Presidents have operated without the threat of criminal prosecution throughout our nation’s entire history. Except once. When President Biden took office, he purported to discover both the authority and the apparent need to jail his past and future political rival. That was unprecedented, and today, the Supreme Court clarified instances when criminal laws (i.e., the legislature) may not cripple the executive.

In Trump v. United States, the criminal case primarily about “alternate” or “fake” electors plans, the Supreme Court held that presidents are absolutely immune from criminal prosecution regarding activities within their “core” presidential power, like granting pardons. They are prosecutable for official activities outside these core areas, but only if the government can establish that prosecution would leave the presidential office capable (and not neutered for fear of criminal consequence). So, there’s line-drawing required for any criminal prosecution of a past president’s activity. Was the “bad” act a core activity? Was it an official or personal activity? Would prosecution harm the executive branch generally?

For Trump, we don’t have the answers to many of these questions. We know that his consulting the Department of Justice to investigate potential election fraud is a core executive function. Whether Trump’s motive was sufficiently pure is irrelevant – as prosecutors could always allege improper motive to dissolve presidential immunity. The question is whether the act of asking the DOJ to investigate crime is protected, and it is. Asking the vice president not to certify the election is not a core presidential function, but such discussion is still within his duties as president. The question then becomes whether criminal prosecution “would pose any dangers of intrusion on the authority and functions of the Executive Branch.”

This all makes good sense. Of course the president isn’t above the law, but at the same time, the law (i.e., the legislature) cannot be weaponized to eviscerate the presidency. We have three co-equal branches of government, and Congress can’t gobble up the executive branch. It’s a delicate balance.

And yet prepare yourself for a media doomsday, spurred by the dissent. The dissent, written by Justice Sotomayor, complains that, as of today, the “President is now a king above the law.” This is absurd. For one, presidents remain liable for their personal conduct; we’re just talking about official duties. And presidents still remain liable for acts in their official duties, too – but not so much liability that it would cripple the presidency.

Second, it’s unclear why giving the executive more prosecutorial power lessens the danger of a too-powerful executive. Logically, it would increase it. That is, let’s say a president does something awful in office, as Justice Sotomayor insinuates. A bad-acting president, in Justice Sotomayor’s world, would do anything to stay in power. That type of desperation, knowing that the next person will crush you, creates terrible incentives.

The majority isn’t thrilled about the dissent’s radical hyperbole, accusing the dissent of “strik[ing] a tone of chilling doom that is wholly disproportionate to what the Court actually does today.” “The dissents’ positions in the end boil down to … fear mongering on the basis of extreme hypotheticals,” Chief Justice Roberts writes.

It’s true. But it’s not surprising.

We’ve grown used to hyperbolic language from the political left, like Hillary Clinton explaining that President Trump is worse than Hitler and President Biden calling Trump voters semi-fascists who threaten the republic. This isn’t true, and it isn’t healthy. Americans want to lower the temperature, find common ground, and build a strong, secure, and peaceful future.

The dissenting justices on the Supreme Court had an opportunity to model disagreement in a way that builds that future. They chose not to. By using their positions of power to mimic MSNBC meltdowns, we sprint into a dark unknown of division and distrust. Americans are worse off for it.