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Sonia Sotomayor Criticizes Assertion That President Can Assassinate Political Opponents with Impunity

Sonia Sotomayor (Credits: People)

An attorney representing Donald Trump faced tough questioning from Justice Sonia Sotomayor during oral arguments at the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday. The case centered on whether a president could claim immunity for actions, including potential murder of political rivals, under the guise of official state duties.

Justice Sotomayor wasted no time in cutting to the core of the matter, directly asking attorney John Sauer if a president should be permitted to order the assassination of political opponents for personal reasons, as both Sauer and Trump have suggested.

Sonia Sotomayor (Credits: ThoughtCo)

Sauer responded that such actions could potentially be considered official acts, prompting Justice Sotomayor to challenge this assertion. She pointed out that if a president were to act for personal gain rather than in the interest of national security, it would contradict the notion of immunity for official acts.

The exchange underscored the crux of the case: whether Trump’s alleged actions were truly in furtherance of his official duties or motivated by personal interests.

Sonia Sotomayor (Credits: CNN)

Sauer’s background, including his prior roles as solicitor general of Missouri and assistant U.S. attorney, as well as his involvement in contentious legal battles, adds context to his arguments before the Supreme Court. His history suggests a familiarity with complex legal issues and a track record of involvement in politically charged cases.

The oral arguments shed light on the intricate legal questions surrounding presidential immunity and the extent to which it applies to actions taken by a sitting president. The Supreme Court’s eventual decision in this case could have far-reaching implications for the limits of executive power and accountability.

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