“No president is above the law”: House Democrat Aims to Reverse Supreme Court’s Immunity Decision

By: May Man Published: Jul 05, 2024

A prominent House Democrat is drafting a constitutional amendment to counter the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on presidential immunity

The aim would be to overturn the decision and affirm that “no president is above the law.”

Prioritizing Democracy

Rep. Joseph Morelle of New York, the ranking Democrat on the House Administration Committee, has informed his colleagues of his plan to introduce the resolution, initiating the often lengthy amendment process.

Morelle sitting in front of laptop with both hands clasped together in front of his face

Source: Wikimedia

“This amendment will do what SCOTUS failed to do — prioritize our democracy,” Morelle stated to AP.

Trump Should be Held Accountable

Referencing Donald Trump, Morelle emphasized the need for the former president to be held accountable for his actions.

Donald Trump wears a blue suit and a red tie in front of a large American flag on stage

Source: @BRICSinfo

Morelle urged his colleagues to support the amendment and join him in protecting democracy.

Most Substantial Reaction

This legislative effort is the most substantial reaction yet to the Supreme Court’s conservative majority decision.

The U.S. Supreme Court building seen underneath a cloudy blue sky.

Source: Adam Michael Szuscik/Unsplash

The decision shocked Washington and was met with a strong dissent from the court’s liberal justices.

Remote Possibility

The dissent warned of the decision’s dangers to democracy, especially with Trump eyeing a return to the White House.

A close-up look at the columns of the Supreme Court building.

Source: Jesse Collins/Unsplash

Despite this, the amendment faces slim chances of passing in the current Congress.

Presidents Have Broad Immunity

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, asserted that presidents possess broad immunity from criminal prosecution for actions within their official duties.

A pro-Trump mob breaks into the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC. Congress held a joint session today to ratify President-elect Joe Biden's 306-232 Electoral College win over President Donald Trump. A group of Republican senators said they would reject the Electoral College votes of several states unless Congress appointed a commission to audit the election results.

Source: Win McNamee/Getty Images

This ruling casts uncertainty on the Justice Department’s cases against Trump, including those related to his attempts to overturn the 2020 election.


Trump Supports Decision

Trump and his supporters welcomed the court’s decision, which included three justices appointed by him.

A side shot of Trump during an event

Source: Wikimedia

Following the ruling, Trump’s legal team quickly sought to delay his sentencing in an unrelated hush money case in New York state court.


Unresolved Before Election

The judge postponed the sentencing until fall.

Former president and candidate for 2024, Donald Trump speaks to a crowd

Source: @TheTelegraph/YouTube

This development likely means that federal cases against Trump will remain unresolved before the November election, where he is expected to face President Joe Biden again.


Most Reliable Method

Although the constitutional amendment process is lengthy and may never be completed, proponents argue it is the most reliable method.

A photograph of the U.S. Supreme Court

Source: Wikimedia

It is seen as being even more reliable than new legislation to establish that presidents are accountable for their actions.


"Presidents are citizens, not tyrants"

“This amendment will guarantee that no public officer of the United States — including the president — is able to evade the accountability that any other American would face for violating our laws,” Morelle wrote in his letter to colleagues.

Republican presidential candidate and former US President Donald Trump greets supporters at his caucus night

Source: Mario Tama/Getty Images

He referenced dissenting opinions from Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ketanji Brown Jackson, concluding with his own words: “Presidents are citizens, not tyrants.”


"Assault on American democracy"

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announced plans on Monday to file articles of impeachment against the justices over the ruling, calling it “an assault on American democracy.”

A large group of people waving supporter flags and American flags while loitering on the steps of the U.S. capitol building

Source: Wikimedia Commons

“It is up to Congress to defend our nation from this authoritarian capture,” Ocasio-Cortez declared on social media. “I intend on filing articles of impeachment upon our return.”


Likelihood of Success

Congress has the authority to initiate the constitutional amendment process and then send it to the states for ratification.

A tree and the American flag on the side of the Supreme Court building.

Source: Bill Mason/Unsplash

This requires a two-thirds majority in both the House and Senate, which is highly unlikely in the current divided government, and ratification by three-fourths of the states. To date, there have been 27 amendments to the U.S. Constitution.