It was called the “tweet heard round the world.”
On the morning before the January 6th attack on the Capitol, one of the nation’s most prominent conservative jurists, former Federal Appeals Court Judge J. Michael Luttig, posted a message aimed at Vice President Mike Pence.
A close friend of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, Luttig had frequently been mentioned as a possible Supreme Court nominee, and when he spoke, conservatives paid close attention.
That day his message was brief and clear: The vice president had no power to alter the election results.
“The only responsibility and power of the Vice President under the Constitution is to faithfully count the electoral college votes as they have been cast,” Judge Luttig wrote.
The only responsibility and power of the Vice President under the Constitution is to faithfully count the electoral college votes as they have been cast.
— @judgeluttig (@judgeluttig) January 5, 2021
“The Constitution does not empower the vice president to alter in any way the votes that have been cast, either by rejecting certain votes or otherwise,” Luttig continued.
If Pence had caved to Donald Trump’s demands and refused to count the electoral votes, Judge Luttig told the House January 6th Committee last summer, the nation “would immediately have been plunged into what would have been tantamount to a revolution within a paralyzing constitutional crisis.”
Now, Judge Luttig is back, with even a starker warning.
The institutions of our democracy and law, he says, “are under vicious, unsustainable, and unendurable attack — from within.” [Continue reading…]