Filing Sets Stage For Battle Over Presidential Immunity in Summer Zervos’ Lawsuit Against Donald Trump

In a recent filing in Summer Zervos’ defamation lawsuit against Donald Trump, defendant seeks (inter alia) to have the court “first resolve whether it has authority under the United States Constitution to assert jurisdiction over the President and adjudicate this case during his time in office.”

Citing the Supreme Court cases of Clinton v. Jones and Nixon v. Fitzgerald, defendant argues:

President Trump intends to file a motion to dismiss or stay this action until he leaves office on the ground that the United States Constitution, including the Supremacy Clause, immunizes President Trump from being sued in this action while he is in office. This crucial threshold constitutional issue has nothing to do with the legal insufficiency of Zervos’s complaint and must be resolved before the merits on a motion to dismiss are reached.

Moreover, as in Clinton v. Jones, the public interest mandates that the immunity issue be resolved before proceeding further. The singular importance of the President’s duties warrants a stay where civil actions, such as this one, frequently could distract a President from his public duties, to the detriment of not only the President and his office but also the Nation that the President was designed to serve. Requiring President Trump to litigate the merits on a motion to dismiss the complaint, in addition to moving to dismiss on grounds of Presidential immunity, would negate the very interests that that immunity is designed to protect. This principle has been recognized in cases involving assertions of immunity by a wide array of public officials and entities. (Emphasis added.)

Since this is a legal, and not a political, blog, I’ll leave it to political commentators to opine on the bolded text and how it might apply to this president.

Update: OSC granted.

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