@Teri_Kanefield@mastodon.social avatar

Here is Stephanie P. Jones' take on SCOTUS's decision to grant cert in the immunity case.


(She gets annoyed at a few of the influential TV lawyers.)

@Teri_Kanefield@mastodon.social avatar

For all the people saying, "Why didn't they do this in December?" That would have been the unusual move. The Court rarely steps in before the appellate court decides.

It happens, but it is rare.

Stephanie main point is that what lawyers do when they are acting like lawyers is game out possibilities.

Nobody knows what happened behind their closed door meetings.

We can guess, but we don't know.

@Teri_Kanefield@mastodon.social avatar

What I like about Stephanie is the following:

She thinks for a while before she offers a response.

The law is complicated and it's hard to see all the possibilities.

Hot takes are generally simplified and wrong, but those are what people grab on to.

She is both outspoken and compassionate and she thinks people are being cruelly manipulated by TV lawyers and their hot takes and simplified narratives.

@Teri_Kanefield@mastodon.social avatar

What bothers her is the lack of academic humility in the commentators and their inability to say, "We really don't know. We will have to wait and see. We don't have enough information yet to form a judgement."

She thinks that TV lawyers should be educating the public by laying out possibilities and explaining the complexities of the law.

@GiddingsMJ@syringa.social avatar

@Teri_Kanefield Just to note: if you listen to Mary McCord and Andrew Weissman on their podcast "Prosecuting Donald Trump", you will often hear them say they don't have enough information yet or they don't know something. Of course that isn't TV.

@Teri_Kanefield@mastodon.social avatar

@GiddingsMJ I don't know who Mary McCord is, but if Andrew Weissman said something like that, I am amazed.

I muted his name on Twitter because most of what he says is garbage.

It's possible he recognizes all the harm he did and developed some intellectual humility, but I have a hard time believing that.

He is not someone who I would listen to.

@rickmalek@mastodon.sdf.org avatar

@Teri_Kanefield @GiddingsMJ
I can't stand Weissman because of the way he treated Bob Mueller as soon as the special counsel shut down. All to make a name for himself and get his mug on MSNBC. When he comes on I switch off MSNBC. No humility. No apparent ethics.

@Teri_Kanefield@mastodon.social avatar

@rickmalek @GiddingsMJ

This might be catty of me, but I think there were good reasons he was not hired to be on the Garland / Smith team.

His arrogance that "my way is the right way and everyone should listen to me" would make him completely insufferable on a legal team.

But it plays well on TV. The same routine made him a star.

@GottaLaff@mastodon.social avatar

@Teri_Kanefield McCord seems level headed and not prone to hot takes. I may be wrong, because you spot things that I don’t. She often appears on TV too, but is more like, say, Joyce Vance, than Glenn Kirschner. @GiddingsMJ

@Teri_Kanefield@mastodon.social avatar

@GottaLaff @GiddingsMJ

I dont know who McCord is so I can't make an assessment.

I have zero respect for Weissman, but I am basing my opinion on things he did and said a few years ago.

I haven't listened to him since, so I don't know if he has gotten better.

@GiddingsMJ@syringa.social avatar
@Teri_Kanefield@mastodon.social avatar

@GiddingsMJ @GottaLaff

When I said I don't know, her I meant that I haven't read enough of her legal analysis to know if I would personally listen to her.

I cannot tell that from a resume.

I personally would never team up with Andrew Weissman, so that is a point against her 😂

If she really is good, it could be that Weissman has gotten better because of her.

I understand the problem: People want to understand what is happening.

It's complex and good lawyers recognize that.

@GottaLaff@mastodon.social avatar

@Teri_Kanefield I’d love your take on her if you ever get a chance to watch or listen to her. @GiddingsMJ

@Teri_Kanefield@mastodon.social avatar

@GottaLaff @GiddingsMJ

Two problems: I don't watch or listen. I am strictly a print person.

I would have to listen to a person for hours to get a sense of what they are like as lawyers and thinkers and I literally don't have time.

I know about Weissmann through his writings and social media postings.

