Ex-Judge Claims Supreme Court Can’t Dodge Trump Case Forever

MSNBC contributor J. Michael Luttig suggested that the US Supreme Court could not avoid deciding whether Donald Trump was ineligible to run for president under Section Three of the 14th Amendment, The Hill reported.

While appearing on MSNBC on February 8 as the Supreme Court was hearing oral arguments in the appeal of the Colorado Supreme Court’s December ruling to remove Trump from the state primary ballot over his involvement in the January 6 riot at the Capitol, Luttig, a former federal judge, predicted that the Court would try to find a way to avoid a substantive ruling on the case.

Luttig claimed that the Justices did not “want to decide this case” and would search for “all legitimate off-ramps” to avoid deciding whether Trump was ineligible, but added that “there are no legitimate off-ramps to that decision.”

Given the questions asked during oral arguments, both the conservative and liberal justices appeared skeptical of the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision.

Several justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts and liberal Justice Elana Kagan, expressed concern about what the broader implications might be if they upheld the Colorado high court’s decision.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh suggested that the ruling would significantly disenfranchise Colorado voters by depriving them of their right to vote for the presidential candidate of their choosing.

Attorneys for Donald Trump argued that the 14th Amendment wouldn’t apply to Trump since the presidency is not one of the offices Section Three applies to. Even Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson conceded that the “very enumerated list” in Section Three did not name the presidency.

However, Luttig, who believes that Trump should be disqualified under the 14th Amendment, argued that the Court was unlikely to rule on such a technicality if the justices read Section Three fairly. He insisted that if the section did not disqualify a president, “it would not disqualify any person at all.”