US supreme court likely to determine Trump’s 2024 eligibility soon – ex-judge

<span>Photograph: Alex Brandon/AP</span>
Photograph: Alex Brandon/AP
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The US supreme court is likely to soon determine whether Donald Trump is eligible to run for president in 2024, the well-respected former federal judge Michael Luttig said on Sunday.

Some legal experts believe Trump could be disqualified under section 3 of the 14th amendment. The measure bars someone from holding federal office if they have “previously taken an oath … to support the constitution” and subsequently “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same”. Interpreting that language, Luttig and some other prominent conservative scholars have concluded Trump’s actions on January 6 and his efforts to overturn the 2020 election bar him from running for president.

Related: Top Democrat says ‘powerful argument’ 14th amendment disqualifies Trump

Other scholars have been more skeptical of a disqualification claim, questioning whether Trump’s conduct actually amounted to insurrection.

The provision has never been enforced and it is unclear what the exact mechanism for doing so would be. Secretaries of state, who are charged with overseeing candidate eligibility requirements, are studying how the process will probably play out.

“This is one of the most fundamental questions that could ever be decided under our constitution,” Luttig said on Sunday during an appearance on MSNBC’s Velshi. “And it will be decided by the supreme court of the United States sooner rather than later, and most likely before the first primaries.”

Trump appointed three of the justices on the current court, where there is a 6-3 conservative supermajority. It will probably arrive at the court at a moment when the institution’s credibility is under fire, driven by a series of ethics scandals and its unpopular decision to overturn Roe v Wade last year.

Election officials in some of the earliest primary states will probably have to soon make a decision on how to proceed with challenges to Trump’s eligibility, which several groups have promised to bring. They are likely to come under enormous pressure; in New Hampshire, the Republican secretary of state, Dave Scanlan, told NBC News his office was flooded with telephone calls from Trump supporters after the conservative personality Charlie Kirk falsely said Scanlan was trying to kick Trump off the ballot.

“Neither the secretary of state’s office nor the attorney general’s office has taken any position regarding the potential applicability of section three of the 14th amendment to the United States constitution to the upcoming presidential election cycle,” Scanlan said in a joint statement with the New Hampshire attorney general, John Formella. “The secretary of state’s office has requested the attorney general’s office to advise the secretary of state regarding the meaning of section three of the 14th amendment to the United States constitution and the provision’s potential applicability to the upcoming presidential election cycle.”