Supreme Court Drops Bombshell After Debate

It has come to light that the Supreme Court on Friday ruled in favor of a former police officer who is seeking to throw out an obstruction charge for joining the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021 via NBC News.



The justices in a 6-3 vote on nonideological lines handed a victory to defendant Joseph Fischer, who is among hundreds of Jan. 6 defendants including former President Donald Trump — who have been charged with obstructing an official proceeding over the effort to prevent Congress’ certification of President Joe Biden’s election victory.

It is noted that the court concluded that the law, enacted in 2002 as part of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act after the Enron accounting scandal, was only intended to apply to more limited circumstances involving forms of evidence tampering, not the much broader array of situations that prosecutors had claimed it covered.

The court sent the case back to lower courts for further proceedings on whether the Justice Department could still prosecute Fischer under the new interpretation of the law.

Attorney General Merrick Garland stated in a statement that he was disappointed by the decision because of the impact it would have on the Justice Department’s Jan. 6 cases, although he stressed it would not affect the bulk of them.

The ruling “limits an important federal statute that the department has sought to use to ensure that those most responsible for that attack face appropriate consequences,” he added.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion that the government’s view of the law’s reach “defies the most plausible understanding” of the statute in question, 18 U.S. Code 1512. The provision carries a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

The Justice Department’s interpretation would “criminalize a broad swath of prosaic conduct, exposing activists and lobbyists alike to decades in prison,” he added.

To prove a violation, prosecutors now have to show that the defendant “impaired the availability or integrity for use in an official proceeding of records, documents, objects, or … other things used in the proceeding,” Roberts wrote.

Barry Russell
Barry Russell
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