@GSStamas@hachyderm.io avatar

@Teri_Kanefield There’s a lot of tribalism going on I think. Each group thinks the system is gamed, either for or against Trump. Trump thrives on this polarization, a technique he honed as a TV showman and Pro Wrestling aficionado. The hot takes pundits love this. I suspect the majority of Americans are either annoyed or unaware of most of it.

@Teri_Kanefield@mastodon.social avatar

@GSStamas This is exactly write.

A good friend just said to me privately, "The cable news viewing public doesn't understand how they are being manipulated and gamed."

@andrewjohnston@mastodon.social avatar

@Teri_Kanefield That was an excellent analysis, and I'd say that was the most compelling case for explaining, without dark forces, what happened here.

As far as media lawyers, I think we have to pound the factfinder vs. appellate level understanding of the process, so that people understand where we are in that process.

And also learn to vilify those who use the simple and highly ineffective (12-b?) motion to dismiss as media fodder

@TheSilentDawn@mastodon.social avatar

@Teri_Kanefield Thank you for writing your analysis through all this. I have found these so insightful.

mastodonmigration, (edited )
@mastodonmigration@mastodon.online avatar


Thank you for sharing this! In a nutshell she explains that had the court not taken the case, the matter would remain unresolved for the other Trump legal cases. This would have certainly resulted in additional appeals and delays in these matters. By taking the case they will answer the matter once and for all causing a delay to the DC case, but resolving it definitively.

Don't pretend to understand these matters, but really appreciate the level headed analysis.

@Teri_Kanefield@mastodon.social avatar

@mastodonmigration what I like about Stephanie is that she thinks for a while before she responds and she usually has a different viewpoint.

The law is complicated. It's hard to see all possible angles.

(She has an account here but so far hasn't been active)


@Teri_Kanefield I don’t disagree that there may be excellent legal reasons, as opposed to just trying to help Trump, to take the case, Evan arguably to have allowed the DC Circuit to hear it first. What is the non-shady rationale for waiting over two weeks to announce their grant of cert, and then to schedule argument for the end of April?

@Teri_Kanefield@mastodon.social avatar


I am not going to answer a question that asked me for "non shady" reason.

The reason: You are starting with too many biases, which indicates to me that you have been getting your news from partisan echo chambers, in which case giving you an answer to this question will not solve the underlyihng problem.

If you haven't read the series on my blog beginning "There are no yankees here" start there.

SteveThompson, (edited )
@SteveThompson@mastodon.social avatar

@Teri_Kanefield Interesting, Just posted this before seeing yours.


@misomunje@mastodon.social avatar

@Teri_Kanefield this analysis seems to ignore the fact that SCOTUS is visibly corrupt. 1 to 2 of the seats were stolen by that maga party. 3 of the 9 justices were appointed by the demagogue defendant claiming king like immunity. 2 of the republican justices accept financial favors from maga supporting billionaires.

This court doesn't deserve any respect or trust. It is the foundation of our system of law. A prognosis should include our house's foundation problems.

@KayVay@mastodon.social avatar

Oh, this was an excellent article. When the decision came, at first my heart sank but then I told myself to slow down. There’s always more to it than we know or understand.
It’s because of you, Teri (and now Stephanie) that I have learned to not take every headline at face value.
Wait, don’t speculate about things I don’t fully understand and get more in depth info.
I’m very thankful. It makes a difference and I feel more educated.

@smurthys@hachyderm.io avatar


Thanks for the link. I like Stephanie's analysis and agree with all of it except where she says the following (emphasis on "very" is mine):

"by taking this appeal now on a very expedited basis"

"Very expedited" is not what SCOTUS did: 16 days to decide, 8 weeks from then to hear, likely 8 weeks from then to rule.

@Teri_Kanefield@mastodon.social avatar

@smurthys It is expedited compared to the normal schedule, which would move the case into next year.

You think it is expedited because people on social media and cable news have pointed out the rare occasions when they have moved faster.

They actually gave Smith the second thing he asked for, an expedited schedule.

