On December 11, the government filed a petition for a writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court, asking the Court to resolve the question of whether former president Donald Trump should not be federally prosecuted for crimes committed. while on duty. The Justice Department sought to bypass the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit, filing the petition before the court ruled. The government also pushed a motion for expedited consideration of the petition in the Supreme Court and “expedited merits briefing if the Court grants the petition.” In addition, the Department of Justice filed a motion to expedite Trump’s appeal of Judge Chutkan’s decision in the DC Circuit. On Dec. Trump filed an appeal of his ruling to the DC Circuit on December 7.
The government argued that if the case proceeds without the Supreme Court’s expedited review, “it is unclear whether the Supreme Court will be able to hear and resolve threshold immunity issues in its current term.” The Justice Department says the Supreme Court in 1974 granted a former special prosecutor’s petition for certiorari before an appellate ruling in one of the Watergate cases less than four months before the trial began, after the district court handling the case rejected the former President. Richard Nixon’s motion to quash the government’s subpoena seeking recordings from the Oval Office. The Court’s resolution of this constitutional question preceded United States v. Nixon, according to the government, should lead the Court to similarly review and resolve Trump’s immunity appeal. Trump’s January 6 trial is currently scheduled to begin on March 4, 2024.
In the government’s motion to the DC Circuit for expedited review, the Justice Department wrote that if the Supreme Court does not grant the government’s petition for certiorari before the DC Circuit issues a decision, the expedited review by the DC Circuit will leave the Supreme Court with enough time to resolve the case in its current term.