February 17, 2024

Donald Trump misses SCOTUS civil immunity appeal deadline

The deadline for former President Donald Trump to petition the Supreme Court for review of assertions that he is exempt from civil liability for the unrest on Jan. 6, 2021, was not met.

Trump has been the subject of three civil lawsuits, all of which have been consolidated in the case Blassingame v. Trump, as The Daily Caller reported.

These lawsuits were filed by U.S. Capitol Police officers alleging physical harm and emotional distress through tortious means and by members of Congress accusing him of interfering with their official duties.

Special counsel Jack Smith initiated the criminal proceedings against Trump.

Trump's assertion that he is exempt from civil litigation arising from his presidential actions was denied by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on Dec. 1, 2023.

However, it appears that Trump's team failed to petition the Supreme Court for a review of the case, not meeting a Thursday deadline to do so.

From the Suit

“When a first-term President opts to seek a second term, his campaign to win re-election is not an official presidential act,” wrote Chief Judge Padmanabhan Srikanth Srinivasan of the D.C. Circuit, an appointee of President Barack Obama, for a unanimous three-judge panel on Dec. 1.

“The Office of the Presidency as an institution is agnostic about who will occupy it next. And campaigning to gain that office is not an official act of the office,” the court added, concluding that unofficial acts by Trump while in office are not immune from civil suit.

Typically, petitions for certiorari, or request for review, must be submitted within ninety days following a lower court's decision, according to the rules of the Supreme Court.

Since the courts have not yet concluded discovery in the lawsuits to determine all pertinent findings of fact, Trump will not be barred from making the same claim again.

“When these cases move forward in the district court, he must be afforded the opportunity to develop his own facts on the immunity question … At the appropriate time, he can move for summary judgment on his claim of official-act immunity,” Srinivasan wrote for the D.C. Circuit.

More from the Complaint

Two United States Capitol Police officers, James Blassingame and Sidney Hemby, are the principal plaintiffs in this action. They were wounded on Jan. 6, 2021, while responding to the protests at the Capitol building.

“A forceful surge of insurrectionists pushed forward and slammed Officer Blassingame against a stone column. He struck his spine and the back of his head and was unable to move,” the complaint noted.

It adds that “[f]or the first time in his life, people were yelling into his face, calling him a ‘nigger’ repeatedly and throughout the attack in the Crypt. He lost count of the many times the racial slur was hurled at him.”

“Officer Hemby is under the care of an orthopedic medical specialist and receives physical therapy two to three days per week for his neck and back,” the complaint noted about the other plaintiff.

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