They entirely skipped the step where Trump files an a appeal. Find the pleadinds and you will see.

It is more complicated than people are led to believe.



Just wanted to say I really appreciate your posts. In a sea of hyperpolarized reactionaries, it's a breath of fresh air to have some nuance and clarity.

@castelot@ioc.exchange avatar

@Teri_Kanefield interesting assessment and one that I generally would agree with. The only hole in it is that #SCOTUS could have done this when Jack Smith originally went directly to the SC a few months ago. They must have known that it would be need to be resolved then.

@Teri_Kanefield@mastodon.social avatar

@castelot That would be an unusual move. The usual thing is to wait for the appellate court to render a decision.

It's really impossible to know what happened in their meetings. That's part of the point.

We don't know.


@Teri_Kanefield thank you.

@fogelnet@heads.social avatar

@Teri_Kanefield bookmarking for all the social media keyboard lawyers / law experts who should be keeping their mouths shut. 🤯


@Teri_Kanefield Well, I’m special. The link doesn’t work. I found her on twitter. Tried the link there & from her website. Nada. Can’t find her on substack. Oh, well.

@MaggyWells@mastodon.social avatar

@Teri_Kanefield it is all so FREAKING EXHAUSTING

@bodhipaksa@mastodon.scot avatar

@Teri_Kanefield Thanks for sharing this. Stephanie’s other articles look fascinating too and I’ll be spending some of my morning reading then.

@Teri_Kanefield@mastodon.social avatar


Stephanie is different from other lawyers you'll find on social media because she has zero interest in a large following.

in fact, she deleted all of her accounts with lots of followers before the J6 hearing because she was a lawyer advising the committee, the cameras were likely to catch her, and she didn't want a social media presence.

She doesn't care a whit about internet fame, so she just speaks her mind.

@karlauerbach@sfba.social avatar

@Teri_Kanefield I strongly disagree with Jones' analysis. Yes, it is logical. But the kind of logic that is ultimately detached from the reality of events.

By taking the case, SCOTUS is making it likely that not even one TFG criminal case will reach a verdict before the election, thus significantly increasing the chance of his re-election and the subsequent, and effectively permanent, suppression or termination of all Federal and State actions pending against him and his cronies.

Better for SCOTUS to not take the present appeal and let it stand. Better for SCOTUS to wait the speculative split of appellate opinions - a split that may never occur.

SCOTUS is assuring that zero trials and verdicts rendered before the election. A rejection by SCOTUS would have at least left the door open to at least one such judgement.

And polls suggest that the presence or absence of any actual jury conviction could swing the election.

@Teri_Kanefield@mastodon.social avatar

@karlauerbach You are making an assumption that I disagree with.

In fact, your assumption is what is driving the rage in what I all the MSNBC-CNN-left leaning social media misinformation echo chamber.

The assumption is that bringing a criminal case to trial before the election decreases the chances of Trump winning the election.

There is nothing logical about this. (I thought the Rittenhouse case would cure people of this error.)

Trials are always unpredictable . . .


@Teri_Kanefield@mastodon.social avatar


. . . particularly criminal trials where the standard of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt.

Acquittals happen. Things go wrong in trials. You can get a bad judge. You can get a few hold out jurors.

What if he's aquitted?

Second, the idea that a guilty finding will change anything is not based in reality.

He has judgements against him for fraud and sexual assault. The J6 indictment isn't nearly as sensational.

Why would a finding of criminal guilt change any minds?


@Teri_Kanefield@mastodon.social avatar


We have the findings from the J6 hearings. We have indictments and the allegations.

Trump isn't even denying what he did. He says he did nothing wrong and had the right to do everything he did.

There may be a handful of people somewhere who would say, in March of 2024, "I am definitely voting for Trump" and then seeing a finding of guilt and saying, "I am changing my mind" but how many can there be?

Enough to change the election?


@Teri_Kanefield@mastodon.social avatar


he lost by what in 2020 by what? 6 million votes?

Do you think if he isn't brought to trial he will grow in popularity?

People know him. They either love what he is or they don't.

