Supreme Court immunity ruling is ‘a big win’ for Donald Trump, expert explains

The Supreme Court issued a mixed ruling Monday after hearing the case for former President Donald Trump’s immunity from prosecution on charges he plotted to overturn his 2020 election loss. 

Here is a breakdown of what the Supreme Court’s ruling said:

  • Former presidents have immunity from prosecution for official acts committed while in office.
  • Former presidents do not have immunity from prosecution for unofficial acts committed while in office.
  • A lower court must decide where some of Trump’s actions in special counsel Jack Smith's indictment fall under that umbrella.

The justices did knock out one aspect of the indictment – the opinion found Trump is "absolutely immune" from prosecution for alleged conduct involving discussions with the Justice Department.

RELATED: Biden says Supreme Court ruling on immunity means 'no limits' on presidential actions

Trump is also "at least presumptively immune" from allegations that he tried to pressure Vice President Mike Pence to reject certification of Democrat Joe Biden's electoral vote win on Jan. 6, 2021. Prosecutors can try to make the case that Trump's pressure on Pence still can be part of the case against him, Supreme Court Justice John Roberts wrote.

READ MORE: Supreme Court sends Trump immunity case back to lower court

Attorney Seth Berenzweig spoke with LiveNOW from FOX and said to think of these varying zones of immunity like a dart board. 

"You have the red target in the middle, and then you have things that kind of go out from that zone peripherally. What the Chief Justice did, which I believe is a big win for former President Trump, is he created a limited zone of absolute executive immunity," he said. 

Berenzweig added that he was surprised the majority said the acts involving the Justice Department were off limits. 

"That is something that is a big win for the president," he said. 

FILE - Former US President Donald Trump during a campaign event at the Liacouras Center at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US, on Saturday, June 22, 2024. Photographer: Hannah Beier/Bloomberg via Getty Images

"His legal team didn't expect absolute executive immunity; there was no way that that was going to happen. But he got some wins today. He didn't get huge wins, but he got tangible wins," Berenzweig continued. 

Supreme Court dissent

Berenzweig believes the language of the dissent suggests a win for Trump as well. 

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote, "The Court gives former President Trump all the immunity he asked for and more. Because our Constitution does not shield a former President from answering for criminal and treasonous acts, I dissent."

After recalling that wording, Berenzweig said, "I'll say that I think that's a little bit over the top, and I think that's a little bit of an exaggeration, but it is a really big deal. They are recognizing that there was a win inside of this opinion here for President Trump."

Trump himself also reacted to the news by saying the decision was a "big win for our constitution and democracy." 

RELATED: Trump reacts to Supreme Court ruling in presidential immunity case

What’s next?

Back to the dart board reference, Berenzweig said the Court "created basically a varying bullseye" and it’s now up to U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan to figure out how to apply the decision to Trump’s case.

"So now you have the fate and the weight of this historic moment going back to a federal U.S. district court judge here in Washington, D.C.," Berenzweig said. "And what she does next is going to be under the microscope."

This story was reported from Detroit. The Associated Press contributed.