Turley op-ed says Supreme Court 'downgraded' Jan 6 to 'trespassing'

By Jen Krausz on
 July 1, 2024

Jonathan Turley feels vindicated by the Supreme Court's 6-3 ruling striking down the use of a 2001 statute to charge hundreds of January 6 defendants with obstruction of a legal proceeding.

In a new op-ed in The Hill, Turley said the Supreme Court's ruling in Fischer V. U.S. downgraded the breach of the Capitol on January 6, 2021 from the "insurrection" the media has trumpeted to mere trespassing.

Hundreds of January 6 defendants will now see the obstruction charges against them dropped--and one of those defendants is former President Donald Trump.

The court said the obstruction statute, created after the Enron scandal to apply to the destruction of official documents and records, was used incorrectly by the Justice Department to make the events of that day seem more serious and justify the use of the term insurrection.

"Decades in prison"

The “novel interpretation would criminalize a broad swath of prosaic conduct, exposing activists and lobbyists alike to decades in prison,” the majority opinion in the case read.

Along with Turley, I feel vindicated in calling January 6 the Capitol "breach" instead of a riot or insurrection.

While the conduct of those who entered the Capitol that day was obviously wrong, a trespassing or unlawful entry charge is more appropriate to their actions.

Other protesters who enter public buildings are not charged with obstruction, and the official action of that day to certify the electoral votes was not stopped, only delayed by the protesters' actions.

The narrative

It's clear that the "insurrection" narrative was only pushed to give Democrats an electoral advantage or to try to keep Trump off the ballot, and the public is seeing through the effort.

A Washington Post poll released last week shows that more voters see President Joe Biden as a threat to democracy than Trump despite the constant drumbeat of Democrats that democracy will be over if Trump gets re-elected.

In the poll, 44% said Trump would do a better job of protecting democracy than Biden. Only 33% thought Biden would do better at protecting democracy.

Obviously, voters distrust the media, as well they should. Trump would have little support otherwise, and his election in 2024 will count on voters' skepticism.

"A bit late"

For the defendants who have already been convicted on obstruction charges and served time, the ruling and the skepticism of the media's "insurrection" narrative may be "a bit late," Turley said.

In fact, they may be looking for a remedy.

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