A trial might effect the election, but we don't know how. An acquittal (it can happen) might have more of a negative effect.

Elections are about turnout. A conviction might fire up his voters even more.


18+ smitten,

@Teri_Kanefield @karlauerbach
I'm surprised by this take Teri because you usually focus on precise definitions. There was no election held where he lost by six million votes, there were multiple state elections held. He lost four of those by about 81k votes, which caused him to lose the EC.

18+ Teri_Kanefield,
@Teri_Kanefield@mastodon.social avatar

@smitten @karlauerbach

In the popular vote, he lost by 6 million votes.

I would suggest that if you don't like one of my posts, mute or block my account and move on.

I dislike being scolded or told what I should or shouldn't say.

@Teri_Kanefield@mastodon.social avatar


Bad weather on election day can also effect the election.

The issue I have with what is, at best, a questionable assumption that a criminal trial before the election will hurt Trump, is this:

That particular assumption is causing tens of thousands of MSNBC and CNN viewers to have utter panic meltdowns, which isn't good for democracy or people's mental health.

Also it makes people think that a magic bullet is needed instead of the usual hard work of an election.


@Teri_Kanefield@mastodon.social avatar


Also as a factual matter, this does not assure that zero trials happen before the election.

Not at all.

There is another trial scheduled next month in NY.

If 91 pending criminal charges, a finding of fraud, a finding of sexual assault, and everything else we know isn't enough, a conviction on a handful of those charges is unlikely to do much.

Read her piece again without your assuption. See if she made any errors in her legal analysis.


@AndyKotlarz@mastodon.social avatar

@Teri_Kanefield @karlauerbach Thanks, Teri. You have clarified a lot in this thread - at least for me.
One point that many people seem to have missed, is that SCOTUS is not there to 'stop Trump'. That's the job of the electorate. Their job is to clarify points of law.

@dalereardon@mastodon.social avatar

@Teri_Kanefield Many people or the commentators you reference at least, think a J6 conviction will then definitely disqualify him under the insurrection clause

@MaierAmsden@mastodon.social avatar

@Teri_Kanefield Most of the legal pundits I saw were more annoyed with weeks-long delays. They referenced several times when the high court moved much faster.

@Catawu@mastodon.social avatar

@Teri_Kanefield I’m just fatigued by the TV talking heads, 5 minutes after the word came down, had full blown theories, that made-for-panel-ignition, stampede us into emotional frenzy. I just turn it off now. “Breaking News”? No thanks, I’ll wait. At least on complex issues.

@gvenema@fairmove.net avatar


Question though. If the objective of SCOTUS is to now decide this immunity claim nationally, why did they then refuse the earlier request by Jack Smiths team? That seems a bit random.

Also, if the object is to be an appellate court to decide on differences between states, then why didn't they hold off until such a difference actually presented itself?

Thirdly, will it actually matter much? Trumps team will undoubtedly find newer narrower immunity claims after a decision.

@Teri_Kanefield@mastodon.social avatar

@gvenema it's very unusual for a court to take a case before the appellate court has ruled. The normal course of things is to let the appellate court rule and then take the case.

The briefing explained it.

@elaterite@fosstodon.org avatar

@Teri_Kanefield She makes great points regarding the other cases. I'll be interested to hear what the four "sisters" have to say on their podcast tomorrow.

@peteriskrisjanis@toot.lv avatar

@Teri_Kanefield I feel way too many people pin hopes on justice system to stop him. It can have an impact, yes, but so does court proceedings near elections. Him being arrested wouldn't stop elections.

@mastodonmigration@mastodon.online avatar

@peteriskrisjanis @Teri_Kanefield

Agreed. The courts will not save us. We, the people, will have to do that.

@drizzy@cyberplace.social avatar

@Teri_Kanefield hmm, that link is now dead. Or rather it looks like WordPress installation has been reset/lost. If you have a contact maybe let them know?

Edit: nevermimd, works now

@Teri_Kanefield@mastodon.social avatar

@drizzy Try again. I think too many people clicked at once.


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