the framers of the amendment were not interested in the office of president… I don't understand why you would abandon that argument,” Jackson told Mitchell. . [historyczny kontekst jest taki, że wcześniejsza wersja poprawki wymieniała urząd prezydencki z nazwy. Pominięcie go w ostatecznej wersji tekstu oznacza, że było to intencjonalne działanie. To bez wątpienia argument na korzyść Trumpa — red.].
So a “scene” was created that no one expected – Joe Biden's sole Supreme Court nominee urges Trump's lawyers to be more confident. This was all the more surprising because Mitchell had a reputation as a lawyer who could forcefully present his case in the courtroom.
'It was a shame – but it won't go up'
Mitchell's last appearance before the Supreme Court concerned Texas' abortion ban, which he had been working on himself. Justice Elena Kagan then mockingly described the lawyer and his colleagues as “geniuses” who found a way to circumvent the Constitution.
Mitchell's soft approach to Trump It may have sealed what most experts had already predicted: an almost certain victory for the former president. Even if the lawyer distances himself in the courtroom from his client, especially when talking about the events of January 6, 2021. [tego dnia Trump miał w Waszyngtonie wiec poparcia, gdzie mówił o tym, że wybory prezydenckie zostały sfałszowane. Z jego ust padła również słynna fraza: “jeśli nie będziecie walczyć jak cholera, to stracicie swój kraj” — red.].
Since then, Trump has consistently downplayed the Capitol riot by blaming others (e.g., the police). He also donated to the Legal Defense Fund for Alleged Participants and announced that he would pardon several convicts if he returned to the White House.
While standing before Supreme Court justices on Thursday, Mitchell took a very different tack. He questioned the right to call the storming of the Capitol an “insurrection” but appeared to acknowledge its seriousness. – It was a riot. The Texas man said the events of that day were shameful, criminal and brutal, but did not qualify as an uprising.
“They will come out ahead.”
Mitchell's speech on Thursday was all the more surprising because Trump's associates have so far indicated they are preparing for a Supreme Court fight like a boxing match. Indeed, the document issued on this occasion included a warning of the “chaos” that might erupt if the Colorado court’s decision to remove Trump from the ballot remained in effect.
The Trump team's additional brief to the Supreme Court on Monday began by saying that Trump “won the Iowa primary by the largest margin ever by a non-president, and the New Hampshire primary by the largest margin ever by a non-president.” Incumbent.” All the candidates from each party. It seemed like a suggestion that electoral success had an impact on the legal issues of the upcoming case.
Unlike Trump's previous court proceedings, this time the team of lawyers tried to keep controversy at the hearing to a minimum.
“Now please sit down!”
Mitchell's gentle demeanor was in stark contrast to the style of other lawyers Trump has relied on in his previous cases, including the recent case in New York. Trump was then fighting a lawsuit from Attorney General Tisha James [chodzi o sprawę, w której były prezydent jest oskarżony o celowe zawyżanie wartości swoich aktywów, co wprowadzało w błąd inwestorów i kredytodawców. Trumpowi grozi za to wysoka grzywna i utrata pozwolenia na prowadzenie działalności gospodarczej w Nowym Jorku – red.].
During the trial to determine damages, Alina Haba, Trump's defense lawyer, made a big noise and acted like a lawyer from a TV series – especially when her client was present in the courtroom. Instead of standing on the stand and asking questions to witnesses, she paced back and forth around the room with a microphone clipped to her suit.
In another trial, Haba was repeatedly severely reprimanded by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan. This was the case during the libel case brought by writer E. Jean Carroll v. Ex-President. When Haba used a slide containing material she had never previously recorded as evidence in her closing argument, Kaplan threatened to detain her. “You're about to spend some time in custody,” he said. “Now, please sit down,” he added.
Carroll's case did not go in Trump's favor. Last month, a jury found that he must pay the woman $83.3 million. (about PLN 334 million) Compensation. The verdict in the New York commercial fraud trial is expected to be announced in the coming days.
“They want to take away your right to vote for me!”
The harbinger of the change in the strategy of Trump's lawyers before the Supreme Court was the decision not to show the former president at the hearing. The lawyers believe that his presence will not have a positive impact on the developments of the case.
But there may be something else at play, as Trump's lawyers will likely return to the Supreme Court soon. He has until Monday to submit an extraordinary application to the court asking for the suspension of criminal proceedings pending against him – this time on charges of trying to influence the outcome of the 2020 presidential election through fraud.
Donald Trump, February 8, 2024
On Tuesday, judges on the Federal Court of Appeals in Washington unanimously rejected Trump's claim for presidential immunity. The former president now wants to appeal the ruling [wcale nie jest powiedziane, że Sąd Najwyższy zajmie się sprawą — red.].
It is worth noting that Trump's lawyers managed to maintain only a calm atmosphere in the courtroom. Outside the courtroom, Trump supplemented their arguments with email appeals denouncing the case in court (and asking for money to be raised to cover legal costs) — replete with all-caps, of course. “They want to delete me,” Trump wrote in a letter he sent immediately after the arguments ended. “They want to deprive you of your right to vote for me!”
Can you say to someone like that: Hey, we're not going to let you escape?
Shortly after the end of the Supreme Court hearing, Trump held a press conference at his home in Mar-a-Lago. previous president He remained true to his strategy there, launching fierce attacks on his political enemies. He blamed former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for the Capitol riot, and accused Congresswoman Maxine Waters of making “malicious” and “brutal” statements.
Trump called Mitchell's arguments in the Supreme Court “very strong.” But he didn't hesitate to suggest that the justices focus on something his lawyers have barely mentioned: his strong poll numbers.
“It's a very important argument. I'm leading in every race. I'm leading in every state. I'm leading in the country against both Republicans and Democrats and Biden, and a major progressive. Can that be said to someone like that? Hey, we're not going to let you,” the former president said. By running? It's very difficult to do, but I leave it to the Supreme Court.
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