Attorney General Ashcroft and the Constitutional Coalition Filed the Brief to Warn Against the Weaponization of the Justice Department

Thor Hearne and True North Law represented former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft in filing an amicus curiae (or “friend of the court”) brief in the pending U.S. Supreme Court presidential immunity case, Trump v. United States.  The brief can be viewed here.

The ramifications of this case – deciding whether the President can be criminally prosecuted for official acts performed as President – will be as significant as Chief Justice John Marshall’s decision in Marbury v. Madison.  As this brief points out, “for the administration of the sitting President to criminally prosecute his predecessor and current political opponent presents constitutional concerns of the gravest magnitude. … The threat of after-the-fact criminal prosecution for official acts during a President’s tenure in office impairs the President’s ability to make those crucial and often controversial decisions the President is required to make as Chief Executive and Commander-in-Chief.”

The Supreme Court ruled in 1982 in Nixon v. Fitzgerald that the President enjoys immunity from civil suits for his official acts as President.  In Trump v. United States, the Supreme Court should similarly hold that the President cannot be subjected to criminal prosecution for his or her official acts as President, unless, as the Impeachment Clause of Article I of the Constitution provides, the President is first impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate.

John D. Ashcroft is the former Attorney General of the United States, serving in that position from 2001 to 2005.  He also formerly served as Missouri’s Attorney General, Missouri’s Governor, and as a U.S. Senator.  The Constitutional Coalition is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting an awareness of and appreciation for the United States Constitution and the principles upon which the United States was founded.


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