If They Can’t Make a Federal Case Out of Trump …

While the Supreme Court ruling on Monday that states cannot bar Donald Trump from appearing on their presidential ballots garnered a lot of attention, the more politically consequential decision came on Feb. 28, when the court set a hearing on Trump’s claim of presidential immunity for the week of April 22.

That delay is both a devastating blow to the Biden campaign and a major assist to Trump’s multipronged effort to minimize attention to the details of the 91 felony charges against him.

It increases the likelihood that neither of the two federal indictments against Trump will come to trial before the November election. A failure to hold at least one of these trials before Nov. 5 would undermine a key Democratic goal: to expand voters’ awareness of the dangers posed by a second Trump term.

Those trials, should they occur, are very likely to produce a flood of daily headlines and television broadcasts describing Trump’s role in the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection and his sequestering of classified government documents in his Mar-a-Lago home — a media onslaught reminiscent of the Senate Watergate hearings, which stretched out over 51 days in 1973.

“Early on, I called the federal election subversion case potentially the most important case in this nation’s history,” Richard L. Hasen, a law professor at U.C.L.A., wrote on his electionlawblog. “And now it may not happen because of timing, timing that is completely in the Supreme Court’s control. This could well be game over.”

Whether or not the trials are held before the election is crucial to the outcome, for at least two reasons.

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