Former federal judge: Trump’s violation of 14th amendment ‘couldn’t be any clearer’

Former federal judge: Trump’s violation of 14th amendment ‘couldn’t be any clearer’

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Former federal judge Michael Luttig argued Saturday that former President Trump’s violation of the 14th Amendment “couldn’t be any clearer.”

“Section three 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,” Luttig told MSNBC’s Ali Velshi on Saturday, the third anniversary of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

His argument comes just one day after the Supreme Court decided it would look into the Colorado decision on whether Trump could be disqualified from appearing on the state’s primary ballot for his actions related to the insurrection.

Luttig, who said he has spent the last three years studying the amendment, believes the high court — which currently leans Republican — will “likely look for every legitimate way possible” to avoid an opinion on whether Trump can be disqualified from running for office again.

However, Luttig said, there are “very few, if any, off ramps” that would allow the nation’s highest court to avoid making that decision.

The Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments in the case on Feb. 8.

The 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause prohibits anyone from holding office if they have “engaged in insurrection” after previously taking an oath to support the Constitution.

Luttig previously argued that the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision is not “anti-democratic,” but rather Trump’s conduct that prompted the disqualification was anti-democratic.

“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 Saturday.

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

Luttig suggested that the “framers of the 14th Amendment envisioned precisely this moment” — or when a president would attempt to remain in power after losing an election. He said the disqualification clause is “perhaps the most democratic provision” in the Constitution.

“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.

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