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Denigrator-in-Chief Faces Female Justice: Three Women Judges Hold Trump’s Fate in Their Hands

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Donald Trump is facing a panel consisting entirely of female judges—Karen LeCraft Henderson, Florence Y. Pan, and J. Michelle Childs.
Donald Trump is facing a panel consisting entirely of female judges—Karen LeCraft Henderson, Florence Y. Pan, and J. Michelle Childs. (Image: Daily Boulder)

In a striking turn of irony, the fate of former President Donald Trump now lies in the hands of three female judges, a group he is known for denigrating and insulting. Appearing in federal court in Washington D.C. on Tuesday, Trump sought immunity from charges related to his alleged scheme to overturn the 2020 presidential election and the dissemination of lies that contributed to the violence on January 6, 2021.

During the hearing, Trump observed as his attorney, D. John Sauer, faced intense questioning from a panel consisting entirely of female judges—Karen LeCraft Henderson, Florence Y. Pan, and J. Michelle Childs. The former president, who has a history of disparaging remarks towards women, remained mostly expressionless during the proceedings. This courtroom scenario unfolded against the backdrop of Trump’s claims that he should be shielded from criminal prosecution because he was president.

As Sauer argued for Trump’s immunity, the all-female panel fired a barrage of questions for roughly 40 minutes. Their inquiries probed the nature of Trump’s actions leading up to and on January 6, with Sauer contending that these were “official” acts, and that his prior acquittal by the U.S. Senate should protect him from double jeopardy.

But the judges were skeptical of the former president’s argument that he was faithfully executing his presidential duties when he directed a mob to the Capitol to disrupt the electoral vote certification.

“I think it is paradoxical to say that his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed allows him to violate criminal law,” Henderson told Trump lawyers.

The decision of the appeals judges, including Henderson appointed under President George H. W. Bush and the others appointed by recent President Joe Biden, is anticipated to reach the U.S. Supreme Court, carrying potential implications for presidential accountability.

During the questioning, Sauer faced skepticism regarding the claim that a president’s actions, irrespective of legality, should be immune from criminal prosecution. The judges challenged scenarios, such as selling pardons or military secrets, and Trump’s defense conceded that certain actions might not be considered official acts, undermining their argument of separation of powers.

Arguing against complete presidential immunity, Assistant Special Counsel James Pearce described a potentially alarming future if presidents were entirely shielded from criminal prosecution.

In a post-hearing statement at the Waldorf Astoria hotel, Trump called for legal immunity for presidents and hinted at potential unrest from his supporters if he were prosecuted. Accusing President Biden of using federal prosecutions for political gain, Trump framed himself as a victim of political persecution.

“This is the way they’re going to try to win,” Trump said. “And that’s not the way it goes. There’ll be bedlam in the country. It’s a very bad thing, it’s a very bad precedent. As we’ve said, it’s the opening of a Pandora’s box. It’s a very sad thing that’s happened with this whole situation.”

He added: “When they talk about threat to democracy, that’s your real threat to democracy and I feel that as a president, you have to have immunity.”

The ongoing legal saga, initiated with a federal grand jury indictment in August, accuses Trump of interfering in election results and orchestrating fake electors. The indictment also outlines Trump’s pressure campaign on former Vice President Mike Pence during the certification of the 2020 election results, culminating in the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

The charges against Trump include conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding, obstruction of, and attempt to obstruct, an official proceeding, and conspiracy against rights. U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan denied Trump’s motion to dismiss the case based on presidential immunity, leading to further legal battles and uncertainties about the eventual outcome.

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