The U.S. Supreme Court dropped a landmark ruling on Monday regarding whether former presidents have absolute immunity. In a 6-3 ruling in which all of the conservative justices voted, the nation’s highest court ruled that a former president has absolute immunity for his core constitutional powers. Former presidents are also entitled to at least a presumption of immunity for their official acts, the court said, adding that there is no immunity protection in the Constitution for unofficial acts.

The case relates to former President Donald Trump’s claims of immunity for acts he performed while president in regards to the Jan. 6 “election interference” case filed against him in the D.C. district court last year. In Part III of its opinion, the court indicated that in this case, “no court has thus far considered how” to distinguish between official and unofficial acts. This ruling now puts all of these charges filed against Trump at risk of being dismissed.

Moreover, Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the majority opinion, continues, “The lower courts rendered their decisions on a highly expedited basis” and “did not analyze the conduct alleged in the indictment to decide which of it should be categorized as official and which unofficial” — and it wasn’t briefed before the Supreme Court. So the Court isn’t going to make that determination now. Instead, it will send the case back to the lower courts for further proceedings, although it does offer some guidance, SCOTUS Blog reported.

“Certain allegations–such as those involving Trump’s discussions with the Acting Attorney General–are readily categorized in light of the nature of the President’s official relationship to the office held by that individual. Other allegations–such as those involving Trump’s interactions with the Vice President, state officials, and certain private parties, and his comments to the general public–present more difficult questions,” Roberts continued. “Trump is … absolutely immune from prosecution for the alleged conduct involving his discussions with Justice Department officials.”

The court sent the case back to the district court for it to determine other things, such as “whether a prosecution involving Trump’s attempts to influence the Vice President’s oversight of the certification proceeding in his capacity as President of the Senate would pose any dangers of intrusion on the authority and functions of the Executive Branch.” He added, however, that “Trump asserts a far broader immunity than the limited one we have recognized.”

“As for the dissents,” Roberts continued, “they strike a tone of chilling doom that is wholly disproportionate to what the Court actually does today–conclude that immunity extends to official discussions between the President and his Attorney General, and then remand to the lower courts to determine ‘in the first instance’ whether and to what extent Trump’s remaining alleged conduct is entitled to immunity.”

Fox News added:

The question stemmed from Special Counsel Jack Smith’s federal election interference case in which he charged former President Trump with conspiracy to defraud the United States; conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding; obstruction of and attempt to obstruct an official proceeding; and conspiracy against rights.  Those charges stem from Smith’s months-long investigation into whether Trump was involved in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol riot and any alleged interference in the 2020 election result. Trump pleaded not guilty to all charges and argued he should be immune from prosecution from official acts done as president of the U.S.

During oral arguments earlier this year, Justice Samuel Alito, a George W. Bush appointee, showed concern about charging former presidents with crimes even remotely related to their time in office. “Now, if an incumbent who loses a very close, hotly contested election knows that a real possible nullity after leaving office is not that the president is going to be able to go off into a peaceful retirement, but that the president may be criminally prosecuted by a bitter political opponent,” Alito asked.

“Will that not lead us into a cycle that destabilizes the functioning of our country as a democracy? And we can look around the world and find countries where we have seen this process, where the loser gets thrown in jail,” he said.

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Disclaimer: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.