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rojo's avatar

What is the reasoning behind the thought that a sitting president should not be charged with a crime or face prosecution until after their term?

Asked by rojo (23835points) July 11th, 2018

What can justify such special treatment?

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12 Answers

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh – “I believe it vital that the President be able to focus on his never-ending tasks with as few distractions as possible. The country wants the President to be ‘one of us’ who bears the same responsibilities of citizenship that all share. But I believe that the President should be excused from some of the burdens of ordinary citizenship while serving in office,...the indictment and trial of a sitting President, moreover, would cripple the federal government, rendering it unable to function with credibility in either the international or domestic arenas. Such an outcome would ill serve the public interest, especially in times of financial or national security crisis.”

Zaku's avatar

The idea that a president is necessarily a positive contributor and a needed one who shouldn’t be replaced if terrible.

And the deluded denial that a president can be a terrible destructive influence, have personality disorders, mental problems, be hugely ignorant or utterly self-interested, and/or a puppet or blackmail victim and/or figurehead of anti-social greedy corporations, criminals, etc, and/or be a terrible criminal and/or extreme religious nutjob himself.

(I probably left several things out…)

Kardamom's avatar

The only “reasoning” is that this idea would only be used by Republicans, for THEIR shitty candidates. They would be all for charging non-Republican Presidents for all things big and small.

Jaxk's avatar

Constitutionally the remedy is impeachment. If the President is impeached prosecution is then available. Prosecution of a sitting President would tear the country apart whether successful or not and lay the groundwork prosecution as a way to disable any president. The constitution works why not use it as written.

flutherother's avatar

Brett Kavanaugh argued this point in an article which appeared in the Minnesota Law Review in 2009. His argument was that the job of president is difficult enough without the added stress of criminal charges. It seems an extraordinary view for anyone to take never mind a lawyer who has been nominated as a Supreme Court Judge. If the president is a crook he should be investigated like anyone else. No one is indispensable in a democracy.

rojo's avatar

@Zaku and yet we afford ourselves the opportunity to replace them every four years. How indispensable can they be?

stanleybmanly's avatar

Whatever convoluted reasoning renders the President immune from the legal consequences imposed on the rest of us, why do you suppose the topic is so much with us now?

LostInParadise's avatar

How can you toss the President in jail? Impeach him and then throw him in the clink.

Zaku's avatar

@rojo Yes. I think the real issue is whether not disturbing a terrible president is a good thing, and whether he ought not rather be replaced?

Also, do we have any effective standards for the quality of a president worth having? And sadly the answer seems to be that whatever standards we might have, they’re extremely poor.

Being someone who would be convicted of major crimes and tossed in jail, seems to me like one standard we might want to consider having. Wanting to protect such a president seems backwards, to me.

flutherother's avatar

Trump’s record of assaulting women, bias towards religious minorities, lying and conning the public render him unfit to work at McDonald’s. The only job vacancy where these faults don’t seem to matter is President of the United States of America. I was and am gobsmacked that he was ever elected. Giving a man like that a pass on criminal activity makes a mockery of the law.

rojo's avatar

But, getting beyond the present day politics. To me it doesn’t matter what kind of president they are, he or she should not be afforded special protections just because of the position they hold in society. They are not special, they are not indispensable and if there is a valid reason that they should have to answer for something in court, they should be required to.

Zaku's avatar

Well, I could see the rationale if a country would follow a somewhat different investigation process for the president, probably wanting to do a thorough and fast investigation that doesn’t interfere with him the way a police investigation of someone else might tend to. But he shouldn’t be able to do any of the crapola Trump has tried to pull interfering with the investigations.

Such an investigation should be given extra resources and leeway to determine the truth of if there is something awful the president is guilty of, or if someone else is trying to frame the president, and if it discovers & proves something, then the appropriate action should be taken.

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