Retired Federal Judge Pleads with SCOTUS to Disqualify Trump

( – Colorado tried to do it, then Maine, then a number of other states. Now, a retired conservative federal judge is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to kick former president Donald Trump off the 2024 presidential ballot.

J. Michael Luttig filed a “friend of the court” brief with SCOTUS on January 29th urging the high court to disqualify Trump on the grounds that he participated in an “insurrection.” Luttig’s language is very confident, even though Trump has not been charged with, nor convicted of, “insurrection.”

The arguments to remove Trump from presidential ballots rest on an interpretation of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. That amendment, passed after the Civil War to ensure that Confederate operatives did not hold certain public offices, has never been used to disqualify a candidate for president until now. Legal scholars disagree, but the majority seem to believe the amendment does not properly apply to the office of the President.

Luttig’s brief claims Donald Trump participated in an “insurrection” on January 6, 2021, through his alleged efforts to hold on to the Presidency after the 2020 election. Trump famously disputed Joe Biden’s apparent victory and urged his supporters to protest “peacefully and patriotically” at the Capitol. A riot ensued in the Capital building that day.

Luttig claims Trump tried to stop Biden from “governing anywhere in the United States,” and that Trump’s actions were more consequential than South Carolina seceding from the union, which was a precursor to the Civil War.

Formerly a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, Luttig claims that Trump not only incited “an armed insurrection,” but also participated in it. The goal, he claims, was to stop the “peaceful transfer of executive power” to Joe Biden in 2021. By doing this, Luttig claims, Trump has made himself ineligible to run for the presidency.

The retired judge has long been a Trump critic and a proponent of the legal theory that Trump violated the insurrection clause in the Constitution. Luttig’s tweets are said to have helped then-Vice President Mike Pence resist demands from Trump to prevent Joe Biden’s certification.

SCOTUS will be hearing oral arguments on February 8th about the various efforts to strike Trump from state presidential ballots under the 14th Amendment.

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