Dem 51
image description
GOP 49
image description

Trump Legal News: Here, There and Everywhere

Because it is good PR for him that gooses fundraising, and because he likes to interrupt and make a scene, Donald Trump has decided that he is going to be in court for all of the various hearings in his various ongoing cases. The problem with that plan, at least from his vantage point, is he's got so many ongoing legal matters that sometimes there will be hearings underway in more than one place. Such is the case tomorrow.

Some of the action today will be in New York, where Judge Juan Merchan will hold a final pre-trial hearing in Trump's hush-money case. At the hearing, a schedule will be set for the actual trial, which was (and may still be) set to commence on March 25. Trump has decided that this is the hearing he will attend today, probably because it's in New York and he can make some money charging the Secret Service for accommodations at Trump Tower.

That means that Trump will not be able to attend the hearing in Atlanta, where Judge Scott McAfee will consider whether or not DA Fani Willis' relationship with freelance prosecutor Nathan Wade is problematic enough to the point that she must be removed from the case. The former president would dearly love to be there, since he hates Willis with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns. However, he will have to console himself with the fact that McAfee is going to thoroughly grill Willis, having already suggested that her removal might just be warranted.

And finally, Trump won't be in Court when the Supremes consider his immunity claim, whenever that might be. However, Chief Justice John Roberts has already decided that Special Counsel Jack Smith must file a response to the former president's motion made on Monday. As a reminder, what Trump is asking for is a stay, so he can return to the D.C. Court of Appeals and ask for a full en banc hearing. Smith will surely oppose that, and is expected to take far less than the week he has been allotted to do so.

Once Smith does respond, there are several ways this might go. The justices could grant the stay, which would take five votes. They could reject the stay, in which case the matter would be back with Judge Tanya Chutkan, at least until Trump asked SCOTUS to rule on the actual merits, as opposed to just the request for a stay. It is also possible, according to people far more expert about the intricacies of federal jurisprudence than we are, that the Court could treat the request for a stay as, instead, a request for certiorari, and could immediately move to consideration of the merits of the underlying claim. That would take four votes rather than five. Since SCOTUS is going to have to deal with this hot potato eventually, and since the matter is time sensitive, "advance to cert, do not pass Go, do not collect $200" seems the likeliest outcome. (Z)

This item appeared on Read it Monday through Friday for political and election news, Saturday for answers to reader's questions, and Sunday for letters from readers.                     State polls                     All Senate candidates