Earlier this year, a panic erupted across social media over an upcoming Supreme Court case about the constitutionality of the state and federal governments charging the same person for the same crime. If the ruling went a certain way, it could put Donald Trump in position to pardon his underlings and family on federal charges, and New York State wouldn’t be able to do anything about it.
At the time, Palmer Report explained that the importance of this Supreme Court case was somewhat overblown as it related to Donald Trump’s endgame. For instance, the Feds and New York State seemed to divvy up the charges they each brought against Paul Manafort, as a way of ensuring that if Trump pardoned Manafort on federal charges, New York could still hit him with a different set of state charges. When the time comes to charge Trump’s kids, the same strategy can be invoked.
Palmer Report also pointed out that although there are five conservatives on the Supreme Court, that was highly unlikely to have an impact on the ruling, as this was not a left vs right ideological issue. The conservatives on the court weren’t going to simply rule in whatever way that was most personally favorable to Donald Trump, because nothing works that way. Sure enough, today the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that the federal and state government can in fact bring the exact same charges against someone, and it doesn’t constitute double jeopardy.
This means that even if Donald Trump did have a way of pardoning his way out of this, he no longer does. State and federal prosecutors can each bring charges against Trump, his family, and his co-conspirators at any time, without worrying about screwing up each other’s future cases. This ruling went pretty much the way we expected – and it’s a reminder that the Supreme Court isn’t just going to magically bail Trump out whenever he needs it.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report