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It takes a special kind of skill to be able to write well about the Supreme Court. You need to understand the law, backward and forward, of course. But if we had legal scholars just write about how a decision represents this or that interpretation of the law, the lawyers among our readers would understand what had been decided by the court – but the rest of us would be left wondering what it all really meant.

Not today. Our story about the monumentally important decision in Trump v. United States was written by scholar Claire Wofford, a political scientist and constitutional law scholar at The College of Charleston. For all her degrees and status, Wofford knows how to speak English and not that obscure dialect known as Academic Jargon. Her many stories this year for us about this case, beginning with lower court decisions and culminating yesterday with the long-awaited decision from the high court, are models of engaging, useful storytelling.

And the story Wofford tells today is that of a court handing the former president “what may be the most favorable legal decision he could have reasonably hoped for in his fight against federal prosecution for his attempts to reverse the 2020 election outcome.” The six conservative justices, Wofford writes, stated in their opinion that former presidents have “some immunity for criminal prosecution for official acts” while in office.

“The majority’s use of the word ‘some,’ however,” writes Wofford, “obscures the extent to which its opinion ensures that it will be much more difficult for special counsel Jack Smith to prosecute Trump for actions taken around the 2020 election, much less win that prosecution.”

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Naomi Schalit

Senior Editor, Politics + Democracy

The U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. Allison Edge/iStock/Getty Images Plus

‘Above the law’ in some cases: Supreme Court gives Trump − and future presidents − a special exception that will delay his prosecution

Claire B. Wofford, College of Charleston

The Supreme Court’s decision has major implications for the criminal prosecution of Trump and for the country and how it is governed.

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