Light Wave


Luttig: Trump ‘disqualified himself’ from 2024 ballot

By Jake Beardslee · January 30, 2024

In brief…

  • Retired judge argues Supreme Court should bar Trump from ballot per 14th Amendment
  • Says textualist approach shows Section 3 applies to Jan 6 insurrection
  • Rejects claims 14th Amendment outdated or barring Trump anti-democratic
  • Amicus brief aims to refute key arguments of Trump's legal team
  • Colorado first barred Trump citing 14th Amendment; Supreme Court hearing case in Feb
Retired federal judge J. Michael Luttig filed an amicus brief stating the Supreme Court should use a textualist interpretation of the 14th Amendment to bar former President Trump from appearing on the 2024 ballot.  DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Jette Carr/Wikimedia

In an amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court, retired federal judge J. Michael Luttig argued that the justices should take a “textualist” approach when they hear arguments next month regarding former President Trump’s disqualification from appearing on the Colorado ballot. Luttig contends Trump is barred under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment due to his alleged role in the January 6, 2021 insurrection, stating that Trump “disqualified himself under Section 3.”

According to Luttig, “The ‘textualist’s touchstone’ is to give every constitutional provision its ‘fair meaning.’” He states that provisions like Section 3 are part of the “supreme Law of the Land,” not “inferior law.” While some claim the 14th Amendment no longer applies, Luttig disagrees, arguing the insurrection challenged the transition of power to President Biden nationwide, not just in one state.

Luttig also counters the claim that barring Trump from the ballot is anti-democratic, stating that the Constitution has other limits on who can run and that the popular vote often favors losing candidates, showing Americans don’t have absolute power over the presidency. He concludes that provisions like Section 3 “are not improperly anti-democratic, but rather they set forth foundational rules of the Republic adopted by the People.”