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SCOTUS Rules on J6 Case

State of the Union: How this may impact the former president’s case remains to be seen.
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The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned the DOJ’s use of 1512(c)(2), obstruction of an official proceeding, in cases against the January 6 riot defendants. Obstruction charges have also been made against the former President Donald Trump.

The justices ruled 6–3 that in order to charge defendants with obstruction, there must be proof that they tried to tamper with or destroy documents. Not all of those involved in J6 have those qualifications.


The case focused on the former Pennsylvania police officer Joseph Fischer, who had been indicted for disrupting Congress’ certification of the election at the Capitol. He is among around 350 people who have been charged with obstruction. 

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the court’s opinion, joined by the conservative Justices Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, and Clarence Thomas, and also by liberal Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson. Justice Amy Coney Barrett dissented, along with Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor.

The U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, responsible for J6 prosecutions, stated that individuals convicted of or charged with obstruction will not be absolved entirely due to the ruling. According to prosecutors, each defendant also faces additional felony or misdemeanor charges, or both.

According to the Associated Press, “For around 50 people who were convicted, obstruction was the only felony count, prosecutors said. Of those, roughly two dozen who still are serving their sentence are most likely to be affected by the ruling.”

As of now, it is still unclear how this decision may impact the case against the former president in Washington. Special counsel Jack Smith has, however, stated Trump’s charges will not be affected.