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Constitutional Clash: Justice Thomas Challenges Legitimacy of Special Counsel in Trump Case

Payam Javan: In a significant development following Monday’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on presidential immunity, Justice Clarence Thomas has raised constitutional concerns regarding the appointment of Jack Smith as special counsel. Chief Justice John Roberts, in the majority opinion, affirmed the president’s presumptive immunity from prosecution for official acts, a broader shield than argued by Smith’s prosecutors in the ongoing case involving former President Donald Trump’s alleged election interference.

Thomas, joined by Justices Alito, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh, concurred with the majority, while Justice Barrett partially joined. Justices Sotomayor, Kagan, and Jackson dissented. The case now returns to federal district court to determine if Smith’s indictment against Trump implicates official presidential actions.

In his concurring opinion, Thomas questioned the constitutionality of Smith’s appointment, arguing that as a private citizen, Smith lacks the lawful authority to prosecute a former president absent statutory authorization, challenging the creation of the special counsel’s office under current law.

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