Former Judge J. Michael Luttig criticized his party, ex-clerks: NPR


J. Michael Luttig, former U.S. Court of Appeals judge for the Fourth Circuit, testified before the House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol at the Cannon House Office Building on Thursday in Washington, DC

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J. Michael Luttig, former U.S. Court of Appeals judge for the Fourth Circuit, testified before the House Select Committee to Investigate the Jan. 6 Attack on the U.S. Capitol at the Cannon House Office Building on Thursday in Washington, DC

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Retired federal Judge J. Michael Luttig, testified before Jan. 6 House committee, was asked Thursday by one of his former law clerks about another’s role in the insurgency.

Committee senior counsel John Wood noted the dynamics before continuing to question Luttig about the role of fellow former clerk John Eastman in efforts to force former Vice President Mike Pence to reverse the 2020 consequences. election.

Luttig, a widely respected conservative judge who sent several clerks to the Supreme Court after being nearly nominated for the bench itself, advised Pence to reject the advice of the same former clerk – Trump’s ally Eastman.

Law professor and former acting U.S. Solicitor General Neal Katyal called the scenario “the dream of every federal law clerk.”

“I think of the two judges I clerked like my parents, and each of the clerks was about the family,” Katyal tweet.

Luttig served as a federal appellate court judge for 15 years, earning a reputation as one of the most prominent and conservative judges in the country, as Nina Totenberg reported on NPR. He than often mentioned as a possible Supreme Court nominee himself in the Bush administration and felt more than 40 clerks (known as “Luttigators”) to the clerks of the Supreme Court. Of those, 33 work with Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.


Late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia laid his hand on the shoulder of pallbearer Judge Michael Luttig as they paid homage to the coffin of former Justice Warren Burger in 1995.

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“This madness, this madness”

Another of Luttig’s clerks was Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was a strong ally of Trump who downplayed the events in Jan. 6 years publicly criticized the committee’s hearings. Both seem closed – Cruz described Luttig in 2016 as “like a father to me.”

Luttig broke up with Cruz and his other high-profile protégés as an increasingly unspoken critic of Trump and the Republican Party.

He told the Los Angeles Times earlier this year several final straws prompted him to take action:

  • the Republican National Committee resolution calling on people associated with fake voters to engage in “legitimate political discourse” and its concession to Rep. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger for their House panel roles;
  • and Trump’s public attacks on Pence for saying he would not break the election and on Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell for his criticism of the RNC.

That many Republicans don’t stand for “this nonsense, this nonsense,” is “the definition of failed leadership,” he added.

The 68-year-old, with the help of his son, set up a Twitter account just weeks before Jan. 6 and turned to social media to try to help Pence reject Trump’s request to reverse the election results.

“The only responsibility and power of the Vice President under the Constitution is to honestly count the college votes in the election as it is given,” he tweeted on the morning of Jan. 5. Pence quoted that thread the next day in his letter explaining why he certified the results.

Luttig has remained active on Twitter ever since and has often used it to troll former clerks like Cruz and Eastman, friends since being clerking together in 1995.

on a poison, Luttig called Eastman’s legal analysis “incorrect at every turn.” In another, he commented on a video by Cruz who said former Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson is “the worst and farthest justice ever served” in court:

“I would not hesitate to withdraw my endorsement of Judge Jackson for the Supreme Court if there was anything in Senator Cruz’s statement, but there was none,” Luttig wrote. “Actually, the opposite is the case.”

Luttig is working to fix the Electoral Count Act

Luttig also criticized Cruz offline for his role in the events that led to the Capitol unrest.

“When Ted Cruz promised to oppose, Jan. 6 was all but pre-ordained, because Cruz was the most influential man in Congress willing to force a vote on Trump’s claim to the election. stolen, “he said. The Washington Post in March. “He is also best aware of the complexities of the Electoral Count Act and the Constitution, and the ways to take advantage of both.”

Luttig said Cruz’s actions show the need to amend the 1887 Electoral Count Act to prevent a senator from having such outsize influence over the outcome of a presidential election. Luttig worked with lawmakers to rewrite the action.

“That’s Republican politics right now, that presidential and congressional candidates will buy the blessing and approval of the former president at any price,” Luttig told the Post.

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