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Retired federal judge with conservative leanings urges Supreme Court to disqualify Trump from office

Retired conservative federal judge J. Michael Luttig, known for his conservative views, is urging the Supreme Court to bar Donald Trump from future ballots. Luttig contends that Trump’s actions following his 2020 election loss were tantamount to a broader insurrection than South Carolina’s secession during the Civil War. In a friend-of-the-court brief filed Monday, Luttig asserted that Trump’s efforts to undermine President Biden’s authority constituted an armed insurrection against the Constitution’s mandates for a peaceful transfer of power.

Luttig, a former judge on the 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals, has been vocal about Trump’s alleged role in inciting the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot. He argues that Trump’s conduct disqualifies him under Section 3 of the Constitution. This section, emerging from the Civil War era, prohibits insurrectionists from holding office.

The Supreme Court recently agreed to review a decision by the Colorado Supreme Court, which removed Trump from the state’s 2024 ballot. The Colorado court invoked the 14th Amendment’s ban on insurrectionists in its ruling. Luttig, along with other notable lawyers like conservative attorney George Conway, urges the high court to interpret Section 3 through a textualist lens, emphasizing its historical context.

The brief rebuts Trump’s argument that enforcement of the 14th Amendment’s insurrectionist ban should occur only after a candidate is elected. Luttig and his associates argue that courts have the authority to enforce this provision. They caution that Trump’s presence on a ballot could deprive voters of making informed decisions and lead to post-election chaos.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments on February 8. Luttig’s brief underscores the significance of interpreting Section 3 in light of the country’s history and the constitutional imperatives it embodies.

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