Apr 25, 2024 - Politics & Policy

Trump nears huge win on delay, delay strategy

Former U.S. President Donald Trump returns from a break in his criminal trial for allegedly covering up hush money payments at Manhattan Criminal Court on April 25, 2024 in New York City.

Former President Trump returns from a break in his criminal trial at Manhattan Criminal Court on April 25 in New York City. Photo: Jeenah Moon-Pool/Getty Images

The Supreme Court appears poised to hand former President Trump a much-needed win in his strategy of delaying his legal troubles past the election

Why it matters: The high court seemed reluctant to fully resolve the question of presidential immunity, increasing Trump's odds that the Jan. 6 case does not conclude before the election.

  • Trump, indicted four times over the last 13 months, may now see just one of his cases conclude before voters head to the polls.
  • After leaving Manhattan criminal court in his hush money case Thursday, Trump said he heard the Supreme Court hearing was "quite amazing" and the justices "were on their game."

What they're saying: "The bottom line is that Trump is likely to get what he wants — a further delay of this election subversion case, maybe pushing it to after the election," Rick Hasen, an election law expert and Director of the Safeguarding Democracy Project at UCLA's Law School, wrote on X.

  • "If that happens, the public won't get the benefit of having a jury determine before election if Trump tried to steal 2020 election."
  • "Under the circumstances, it's the best scenario he could hope have hoped for," Democratic strategist David Axelrod wrote, referring to the likelihood of just one of Trump's trials being finished before November.

Zoom in: Former GOP Rep. Liz Cheney warned in an op-ed before the Supreme Court oral arguments that if the court does not rule on immunity "quickly and decisively," it will have a "profoundly negative impact."

  • "It cannot be that a president of the United States can attempt to steal an election and seize power but our justice system is incapable of bringing him to trial before the next election four years later," she wrote.

State of play: Trump's ongoing New York criminal trial is shaping up to be the only one that will wrap up before November.

  • In Florida, Trump's classified documents case is in limbo amid a number of unresolved disputes.
  • The timing of Trump's Georgia 2020 election case is also in flux after a legal battle over whether District Attorney Fani Willis should be removed from the case.
  • Trump's Jan. 6 case was originally set to begin in March.

What to watch: Usually arguments heard in late April bring decisions at the end of June or early July, although the high court could act with speed given the high-profile nature of the case.

  • "If they wait until the last day of the term, the window for getting the case tried before the election is practically closed, or close to it," Randall D. Eliason, a former federal prosecutor and George Washington University law professor, told the Washington Post.

Go deeper: Trump could get partial victory after Supreme Court hears immunity case

Go deeper