Luttig Claims Trump is Disqualified from Presidency

 November 4, 2023

A striking assertion has been made by J. Michael Luttig, a retired federal judge, regarding former President Donald Trump's eligibility to run for office.

Retired Federal Judge J. Michael Luttig voiced on MSNBC that due to his involvement in the January 6th insurrection, Donald Trump is constitutionally barred from assuming the presidential mantle.

Amid ongoing discussions about Trump's political future, this claim introduces a significant constitutional consideration into public discourse.

On November 4, 2022, Judge Luttig made an appearance on MSNBC's "Deadline." During this segment, he articulated his interpretation of the US Constitution, which, in his view, prevents Trump from seeking the presidency again. He based his opinion on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, often overlooked in common discourse, which addresses the disqualification of individuals who have participated in insurrection or rebellion from holding office.

An Unprecedented Constitutional Interpretation

Judge Luttig's stance is clear-cut: a criminal conviction or Congressional action is not a prerequisite for disqualification under this constitutional provision. This interpretation suggests that the events of January 6 could have direct consequences for Trump's political ambitions, independent of any judicial or legislative findings. It's a perspective that underscores the gravity of the Capitol events and their potential to influence American political life profoundly.

The judge underscored the imminent threat to the democratic framework he believes Trump represents. These words echo the sentiments of many Americans concerned about the future of their democracy. He emphasized the danger that Trump and his allies posed to the nation, both in the immediate aftermath of January 6 and in the years following.

"It is not necessary in order for the former president to be disqualified...that he or she have been convicted of an insurrection or rebellion. Nor is it necessary that the Congress of the United States have found that the former president or any other person have engaged in an insurrection or rebellion against the Constitution of the United States. Those are matters that are completely separate from the eligibility for disqualification under Section 3.”

The timeline of events surrounding January 6 and the subsequent years provide a backdrop against which Luttig's comments resonate. Nearly two years have passed since the insurrection, a time marked by continued division and debate over the event's significance and repercussions. Luttig's statements contribute to the historical record of the nation's grappling with these issues.

Long-Term Implications for American Politics

Previously, Luttig had made remarks pointing to the peril he perceived from Trump and his allies. His stance has been consistent and unwavering despite the passage of time. Even two and a half years after the insurrection, the judge has maintained his assessment of the clear and present danger to the democratic process.

The discourse around Trump's capability to run for office again is not merely theoretical. As the 2024 election cycle approaches, discussions of candidacy qualifications become increasingly consequential. The retired judge's pronouncements add a layer of constitutional scrutiny to the conversation.

"The American people through the framers of the Constitution...determined in Section 3 that an individual who's engaged in an insurrection or rebellion...should be disqualified from holding high public office thereafter.”

Since the storming of the US Capitol by Trump supporters in an attempt to overturn the 2020 election results, the country has been in a state of introspection regarding the resilience of its democratic institutions. The words of Judge Luttig serve as a reminder of the ongoing debate about how best to protect and uphold the Constitution.

A Clear and Present Concern

When reflecting on the insurrection's anniversary, Luttig did not mince words about the escalating threat he attributed to Trump and his supporters. His warnings have been consistent in interviews and public statements, painting a picture of heightened danger as time progresses.

With these considerations in mind, the discussion about the interpretation of the 14th Amendment's provisions is more than academic. It strikes at the core of ongoing debates about the rule of law, the integrity of the electoral system, and the criteria for public service eligibility.

As the nation continues to confront the consequences of January 6, voices like Luttig's contribute to the essential dialogue on maintaining the democratic ethos. His concerns reflect a broader unease within the country regarding the potential for future unrest and the need for vigilance in preserving the republic's foundations.


In conclusion, Judge J. Michael Luttig's comments bring to the fore a constitutional argument that could significantly impact the political landscape. His interpretation of the 14th Amendment raises pertinent questions about eligibility for public office following acts of insurrection or rebellion.

The conclusion summarizes key aspects of the story:

    • J. Michael Luttig, a retired federal judge, opined on MSNBC that Trump should be disqualified from future presidency under the 14th Amendment's Section 3.
    • Luttig insists that no criminal conviction or Congressional finding is necessary to disqualify an individual under this constitutional clause.
    • The retired judge maintains that Trump continues to pose an "imminent danger" to the democratic fabric of the United States.

About Robert Cunningham

With years of experience at the forefront of political commentary, Robert Cunningham brings a blend of sharp wit and deep insight to his analysis of American principles at the Capitalism Institute.

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