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Former judge: Constitution, not politics, could disqualify Trump from Office

By Jake Beardslee · December 24, 2023

In brief…

  • Former judge says Constitution, not politics, could disqualify Trump from office
  • Praises Colorado court's use of 14th Amendment to bar Trump from ballot
  • Says Supreme Court decision would also be based on Constitution, not partisan motives
  • Believes it's impossible for Supreme Court to interpret 14th Amendment differently
A former federal judge stated that if Trump is barred from office due to the 14th Amendment, it will be because of the Constitution itself rather than partisan politics or other extrajudicial factors.  Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia

A former federal judge stated that if former President Donald Trump is disqualified from holding future office, it will be due to the Constitution, not President Biden or Democrats.

J. Michael Luttig, an informal advisor to former Vice President Mike Pence, said in an MSNBC interview on Saturday that the Colorado Supreme Court’s recent decision to bar Trump from the state’s primary ballot was not politically motivated. “It is a natural and expected reaction by all Americans to think in terms of politics, but upon thinking about it seriously, I think it’s crystal clear,” Luttig stated.

He explained that the court relied on a confined interpretation of ‘insurrection’” from the 14th Amendment to reasonably conclude that the presidency qualifies as an “office” of the U.S. Luttig praised the ruling and said it would be “impossible” for the Supreme Court to interpret the 14th Amendment differently if it hears an expected appeal from Trump’s attorneys.

“This is not politics. This is the Constitution of the United States,” Luttig emphasized. “And [the case] poses for the Supreme Court of the United States a pure question of constitutional law. The Supreme Court of the United States is never to consider extrajudicial factors or considerations, such as partisan politics, or even politics writ large.”

The Colorado court determined that Trump was responsible for the January 6 Capitol attack and should be barred from office under the 14th Amendment, which prohibits insurrectionists from holding office. Trump’s lawyers argued he is not covered by the amendment.