Here is some of the legal news making the headlines this week:

House Republicans impeached Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. 

  • The measure passed the House by a vote of 214-213, along party lines, with no Democratic support. (Three Republicans voted against impeachment, while two Republicans and two Democrats did not vote.) Mayorkas is just the second Cabinet official to be impeached in U.S. history. In 1876, Secretary of War William Belknap was impeached over corruption allegations.
  • The articles of impeachment accused Mayorkas of “willfully and systemically refus[ing] to comply with Federal immigration laws” and “breach[ing] the public trust.” According to the articles, Mayorkas’s actions have had “calamitous consequences for the Nation and the people of the United States,” and he has “made false statements…and…obstructed lawful oversight of the Department of Homeland Security.”
  • Democrats in Congress have criticized the impeachment as “constitutionally baseless.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Mayorkas’s impeachment was “a new low for House Republicans.” He continued, “House Republicans failed to present any evidence of anything resembling an impeachable offense.” House Republicans will next present their case against Mayorkas to the Senate, where they will need two-thirds of the Democratic-controlled chamber to vote to convict him.

Former President Donald Trump petitioned the Supreme Court to temporarily freeze proceedings in his election subversion case while litigation continues on the question of a former president’s immunity from criminal prosecution.

  • Last week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that former presidents, including Trump, are not absolutely immune from criminal prosecution. The unanimous circuit court panel wrote, “For the purpose of this criminal case, former President Trump has become citizen Trump, with all of the defenses of any other criminal defendant. But any executive immunity that may have protected him while he served as President no longer protects him against this prosecution.”
  • In the Supreme Court filing, Trump’s lawyers called the circuit court’s ruling “an unprecedented and unacceptable departure from ordinary appellate procedures,” and asked the justices to block the decision from going into effect while he appeals it. In support of the request, Trump’s legal team argued the Supreme Court is likely to grant review of the circuit court’s ruling and overturn it, and Trump would suffer irreparable harm without intervention. His lawyers wrote, “The D.C. Circuit’s order…threatens immediate irreparable injury to the First Amendment interests of President Trump and tens of millions of American voters, who are entitled to hear President Trump’s campaign message as they decide how to cast their ballots in November.”
  • In his court filing, special counsel Jack Smith urged the justices to deny Trump’s request to delay the proceedings. Smith wrote, “Delay in the resolution of these charges threatens to frustrate the public interest in a speedy and fair verdict — a compelling interest in every criminal case and one that has unique national importance here, as it involves federal criminal charges against a former president for alleged criminal efforts to overturn the results of the presidential election, including through the use of official power.”