Long Islanders on Monday voiced their opinions on the Supreme Court's ruling that former President Donald Trump has partial immunity from prosecution in his federal election interference case. NewsdayTV's Virginia Huie reports. Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa Loarca; AP; donaldtrump.com; X / @SenSchumer; file footage

WASHINGTON — New York Republicans called the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Monday to uphold presidential immunity for official acts a victory for Donald Trump and the rule of law, but Democrats warned that it sets a dangerous precedent and weakens democracy.

The 6-3 ruling on Trump’s challenge to his federal indictment for conspiring to overturn President Joe Biden’s 2020 election said Trump had absolute immunity for official acts but left it to lower courts to decide on what it deemed Trump’s unprotected unofficial or private acts. The ruling comes amid Trump seeking a return to the White House.

“This ruling reaffirms legal precedent and will better allow the national focus to center on President Trump’s winning campaign,” said Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-Island Park) in a statement.

Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), who noted he was one of the last people to escape from the House as the mob approached on Jan. 6, said, “No elected official, including President, should be above the law. The Supreme Court is setting a dangerous precedent.”

WHAT TO KNOW 

  • New York Republicans called the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Monday to uphold presidential immunity for official acts a victory for Donald Trump and the rule of law, but Democrats warned that it sets a dangerous precedent and weakens democracy.
  • “This ruling reaffirms legal precedent and will better allow the national focus to center on President Trump’s winning campaign,” said Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-Island Park) in a statement.
  • “No elected official, including President, should be above the law. The Supreme Court is setting a dangerous precedent,” said Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), who noted he was one of the last people to escape from the House as the mob approached on Jan 6.

He added, “America must overcome the extremism and partisanship that has plagued our country and fueled events like the attack on our Capitol.”

"Today's ruling helps that dichotomy and is a defeat for politically motivated prosecutors," he said.

Rep. Andrew Garbarino (R-Bayport) did not respond to Newsday's queries.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), said, “This is a sad day for America and a sad day for our democracy. The very basis of our judicial system is that no one is above the law. Treason or incitement of an insurrection should not be considered a core constitutional power afforded to a president.

He added, “This disgraceful decision by the MAGA Supreme Court — which is comprised of three justices appointed by Mr. Trump himself — enables the former president to weaken our democracy by breaking the law. This decision undermines the credibility of the Supreme Court, and suggests that political influence trumps all in our courts today.”

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) in a social media post on X quoted Justice Sonia Sotomayor's opinion in the case: "The relationship between the President and the people he serves has shifted irrevocably. In every use of official power, the President is now a king above the law … With fear for our democracy, I dissent."

Gillibrand added, "Justice Sotomayor's dissent should be a warning to every single American."

But Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Schuylerville), the House Republican Conference chairperson and a staunch supporter of Trump, said, “Today’s Supreme Court decision is a historic victory for President Donald Trump, the Constitution, the rule of law, and the American people.”

She added, “The President of the United States must have immunity, like Members of Congress and federal judges, which is necessary for any presidency to function properly. I look forward to continuing to work with President Trump to ensure his victory and Save America.”

House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-Brooklyn) criticized the decision.

“The Framers of the Constitution envisioned a democracy governed by the rule of law and the consent of the American people. They did not intend for our nation to be ruled by a king or monarch who could act with absolute impunity,” he said.

“House Democrats will engage in aggressive oversight and legislative activity with respect to the Supreme Court to ensure that the extreme, far-right justices in the majority are brought into compliance with the Constitution,” Jeffries added.

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