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Scotus Hands Down Huge Decision Affecting J6 Defendants

The Supreme Court has taken a judicial katana to a statute that federal prosecutors weaponized to go after those who participated in the January 6 incident. The question before the court was whether the “obstruction of an official proceeding” statute could be used in how the Justice Department weaponized it to go after hundreds of January 6 defendants.

As SCOTUS Blog covered in April, the plaintiff, Joseph Fischer, a former police officer, argued that the statute only pertained to evidence tampering in a congressional investigation. During oral arguments, justices weren’t convinced by the government’s interpretation, arguing that it could cast too much of a net.

In a 6-3 opinion, the Supreme Court handed down a massive blow to federal prosecutors, concluding, per SCOTUS Blog’s Amy Howe, that for the statute to be used in this way, there must be evidence to the fact that “the defendant impaired the availability or integrity for use in an official proceeding of records.” In a blow to the narrative that the Supreme Court is rogue and right-wing, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson joined the majority. Justice Amy Coney Barrett dissented (via SCOTUS Blog):

The court holds that to prove a violation of the law, the government must show that the defendant impaired the availability or integrity for use in an official proceeding of records, documents, objects, or other things used in an official proceeding, or attempted to do so.

The court reverses the D.C. Circuit, which had adopted a broader reading of the law to allow the charges against Fischer to go forward. The case now goes back to the D.C. Circuit — which, the court says, can assess whether the indictment can still stand in light of this new and narrower interpretation.

Justice Jackson, who joined the majority opinion, also has a concurring opinion. She stresses that despite “the shocking circumstances involved in this case,” the “Court’s task is to determine what conduct is proscribed by the criminal statute that has been invoked as the basis for the obstruction charge at issue here.”

The full opinion can be read here.

The decision is a huge win for some 300 January 6 defendants who had their lives upended by a partisan, corrupt, and overreaching Biden Justice Department who have treated these people like an unholy mix of the Rosenbergs, Aldrich Ames, and Robert Hanssen.

As previously stated, Amy wrote had an excellent write-up on how this case finally ended up before the Supreme Court:

The court’s decision in Fischer’s case could affect charges against more than 300 other Jan. 6 defendants. It could also affect the proceedings in the case brought by Special Counsel Jack Smith against former President Donald Trump in a federal court in Washington, D.C.

Fischer was arrested in 2021 and charged with assaulting police officers. Prosecutors say that he urged rioters to “charge” and was part of the mob that pushed the police, but Fischer maintains that he was only inside the Capitol for a few minutes and was pushed into the police line by the crowd.

Fischer was also charged with violating a federal law, 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2), enacted as part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act in the wake of the Enron scandal. The law makes it a crime to “otherwise obstruct[], influence[], or impede[] any official proceeding.”

A federal district judge dismissed the charge under Section 1512(c)(2). U.S. District Judge Carl Nichols relied on another case involving a Jan. 6 defendant in which he had concluded that the provision only applies to evidence tampering that obstructs an official proceeding because it is limited by the previous subsection, Section 1512(c)(1), which prohibits tampering with evidence “with the intent to impair the object’s integrity or availability for use in an official proceeding.”

A federal appeals court reversed Nichols’ ruling and reinstated the charge against Fischer. Fischer came to the Supreme Court, which agreed to take up his case.

As noted above, the Fischer case leeches into the indictment that Special Counsel Jack Smith filed against former President Donald Trump over his alleged role in the January 6 incident. Today’s ruling struck a major blow to the foundations of this case, but we still need to wait to hear how the court rules on presidential immunity to see if these cases collapse.

Law professor Jonathan Turley elaborated further that this decision ripped the wings of Smith’s case, adding that there might be a way to keep this indictment together, but it’s being held by duct tape. The trespass charges aren’t touched, but hundreds of these arguably politically motivated and bogus charges for the defendants must be reviewed.

According to Chief Justice John Roberts, Monday is the last day before summer recess starts, and the final decisions will be read at 9:30 a.m.

READ 5 COMMENTS
  • James Leamons says:

    Sorry Jan6 defendants. So so sorry this had to go to the Supreme Court. My advice to you is; SUE EVERYBODY. EVERYBODY…

  • See more says:

    Release all the Jan 6 protesters. Pelosi was responsible for this. They were invited in by Capitol police. They had no right to convict and send these people to prison. They even arrested people that didn’t go into Capitol. RELEASE THEM NOW!!!!

  • Irishgal says:

    I never understood how they could charge Trespassing- when it is the Peoples house AND that Capitol Police OPENED the doors, some ushered, guided in, assisted in what look like they were giving tours- not one officer stopped any while inside. The Shaman tape proves and show the police showing him around. So, how is it trespassing when they were invited in?! Release the tapes Speaker Johnson as you promised!!!! 202 225 4000 There are STILL people locked up just waiting to find out what they are being charged with! The grandma who was locked up for being in the building for less than 10min, said a prayer and went back out! (serving 9mo?). Those who were charged and now MUST be released should SUE! Pelosi’s laptop should be confiscated!

  • Dave C. says:

    The House of Representatives need to look closely at bringing charges up against Pelosi. Through her own taped admission, she stated they failed to do their job correctly on January 6 .

  • tressa says:

    So Nasty Nancy is the responsible person who didn’t do her job properly! Hope those who were arrested sue her since she so rich doing inside trading and god knows what else!
    Time to pay the piper Nasty Pelosi!

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