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Biden denounces Supreme Court for decision on presidential immunity


Biden denounces Supreme Court for decision on presidential immunity

President Biden on Monday night issued a blistering attack on the U.S. Supreme Court for its decision earlier in the day declaring that Donald Trump was immune from prosecution for official acts he took during his presidency.

In brief but forceful remarks that came in a late addition to his schedule, Biden said that the high court was setting a dangerous precedent that could fundamentally change the world’s most powerful office.

“For all practical purposes, today’s decision almost certainly means that there are virtually no limits on what the president can do,” Biden said, adding that he pledges “to respect the limits of the presidential powers.”

The president also noted that the decision means that it is “highly unlikely” that Trump would be prosecuted before the election in November, which he called “a terrible disservice to the people of this nation.”

“So now, the American people have to do what the courts should have been willing to do, but will not,” Biden said. “The American people must decide whether Donald Trump’s assault on our democracy on January 6th makes him unfit for public office in the highest office in the land.”

At a time when he is under scrutiny following a poor debate performance that has caused Democrats to question his stamina, Biden continued to focus on Trump and sought to crystallize the choice before the electorate.

“The American people must decide if Trump’s embrace of violence to preserve his power is acceptable,” he said. “Perhaps most importantly, the American people must decide if they want to entrust the presidency once again to Donald Trump — now, knowing he’ll be more emboldened to do whatever he pleases, whenever he wants to do it.”

The comments marked a rare rebuke of the justice system for Biden, who has sought to distinguish his presidency by attempting to restore faith in American institutions. But Biden — who, as a senator, was a longtime chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee overseeing Supreme Court nomination hearings — has also found himself at odds with some of its recent decisions, including most prominently the Dobbs decision that repealed Roe v. Wade and declared there is no constitutional right to an abortion.

“This decision today has continued the court’s attack in recent years on a wide range of long-established legal principles in our nation, from gutting voting rights and civil rights to taking away a woman’s right to choose,” Biden said in his White House remarks.

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) accused Biden of improperly attacking the judiciary. “What we’re seeing tonight is despicable and dangerous,” Johnson told Fox News. “The president has been trying to undermine our legal system.”

At the start of his comments, Biden reflected on the potentially sweeping effects the decision could have on the conduct of future presidents.

“The presidency is the most powerful office in the world,” he said. “It’s an office that not only tests your judgment — perhaps even more importantly, it’s an office that could test your character. Because you’re not only faced with moments where you need the courage to exercise the full power of the presidency, you also face moments where you need the wisdom to respect the limits of the power of the office of the presidency.”

Toward the end of his remarks, Biden aimed to place the ruling in the context of history, reaching back to the founding of the nation.

“At the outset of our nation, it was the character of George Washington, our first president, to define the presidency. He believed power was limited, not absolute, and that power always resides with the people — always,” Biden said. “Now, over 200 years later today, the Supreme Court decision means that once again, it will depend on the character of the men and women who hold the presidency … because the law will no longer do it.”

He ended with a new line, saying, “May God bless you all. And may God help preserve our democracy.” Then, he added, “May God protect our troops.”

He then left the room, ignoring the shouted questions about the state of his campaign.

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