US Supreme Court

'I dissent': Biden attacks Supreme Court immunity ruling as emboldening a lawless president

Author: Editors Desk, Ginger Gibson, Ginger Gibson is the senior Washington editor for NBC News Digital. Source: NBC News
July 1, 2024 at 23:14
Among other things, the Court's Netchoice decision means that social media companies may ban Donald Trump. Anna Barclay/Getty Image
Among other things, the Court's Netchoice decision means that social media companies may ban Donald Trump. Anna Barclay/Getty Image

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden called the Supreme Court decision Monday providing some immunity for Donald Trump in his criminal election interference case "a terrible disservice to the people of this nation."

"This nation was founded on the principle that there are no kings in America. Each, each of us is equal before the law. No one, no one is above the law, not even the president of the United States. [With] today’s Supreme Court decision on presidential immunity, that fundamentally changed for all practical purposes," Biden said.

Biden said the decision means there are now "virtually no limits on what the president can do," a sentiment that echoed the dissents written by the liberal justices on the court.

"I dissent," Biden said in concluding his brief remarks from the White House.

Given the nature of the decision, the immunity described in Trump's case is applicable to Biden and other future occupants of the Oval Office.

"The presidency is the most powerful office in the world. It’s an office that not only tests your judgment; perhaps even more importantly, it’s an office that can test your character. Because you not only face moments where you need the courage to exercise the full power of the presidency," Biden said. "You also face moments where you need the wisdom to respect the limits of the power of the office of the presidency."

Biden also said the decision will delay starting a trial in the case before the election, which he said will deny voters a settling of the charges against Trump.

"The American people deserve to have an answer in the courts before the upcoming election," Biden said. "The public has a right to know the answer about what happened on Jan. 6 before they are asked to vote again this year."

Biden framed the lack of a trial as a shift from the courts to the voting booth."The American people must decide whether Donald Trump’s assault on our democracy on Jan. 6th makes him unfit for public office in the highest office in the land. The American people must decide if Trump’s embrace of violence to preserve his power is acceptable," Biden said.

"Perhaps most importantly, the American people must decide if they want to entrust ... the presidency to Donald Trump now knowing he’ll be more emboldened to do whatever he pleases," Biden added.

After the remarks, Trump wrote on his social media site Truth Socialthat Biden wanted "to deflect from his horrible campaign performance."

In a 6-3 decision along ideological lines, the court rejected Trump's claim of broad immunity but said some of the actions closely related to his constitutional duties as president are off-limits to prosecutors. The court instructed a lower court to sort through which of his actions qualify for immunity and which don't.

Special counsel Jack Smith has charged Trump on counts related to the effort to overturn the 2020 election. He pleaded not guilty and has denied all wrongdoing.

Biden took no questions from members of the media assembled in the White House for his remarks, including one who shouted to ask whether he would withdraw from the presidential race.

After a disappointing debate performance, Biden has faced calls from within his own party to step aside and let the party pick another nominee who may be better positioned to challenge Trump. Biden has thus far resisted those calls.

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