Brett Kavanaugh, Donald Trump, pardons, the Supreme Court, and Gamble v. United States

Sometimes the mainstream media (particularly cable news) ignores certain political storylines because, while they’re important, they simply don’t fit into a ratings-friendly narrative. I’m the first to call out the media when this happens, which in my view is far too often. But there are times when the mainstream media ignores a popular online political topic because, simply put, there’s not as much to it as people think there is. That brings us to the much hyped matter of Gamble v. United States.

Some of you are instantly recalling all the times you’ve seen Gamble v. United States mentioned by fellow Resistance members in the comments sections of your posts about Brett Kavanaugh. In my position as a political analyst, I’ve been receiving emails and private messages asking me about this particular Supreme Court case morning noon and night for weeks. But I can tell you that, even with Kavanaugh now headed to the Supreme Court, this case isn’t as impactful as some commenters have come to fear.

The story is this: the Supreme Court schedule for the upcoming session includes a case called Gamble v. United States which, on its face, has nothing to do with Donald Trump. It’s about a guy who got hit with federal and state charges for the same crime, and thinks it’s a violation of his constitutional right against double jeopardy. If the Supreme Court rules in Gamble’s favor, there is the fear that Trump could simply begin pardoning his Trump-Russia co-conspirators, and without the threat of state level charges, they would have no reason to cut plea deals against him. But it’s not nearly as simple as that.

If Donald Trump were to begin pardoning people like Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, it would do him no good at all, because they’ve already cut plea deals and spilled their guts. Special Counsel Robert Mueller can still use their evidence and testimony no matter what. Gamble v. United States could only potentially prevent additional Trump associates from having a reason to cut new plea deals. Even then, Mueller could work around this by only hitting Trump’s people with certain charges, and allowing the states to hit those people with different charges as a fallback. As long as there’s no overlap, there’s no double jeopardy, even if the Supreme Court does rule in Gamble’s favor.

There are many, many reasons to be concerned about Brett Kavanaugh’s now-inevitable presence on the Supreme Court, brief as it may end up being. But even if Kavanaugh votes in favor of Gamble, it’s still not clear that there are five votes lined up for this somewhat unique case, which doesn’t fall along traditional ideological lines. The greater concern is that Kavanaugh could rule that Donald Trump can ignore a subpoena from Robert Mueller. But again, we don’t even know if Kavanaugh gives Trump five votes on that matter. The bottom line: there are far bigger concerns right now than Gamble. That’s why the major media outlets are ignoring, and why Palmer Report has spent few words on it.