Van Jones: ‘MAGA Hats’ SCOTUS Just Gave Presidents a ‘License to Thug’

News & Politics

On Monday, the liberal media were so desperate to paint the U.S. Supreme Court’s limited immunity ruling as a 100-percent-win for former President Trump that CNN seemingly threw critical thinking out the window. Liberal activist and commentator Van Jones added to that chorus by suggesting the highest court in the land just gave presidents “a license to thug” and lamented that they gave too much credence to fears that former presidents would be subject to unfair legal cases.

Seemingly misremembering or misconstruing a legal “maxim,” Jones declared that he found the ruling “very concerning” because “bad facts create bad law.” “[T]he stuff that Trump did an office, it creates these bad facts. The court has to come in and figure out what to do about it. It often creates bad law,” he stated.

Jones, a big proponent of so-called criminal justice reform, huffed that the Supreme Court feared the wrong legal possibility: “The Supreme Court, do you more care about the unlawful conduct of a sitting president, or possibly the unfair prosecution of a former president? That’s really what they had to balance. They’re obviously more concerned about the latter.”

He argued that the court fearing overzealous prosecutors going after former presidents – regardless of party – was “bad” “politically” speaking and “look[ed] very partisan.” Further, he decried that the justices were supposedly not wearing “black and white umpire jerseys,” but rather “they’re wearing red Jerseys, or even MAGA hats.”

According to Jones, it was “really, really scary” how the Supreme Court gave Trump “a license to thug” in a second term:

But it’s also scary because what is Trump going to do? If Trump gets elected and there’s this idea that he can get away with even more stuff, that’s really, really scary for the public because he already ran over every norm that he could. So, it seems like it – just look at this politically – not legally – politically. It’s almost like a license to thug in a way like you can do whatever you want and Supreme Court is probably going to let you get away with it. That is very frightening in this case. And so, I’m I’m very, very concerned.

Anchor Anderson Cooper later teed up Jones to give credence to the same liberal conspiracy theory anchor Jake Tapper peddled, suggesting presidents could now assassinate their political rivals:

COOPER: Van as you read this, I mean, if the SEAL Team 6 argument; is Sotomayor right, that under this ruling, the president can task them to assassinate somebody? A political rival, not – not a foreign leader.

JONES: She’s not – She’s not right yet because of this idea that it has to be limited to the core responsibilities of the president, but we don’t know because this thing ping-ponging back and forth. This – I don’t know.

Republican Scott Jennings was on hand to inject a little bit of sanity into the conversation. “Look, I think there’s some amount of overreaction here,” he said. “I mean, we’re looking at this through the lens of Donald Trump, but the president of the United States has a lot of power for a reason and they do take a lot of official actions. And I just I think about a future where if it was open season on presidents for time immemorial, what, what action would any president ever take out a fear of being dragged into a courtroom every time they did it?”

Their critical thinking failed because what Jones was arguing for would open his former boss, former President Barack Obama, up to legal liability. During his presidency, Obama ordered the extrajudicial killings of two American citizens who had become terrorists in the Middle East. Surely, Jones and Cooper wouldn’t want him dragged into court over it because killing terrorists was an official act of office as commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

The transcript is below. Click “expand” to read:

CNN’s Trump Immunity Ruling
July 1, 2024
11:01:11 a.m. Eastern

(…)

ANDERSON COOPER: Van, as you look at this, what stands out to you?

VAN JONES: Well it’s very – very concerning outcome there’s a maxim that says, in law: bad facts create bad law. So, when you have somebody doing some stuff that’s so terrible, the stuff that Trump did an office, it creates these bad facts. The court has to come in and figure out what to do about it. It often creates bad law.

Basically, the question is: The Supreme Court, do you more care about the unlawful conduct of a sitting president, or possibly the unfair prosecution of a former president? That’s really what they had to balance. They’re obviously more concerned about the latter.

And so, I think politically it’s bad. It makes the Supreme Court look very partisan. They’re supposed to be wearing these kind of black and white umpire jerseys or whatever; they look like they’re wearing red Jerseys, or even MAGA hats. It’s going to go down bad politically for Supreme Court.

But it’s also scary because what is Trump going to do? If Trump gets elected and there’s this idea that he can get away with even more stuff, that’s really, really scary for the public because he already ran over every norm that he could. So, it seems like it – just look at this politically – not legally – politically. It’s almost like a license to thug in a way like you can do whatever you want and Supreme Court is probably going to let you get away with it. That is very frightening in this case. And so, I’m I’m very, very concerned.

COOPER: Scott Jennings, Justice Sotomayor in her dissent, essentially makes that argument saying the main takeaway of today’s decision is that all of a president’s official acts to find without regard to motive or content are entitled to immunity that is at least presumptive and quite possibly absolute.

SCOTT JENNINGS: Look, I think there’s some amount of overreaction here. I mean, after all, they did kick it back down to the lower courts. So, some decisions could be made about differentiating between official and private acts.

But look, this court has stood up for the office, the presidency and the executive power of the presidency in a way that maybe could have some benefit to future presidents. I mean, we’re looking at this through the lens of Donald Trump, but the president of the United States has a lot of power for a reason and they do take a lot of official actions.

And I just I think about a future where if it was open season on presidents for time immemorial, what, what action would any president ever take out a fear of being dragged into a courtroom every time they did it?

So, I hear Van and I think there’s interesting arguments on both sides of this today. I’ve listened to some of arguments like what Van is made. But at the same time, I do think the office deserves a lot of protection and a lot of deference because of the special place that it holds in our system. So, I’m okay with it, especially because I think a lower court may have decisions to make in the future. Of course, depending on the outcome of the election in November.

COOPER: But Van, just to be clear, even if a lower court makes a ruling, then that can because what this record it says is that that can be appealed ultimately back to the Supreme Court.

JONES: Yeah, I think supreme court is really hurting itself here. I mean, I think most Americans on either side would have preferred us getting some kind of finality around these cases.

(…)

11:09:52 a.m. Eastern

COOPER: Van as you read this, I mean, if the SEAL Team 6 argument; is Sotomayor right, that under this ruling, the president can task them to assassinate somebody? A political rival, not – not a foreign leader.

JONES: She’s not – She’s not right yet because of this idea that it has to be limited to the core responsibilities of the president, but we don’t know because this thing ping-ponging back and forth. This – I don’t know.

(…)

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