Trump Faces Supreme Court Deadline on Claim of Absolute Immunity

Former President Donald J. Trump is expected to file a last-ditch effort on Monday in the Supreme Court to press his claim of total immunity from criminal prosecution.

When a federal appeals court last week rejected the claim, it temporarily paused its ruling, saying it would return the case to the trial court on Monday, allowing Judge Tanya S. Chutkan to restart proceedings in the case that had been frozen during the appeal. But the appeals court added that it would extend the pause until the Supreme Court rules — if Mr. Trump asks the justices to intervene by filing an application for a stay with them by Monday.

That makes it virtually certain that Mr. Trump will file such an application in the coming hours, meaning that the Supreme Court will soon be poised to determine whether and how fast his federal trial on charges that he tried to subvert the 2020 election will proceed.

It has several options. It could deny a stay, which would restart the trial. It could grant a brief stay and then deny a petition seeking review, which would effectively reject Mr. Trump’s immunity argument and let the appeals court’s ruling stand.

It could hear his appeal on a fast track, as it is doing in a separate case on Mr. Trump’s eligibility to hold office. Or it could hear the case on the usual schedule, which would most likely delay any trial past the election.

Timing, in other words, is everything. Unless the justices move quickly, the trial could be pushed into the heart of the 2024 campaign, or even past the election.

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