Trump May Benefit from Ginsburg Opinion in New York Fraud Case

The late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s opinion may be helpful to former President Donald Trump in his appeal of the $454 million civil fraud verdict against him in New York.

Ginsburg penned the majority ruling in Timbs v. Indiana in February 2019, and the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that the states are covered by the Eighth Amendment.

The $42,000 Land Rover owned by defendant Tyson Timbs was to be seized by Indiana, but the judges decided against the state because the fine was “grossly disproportionate” to the seriousness of the conduct.

According to the Independent Journal Review, Timbs was found guilty of conspiring to commit theft and possession of controlled narcotics, and the value of the Land Rover exceeded the $10,000 maximum penalties for that offense.

“The Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause is an incorporated protection applicable to the States under the Fourteenth Amendment’s Due Process Clause,” the court determined.

“The prohibition embodied in the Excessive Fines Clause carries forward protections found in sources from Magna Carta to the English Bill of Rights to state constitutions from the colonial era to the present day,” Ginsburg stated in the courtroom. “Protection against excessive fines has been a constant shield throughout Anglo-American history for good reason: Such fines undermine other liberties.”

Such fines “may be used, e.g., to retaliate against or chill the speech of political enemies,” Ginsburg continued.

In an attempt to refute Judge Arthur Engoron’s conclusion that the former president lied about his wealth while building the real estate enterprise that propelled him to fame and the presidency, Trump has filed an appeal of the New York civil fraud decision.

In a notice of appeal sent on Monday, Trump’s attorneys requested that the state’s intermediate appeals court reverse Engoron’s decision from February 16 in the case brought by New York Attorney General Letitia James.

In their letter, the lawyers requested that the appeals court determine if Engoron “committed errors of law and/or fact” and whether he misused his authority.

In July 2016, Ginsburg stated to The New York Times, “I can’t imagine what this place would be — I can’t imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president.”

“It might take the nation four years. It might be for the court, but I don’t even want to think about that,” she remarked.

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