Recently it was announced that Donald Trump was to soon leave Mar-a-Lago for his club in Bedminster, New Jersey for the summer. Initially I was among the skeptical. I feel Trump is basically hiding out in Florida thinking he is shielded from justice and would never venture to New Jersey where the governor is not as -shall we say – friendly. Trump is one of those who not only thinks he is above the law, but has also rigged the system in his favor. After a little research a Jersey summer isn’t that farfetched.
Currently the most likely entity to indict Trump and try to arrest him is New York state. In layman’s terms there are extradition agreements among most of the states including between New York and Florida. If New York tries to arrest/extradite Trump from Florida the governor can step in and if nothing else delay the process. To call Florida Governor Republican Ron DeSantis Trump’s puppet is pretty accurate. There is little doubt DeSantis would obstruct justice to help Trump. I’m sure he would make it sound like he is on some holy mission to defend justice; he might even do it live on Fox and Friends.
Trump plays the delay game better than any basketball coach ever did. In the long run all DeSantis would be doing is delaying the inevitable. I have to hope that eventually a court would rule in New York state’s favor. That is not the end of the process. Despite a dismal won-lost record Trump loves to litigate -it is part of his delay game. He would immediately appeal to the Supreme Court. Before the Court decides to hear a case or not it can issue what is in effect a temporary stay. The nation is divided into federal court districts and Florida is part of the Eleventh Circuit. A litigant can appeal for a temporary stay before the case is either accepted or rejected by the full Court. The justice who has immediate oversight for the Eleventh Circuit is Clarence Thomas; or as I often call him Clarence “Just give the money to Virginia” Thomas. I would assume he would only be too willing to issue the stay buying Trump some time.
At first glance (hence my initial skepticism) New Jersey looks very different. The Governor of New Jersey is Democrat Phil Murphy and is definitely not one of Trump’s sycophants. But the Supreme Court factor isn’t that much different. New Jersey is part of the Third Circuit which is initially overseen by Samuel Alito. If I had to rank the current nine by loyalty to Trump, they would be Thomas at number one followed by Alito at a solid number two. The stay would almost be a certainty.
When we get to the full Court I think justice has a much better chance. First off, the Court rejects about 90% of the cases without a hearing. That means the last court’s ruling stands. If the Court decided to hear the case – which I think is questionable – I do not think Trump has the lock he feels he has. Thomas and Alito would certainly rule in his favor regardless of reality. Breyer, Kagan and Sotomayor would rule against him. Now we get into the “question marks”.
Trump will feel he has his three appointees: Barrett, Gorsuch and Kavanagh in his pocket. I’m not so sure. I’m willing to bet that one or more of them knows that with a lifetime appointment they got all they can out of Trump and own him nothing. Heck, one or more of them may also have respect for America and the law. (Admittedly, that is more of a stretch).
Last and certainly not least we come to Chief Justice John Roberts. Chief Justices have their legacy in the back of their minds and I doubt Roberts wants his to include allowing a criminal former chief executive to go free.
If the case were heard I could see Trump losing by anything between 5-4, 6-3 or 7-2.
As to the summer; thanks to Alito, Trump going to Bedminster looks a lot more plausible to me. This won’t be a one act play.
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