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Taking the hush money trial to the Supreme Court

By Richard Morse

There is a growing call, largely led by conservative broadcaster Mark Levin, to appeal the so-called “Trump hush money trial” directly and immediately to the Supreme Court. Normally, attorneys would follow the prolonged appeals process to the next highest court and on up the ladder. Such appeals usually aim to reverse a verdict. But in this case, the verdict is not the problem. The problem is the trial itself — specifically, the un-constitutionality of the trial.

For this reason, the Supreme Court is the most appropriate court to hear this complaint. Its sole purpose is to judge the constitutionality of actions taken by government. If put before them, the justices of the Supreme Court should be able to negate this “hush money” trial altogether, since the trial proceedings did not follow the rules prescribed and required by the Constitution. We saw gross violations of the Sixth Amendment in these proceedings, not to mention the First Amendment violation with a targeted gag order against the defendant.

The “standing” for filing this case with the High Court could not be more substantial. If these adulterated court proceedings are allowed to stand as a precedent, any American could be tried in this unconstitutional manner. It seems that it would be incumbent on the High Court to hear this case for that reason alone. And the call for the Court to hear it is urgent. If the likes of Judge Juan Merchan and Alvin Bragg get away with this lawless distortion of justice, this time, they will certainly do it again. And maybe very soon.

Just recently, we have seen a rash of flagrant abuses of the Bill of Rights in courts. In February, New York City judge Arthur Engoron burdened Donald Trump with the ridiculous fine of $450 million for a non-crime that had no victims. Meanwhile, January 6 protesters have been imprisoned for years, some in solitary confinement in horrid conditions, for charges like trespassing, parading, vandalism. Cruel and unusual punishment and excessive fines are becoming normalized in our justice system.

These politically motivated trials, perpetrated by one party, with their flagrant abuses of Americans’ enumerated rights, must be stopped before they become the standard of American justice. And now is the perfect opportunity for the Supreme Court to address the problem.

Perhaps we are due for a Miranda rights–equivalent for court procedure. Put the Trump hush money trial on trial. Should a trial that ignores the rules — denying a defendant of his constitutional rights — remain valid? Or should it automatically be deemed null and void by virtue of its repugnance to the Constitution? That is the question before the Court — assuming somebody submits it, that is.

At the very least, if Supreme Court justices nullified the Trump hush money trial on grounds that it did not follow the rules, it would send a strong, clear, and necessary message to judges in the lower courts: obey the Constitution.

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