Home » Clarence Thomas Ally Strikes Killer Blow Against Donald Trump
Environment News Politics United States

Clarence Thomas Ally Strikes Killer Blow Against Donald Trump

Clarence Thomas ally Judge William Pryor has denied Mark Meadows‘ bid to move his criminal charges into federal court, suggesting conservative opposition to immunity defenses similarly put forth by Donald Trump.

Meadows, Trump’s former White House chief of staff, is among the 17 co-defendants charged alongside the former president for allegedly attempting to overturn the 2020 election results in Georgia. He has denied any wrongdoing.

He sought to move his case from state to federal court, saying that his duties listed in the indictment brought by prosecutors in Fulton County fall within the scope of his duties to Trump.

But in a Monday opinion written by Pryor, an ally of Supreme Court Justice Thomas, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Meadows must fight the charges against him in state court in Atlanta. It added that transfers are only allowed for current government officials, not former ones and that regardless, the charges against Meadows are about actions outside his official duties meaning he cannot claim immunity.


“We cannot rubberstamp Meadows’ legal opinion that the president’s chief of staff has unfettered authority,” Pryor wrote.

“Meadows cannot point to any authority for influencing state officials with allegations of election fraud,” he added. “At bottom, whatever the chief of staff’s role with respect to state election administration, that role does not include altering valid election results in favor of a particular candidate.”

Writing on X, formerly known as Twitter, Lee Kovarsky, professor of law at the University of Texas, said the judgment was “bad for Trump’s defense” of his election interference charges because if, as with Meadows, the charges are ruled to be based on actions outside his official duties, he cannot claim presidential immunity.

Trump has moved to dismiss a Washington indictment for allegedly working to overturn the results of the 2020 election in the run-up to the 2021 riot in the U.S. Capitol, citing what Trump’s lawyers claim is his “absolute immunity” from prosecution for actions taken while serving as president.

The judge overseeing the case, D.C. District Judge Tanya Chutkan, rejected the motion to dismiss the case in December. While Trump’s appeal is awaiting a decision in an appellate court, the Supreme Court has agreed to consider a request from Special Counsel Jack Smith, who is overseeing the investigation into Trump, that it decide the case, bypassing the federal appeals court.

Kovarsky wrote: “In every way this is bad for Meadows, it’s bad for Trump’s defense in GEORGIA. Trump was going to claim Supremacy Clause immunity and Presidential immunity, but CA11’s opinion on the scope of official duty means that it’s going to be impossible for Trump.”

“This is ALSO devastating to Trump et al. in the other prosecutions, especially in DC,” he continued. “In all of these cases, he’s claiming various forms of immunity that turn on the basic idea that he was somehow engaged in good governance, not unlawful electioneering.”

He added that it was impossible “to overstate the significance of this opinion being written by Chief Judge Pryor, a conservative stalwart and probably the single biggest circuit court ally to Justice Thomas there is.”

“Judge Pryor clearly wrote this opinion well in advance of argument. It is an unmistakable signal to R-appointed Justices that the immunity defenses are totally frivolous,” he added.

Newsweek has contacted representatives for Trump by email and Thomas by website form to comment on this story.

Meadows could appeal Monday’s ruling to the Supreme Court. Former Justice Department official Jeff Clark and three GOP activists are also seeking to transfer their cases to federal court.

Source: News Week