Supreme Court Issues MASSIVE J6 Ruling That Could Affect Trump’s DC Case


A groundbreaking ruling by the Supreme Court on Friday could pave the way to reduced sentences for individuals in prison or facing charges stemming from the January 6th, 2021 Capitol riots, including President Donald Trump.

In a split 6-3 decision, justices found that the Department of Justice overstepped its authority when charging hundreds of protestors with obstruction of official congressional proceedings on the day that Congress met to certify the results of the 2020 elections. For more than three years, defendants and their attorneys have argued that the federal statutes used against them were too ambiguous, describing criminal acts that required tampering with documents or resources, not just unlawfully entering the Capitol building. However, the six-member majority noted that obstruction crimes could be applied to rioters if they were found guilty of physically interfering with the delivering of the states’ Electoral College certifications to the floor of the House that day, CNN reported.

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Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, focused much of his reason on the text of the law rather than a discussion of J6 itself. He briefly noted a breach “of the Capitol caused members of Congress to evacuate the chambers and delayed the certification process.”

Surprisingly, conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett joined liberal Justices Sonya Sotomayor and Elena Kagan in denouncing the decision, oddly arguing some J6 rioters could be found guilty of obstruction if they contributed to the death of Capitol police officers surrounding the building. However, the theory that J6 rioters killed officers has been widely debunked.

“Killing a person with the intent to prevent the production of a record in an official proceeding constitutes conduct that impairs the availability of a record for an official proceeding. Using physical force against a person to influence testimony in an official proceeding counts as impairing the integrity of ‘other things’ used in an official proceeding,” Barrett wrote in the minority’s dissenting opinion.

“There is no getting around it: Section 1512(c)(2) is an expansive statute. Yet Congress, not this Court, weighs the ‘pros and cons of whether a statute should sweep broadly or narrowly.’ Once Congress has set the outer bounds of liability, the Executive Branch has the discretion to select particular cases to prosecute within those boundaries. By atextually narrowing §1512(c)(2), the Court has failed to respect the prerogatives of the political branches.”

Whether the decision helps or hampers special counsel Jack Smith’s J6 case against Trump remains to be seen. The prosecutor is unlikely to rescind charges against Trump accusing him of encouraging violence that day, but the court’s conclusion that obstruction requires physical interference with evidence may be a boon to the defense. President Trump was stationed in the White House that day, according to testimony by aides before the congressional J6 committee, and Trump himself has said he tweeted calls for protestors to “peacefully” assemble and exit the area once the situation became violent. Earlier this week, House Republicans on a bipartisan special committee concluded that the J6 committee issued “illegitimate” subpoenas for witnesses including Steve Bannon, who is due to report to jail by July 1st to serve a four-month sentence for defying the order.

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Scoop Diggins