Trump’s Case Will Result in ‘One of the Most Consequential Supreme Court Decisions’ in American History, Former Judge Forecasts

“Section 3 of the 14th Amendment simply could not be any clearer that the former president is disqualified from the presidency, as the Colorado Supreme Court held,” former federal judge Michael Luttig told MSNBC’s Ali Velshi on the third anniversary of January 6.

Supreme Court steps in

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Luttig’s arguments came just a day after the U.S. Supreme Court decided it would hear former President Trump’s appeal of the Colorado ruling that saw him barred from the state ballot under the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment for citing insurrection against the government.

Court will try to avoid a controversial decision

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The former judge said he has spent the last three years studying the Amendment and believes the federal high court, which currently has a Republican majority, will “likely look for every legitimate way possible” to avoid an opinion on whether the GOP presidential frontrunner Trump can be disqualified from running for office again.

Can’t get out of it

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But Luttig said there are “very few, if any, off-ramps” that would allow the federal Supreme Court to avoid making that decision. The nation’s highest court is expected to hear oral arguments in the case on February 8.

Civil War provision

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The 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause was adopted following the U.S. Civil War to prohibit former Confederate officers from holding federal office. The Amendment’s third section says no person “having previously taken an oath” can hold office if they “have engaged in insurrection or rebellion.”

Authoritarian Trump

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Luttig previously argued against claims that the Colorado Supreme Court’s decisions were “anti-democratic,” instead claiming Trump’s conduct that prompted his removal from the ballot was anti-democratic.

Depending on their decision

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“What the American public is going to come to understand is that the Constitution of the United States is what will forbid the former President from … holding the office of the presidency again, if that’s the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States,” Luttig said on the January 6 anniversary.

No question in his mind

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“So that is not a question … that’s open to the American people,” he continued. “The Constitution, the United States has settled this issue, beginning with the ratification of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment in 1868, provided that that’s what the Supreme Court of the United States holds.”

Planning ahead

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The judge suggested that “framers of the 14th Amendment envisioned precisely this moment”—when a president would resist relinquishing power after losing an election. He said the Amendment’s disqualification clause is “perhaps the most democratic provision” in the Constitution.

Historic decision

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“This will be one of the most consequential Supreme Court decisions for both American democracy and for American politics since the founding of the nation,” he said.

Trump leading the pack

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Former President Trump is the frontrunner in the GOP’s presidential primaries by double-digits, with a wide lead over rivals Ron DeSantis, Nikki Haley, Chris Christie, and Vivek Ramaswamy.


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