Fox News contributor and law professor Jonathan Turley discussed two significant challenges on Tuesday that could impact Jack Smith’s case against former President Donald Trump.
The first issue is time constraints, with skepticism about meeting the March 4th deadline for a trial before the 2024 election in November. Turley noted that even if the panel issues a quick opinion, Trump’s campaign could request a full court review and potentially escalate to the Supreme Court, consuming even more time.
“Most of us express skepticism about the March 4th date,” Turley explained. “It seems even less likely now. If that date’s missed, can they get a trial in before the election? Keep in mind this is a motivated panel that’s likely to issue an opinion quickly, but the Trump campaign can ask for review in bank for the full court and then they go to the Supreme Court and that will eat up the clock.”
The second challenge involves a legal argument raised by Northwestern University law professor Steven G. Calabresi and others. “He and others believe that Smith’s appointment is unconstitutional,” said Turley. “Now that’s the ultimate Hail Mary play, but the panel seems to be giving it serious consideration. It doesn’t mean that they’re buying that argument, but it’ll be interesting if it comes up today.”
On December 11, Smith filed the motion to the Supreme Court, seeking a swift resolution to the case involving four counts against Trump, including conspiracy to defraud the United States and obstruction of an official proceeding. Critics, especially among Trump’s base, have described the indictment as baseless and politically charged.
Smith’s request to bypass the appeals court and directly engage the Supreme Court was seen as an aggressive, and even desperate, strategy. However, the latest decision by the Court will delay the proceedings, initially scheduled to begin on March 4, 2024.
The delay might push the case beyond the upcoming presidential election, which could impact its political ramifications. The decision by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals can still be appealed by both parties to the higher court. However, this development represents a significant win for Trump.
When asked if the Supreme Court could speed up the proceedings, Turley was skeptical.
“The court clearly didn’t share that sense of urgency,” he explained. “And Smith is a little bit dodgy on why it’s so urgent. The Department of Justice historically has tried to avoid trials that influence elections. And so it’s not clear to me that the Supreme Court shares his sense of urgency and will expedite this significantly, but it’s clear that it’s going to be treated differently.”
“The court is going to address it once it comes up. I also think that the D.C. Circuit is likely to really do a NASCAR pace on this to get it to the Supreme Court.”
The trial’s schedule, coinciding with the crux of the primary season, was always expected to spark intense political scrutiny. Trump has staunchly refuted all allegations, asserting his innocence.