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Ty Cobb on Sotomayor dissent: 'A lot of screaming and no analysis'

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Former Trump White House attorney Ty Cobb criticized Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s dissent on the high court’s presidential immunity ruling, calling it a “little hysterical.”

“So, I thought her dissent was a little hysterical, and it really offered no analysis, a lot of…screaming, no analysis, and I think that was unfortunate,” Cobb said Monday in an interview on CNN.

In a 6-3 ruling Monday, the Supreme Court handed down a ruling that presidents have absolute immunity for actions that fall within the core responsibilities of their office and are “at least presumptively immune” for all other official acts.

Sotomayor, in a forceful 30-page dissent, said the Supreme Court’s decision granting former President Trump immunity for official acts “completely insulate[s] presidents from criminal liability.” She was joined by fellow liberal Justices Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson.

The dissent listed off a series of hypothetical crimes that presidents could potentially be shielded from under the ruling, such as ordering the Navy’s Seal Team 6 to assassinate a political rival.

Cobb said he was “disappointed” Justice Elena Kagan did not write a dissent that “sharply focused on the separation of powers issues,” which he said are the “core issues.”

“You can’t design a rule that is solely about Trump without putting the democracy at risk and eliminating some of the restraints that have historically gotten us through 250 years. Separation of powers is the cornerstone of the Constitution,” Cobb said. “And as much as I wish Trump would get his comeuppance that is due for his evil conduct, the reality is you just can’t go out and have a result-oriented effort by the Supreme Court.”

“It needs to be based on principle and precedent and I think for the most part, I was disappointed that Justice Sotomayor didn’t address at all the separation of powers issue, which is what the case was decided on,” he added.

Cobb said he largely expected the high court would “draw a line” with the official acts pertaining to a president

“That was pretty clear from the oral argument and from the precedents they were working with, particularly U.S. versus Nixon and Fitzgerald, that that line would have something to do with the official acts, that they were going to do something like that,” Cobb said, in reference to the two Supreme Court cases involving former President Nixon.

Nixon v. Fitzgerald dealt with presidential immunity from civil liability for actions taken while in office, while U.S. v. Nixon addressed whether a president has executive privilege in immunity from subpoenas or other civil court actions, which it ruled they do not.

Cobb said he was a bit “disappointed” and “confused” by the portion of the majority opinion regarding the use of the president’s official acts as evidence in criminal prosecution against a former president.

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the majority, ruled a former president’s official acts are protected against being introduced as evidence in a criminal case against a former president.

“But they were always going to draw a constitutional line here or separation of powers line and they…drew it and it’s a tight line, but it’s not a line that eliminates this case,” Cobb said. “Jack Smith can process.

The ruling was considered a win for former President Trump as he stares down a federal criminal election subversion case, brought by special counsel Jack Smith.

The decision is likely to delay the trial, first sending the case back to a lower court to determine whether his actions on Jan. 6, 2021, merit protection from criminal prosecution for decisions made while in the White House.

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