trump tells a joke…Knock, knock Who’s there? Me Me who? I just told ya dummy! It’s me
Trump tries again…Knock, knock Who’s there? Me Mr. Trump? What?
This is not the resume of a crackpot. Former federal Judge Michael Luttig is a lifelong, and many people consider a brilliant conservative lawyer and jurist. He was appointed to the federal bench by then President George H W Bush. President George W Bush twice had him on his short list to appoint to the Supreme Court.
He’s so good that his long time friend Justice Antonin Scalia used to call him to banter back and forth constitutional issues for a case under SCOTUS consideration. And when Trump turned the flame up on VP Mike Pence, it was retired federal Judge Michael Luttig that Pence and his counsel called on January 4th, to ask if he had any constitutional authority to delay the counting of electoral votes, or refer them back to the states. The response? Don’t even think about it Mr. Vice President.
Luttig gained brief national notoriety when he appeared live in front of the January 6th committee. After eviscerating the childish assertions of John Eastman and other Trump acolytes of The Green Bay Sweep, Luttig looked the committee and camera right in the eye, and in a slow, measured, scholarly tone said, In my opinion, former President trump, those who enable him, and those who support him are a clear and present danger to the democracy of the United States.
Luttig didn’t stop there. In the last two years he has researched the constitution, conferred with other constitutional scholars, and co-signed a letter asserting that Donald J Trump is disqualified to be President of the United States by section three of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. So as you can imagine, I was thrilled today when he appeared on Deadline White House with Nicolle Wallace on MSNBC.
Luttig didn’t disappoint, in fact he blew me through the back of my love seat recliner. In a judicial, professorial voice Luttig calmly stated that he has absolutely no doubt that Trump is ineligible to serve as President. Luttig went on to explain that while large sections of the constitution are purposely broad and flexible, the language in section three of Article 14 is crystal clear. Whether or not Trump is convicted, but especially if he is, the evidence is overwhelming that he gave aid, comfort and support to an insurrection against the government he was sworn to protect and uphold.
And of course, any time you have a dispute concerning the constitution, there has to be a lawsuit filed, since it will almost certainly end up in front of the Supreme Court. Which means that a plaintiff has to show that they suffered some injustice or injury in order to file a lawsuit. Which is why the abortion pill is such a steaming pile of sh*t. None of the filing doctors suffered any injury from the drug being legal. But in this case, who has legal standing?
Here’s the McGuffin that blew through the back of my chair. Most public offices, whether local, state, or federal have some kind of qualifying criteria. And it’s the Secretary of State for the state who ultimately decides on the legitimacy of the candidacy. For instance, in order to run for President of the United States, the constitution states that you must be at least 35 years old on inauguration day. Let’s say a 29 year old in Colorado managed to obtain the monster number of signatures required, and pay the filing fee to appear on the November Colorado 2024 ballot, it’s the SoS who would tell him tough luck.
Here’s a for real for-instance. Apparently the state of New Mexico has a constitutional clause similar to the 14th Amendment. When a state elected official was caught running amok at the Capitol on January 6th and arrested, the state stripped him of his office, and he can never run again.
Let’s extrapolate for fun, shall we? Right now the states of Nevada, Arizona, Michigan and Pennsylvania all have Democratic Secretaries of State. Let’s say, which is likely that Trump is nominated by the GOP for President. especially if he’s convicted in the DC federal case before then, these secretaries of State determine that whether by the constitution, or their state equivalent, Trump is invalid to be on their state ballots in November for violating the 14th Amendment. Instant constitutional crisis.
If Trump can’t appear on any or all of those state ballot(s), it is almost impossible for him to win the White House, since he has no path to make up those lost electoral votes. Trump, having the ultimate standing, will immediately file a federal lawsuit, and request immediate relief. And then the games begin.
Timing is everything. If any, likely Democratic SoS moves to invalidate Trump from the ballot, soup’s on. But if they wait until Trump is officially nominate at the RNC convention, then you’re basically up against a four month window, which will make the DC federal rocket docket look like me speed walking at the mall on Sunday morning.
The case will end up in front of the Supreme Court, no matter what parliamentary stunts Roberts pulls. And there are multiple conservative justices that consider themselves to be constitutional originalists. They don’t consider the constitution to be a living document, they interpret the constitution according to the original intent of the founding fathers. And the intent of the 14th Amendment is pretty damn clear and decisive.
Here’s the funny thing. If anybody out there actually pulls the trigger, and starts this WWE cage match, Trump and the GOP lose no matter what happens. If the SCOTUS actually follows the constitution and their oaths, then the GOP is stuck trying to find a candidate that nobody in the GOP wants. And if the SCOTUS sells out and rules for Trump, then every moderate or soft GOP voter, along with independents, would rather die in harness than cast a vote for Trump.
Personally, I take this seriously. When you look at the constitutional chops and gravitas of Luttig, and throw in the liberal chops of constitutional Professor Emeritus Lawrence Tribe of Harvard, who has also called for Trump’s disqualification under the 14th Amendment. This thing is no joke, and needs to be litigated if for no better reason than to set judicial precedent. The only question is who, if anybody drops the quarter in the jukebox, and starts the dance.