Opinion | Process | Jul 8, 2024 The Supreme Court as Enabler in Chief Eric W. Orts

The Supreme Court’s recent decision on presidential immunity threatens the survival of the American Republic.

Font Size:

If the American Republic falls in the next few years—after its founding almost a quarter of a millennium ago—then the most immediate cause will be former President Donald J. Trump returning to power by winning what the polls predict will be a close election in November. But the Supreme Court will have aided and abetted the collapse.

Even at the very start of his political career, Donald Trump showed the signs of a wannabe tyrant. His lengthening rap sheet of lawless conduct, including felony convictions for falsifying business records to hide campaign finance violations, as well as liability for sexual assault and massive financial fraud, have only reinforced this impression.

If restored to power, former President Trump will no doubt make good on his promise to exact “retribution” on his enemies. There is little reason to think that he has learned any lessons from punishment for his lawless behavior in the past, and we can only expect more “high crimes and misdemeanors” if Trump wins election. He makes no secret of his authoritarian intentions if he returns to power, promising to “prosecute” his enemies, including President Joe Biden, and to become “a dictator” on “day one.” He continues to express admiration for autocrats such as Vladimir Putin of Russia, Xi Jinping of China, and Viktor Orbán of Hungary.

Of course, if the American Republic falls into a dictatorship, those U.S. Senators who voted to acquit Trump on his two impeachments, including most prominently Senator Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will bear some part of the historical blame. However, it has now become painfully clear that a Trump tyranny, if it comes, will have been enabled by what one might have thought to be an unlikely institutional source: the U.S. Supreme Court. Even if former President Trump does not win, the Court has handed a “loaded weapon” to another future President who might be tempted by selfishness, greed, or perceived public emergency to become a lawless dictator.

Read full piece at

The Supreme Court as Enabler in Chief