Supreme Court not “concerned with justice,” legal analyst warns

Legal analyst Norman Eisen accused the U.S. Supreme Court of not being “actually concerned with justice” in light of the court’s handling of former President Donald Trump‘s presidential immunity case.

In an op-ed published by MSNBC on Wednesday, Eisen, who served as counsel to the House Judiciary Committee during Trump’s first impeachment trial, blamed the Supreme Court justices for the “delay” in the former president’s federal election subversion case in which Trump faces four felony counts, accused of unlawfully attempting to remain in power after losing the 2020 election to President Joe Biden.

Proceedings on the case have been held up as the Supreme Court rules on whether Trump is shielded by presidential immunity from facing criminal charges for actions he took while serving in the White House. Oral arguments took place in front of the high court on April 25 and a ruling is still pending.

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts arrives to the Senate chamber for impeachment proceedings against former President Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol on January 16, 2020, in Washington, D.C. Roberts was called on by…

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Eisen wrote on Wednesday that it was “legally unnecessary” for the Supreme Court to take up the immunity case in the first place, noting that the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for Washington, D.C., already unanimously rejected Trump’s argument in February. He also said that “recent revelations affirm that there are deep biases” among conservative Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas that threaten the integrity of the high court’s opinion.

Alito has been under fire in the past week after two New York Times reports found that symbols often associated with Trump’s supporters have been spotted outside the justice’s homes since the aftermath of the 2020 election.

Thomas has faced calls to recuse himself from Trump’s immunity case for months over his ties to mega GOP donor Harlan Crow. Thomas has also been questioned over actions taken by his wife, Virginia “Ginny” Thomas, in connection to the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Eisen wrote that Chief Justice John Roberts “owes the public a transparent accounting of how Alito and Thomas can be allowed to continue to sit” on the presidential immunity case.

“The participation of Thomas and Alito and the failure to explain it is another piece of evidence that this Supreme Court isn’t actually concerned with justice,” Eisen added in his op-ed.

“If the pro-Trump justices on the court cared as much about an insurrection as they do about shielding the former president, we would already have had a verdict in a trial regarding Trump’s alleged role in the Jan. 6 insurrection,” he continued. “The fact that we don’t is damning, if not surprising, evidence of those justices’ real priority: protecting Donald Trump.”

Newsweek reached out to the U.S. Supreme Court’s public information office via email for comment on Eisen’s opinion piece.

Several Democratic lawmakers have called on Alito to recuse himself from the immunity case. A handful of Republicans, however, have come to the justice’s defense, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who told reporters last week that it “seems to me they’re just nonstop attacks on the Supreme Court.”

“We need to leave the Supreme Court alone,” the senator added.

Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas also defended Alito in a post to X, formerly Twitter, last week, calling the Times report an attempt “to smear Mrs. Alito and incite another mob to try to intimidate justices, harass them at home, or worse. Shameful!”

Legal experts have also previously cast doubt that reports regarding Alito are enough to warrant the justice’s removal from Trump’s case. After the Times’ first story regarding an upside-down American flag that was flown outside Alito’s home in Virginia, George Washington University Law School professor Jonathan Turley told Newsweek that it was “unclear how these legislators can show a different intent” than to what the justice claimed.

“Justice Alito issued a rare public statement that it was his wife who took this action in response to neighbors,” Turley said in an email last week.

“Resolving any doubts against a justice is hardly a compelling standard,” he added.

Former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani told Newsweek on Wednesday that “practically speaking there is nothing that can be done” regarding the controversy swirling around Alito.

“There is no clear ethics violation here and even if there were, the Justices are to police themselves and there is no other branch of government that can force Alito’s disqualification,” he added.