Conservative Judge Who Advised Pence Warns Him On Subpoena Battle

Mike Pence

Former Vice President Mike Pence

Prominent retired conservative judge J. Michael Luttig is publicly warning former Vice President Mike Pence of potential danger in fighting a subpoena from the Department of Justice (DOJ), HuffPost reports.

Former federal Judge Luttig aided Pence in deciding he "couldn’t throw the 2020 election for Donald Trump."

In an op-ed for The New York Times, Luttig notes Pence promised to take his fight against the grand jury subpoena from DOJ Counsel Jack Smith "all the way to the Supreme Court" if necessary. The judge follows up that sentiment with warning: "A politician should be careful what he wishes for — no more so than when he’s a possible presidential candidate who would have the Supreme Court decide a constitutional case that could undermine his viability in an upcoming campaign."

Luttig's op-ed comes after he took to Twitter, MSNBC reports, to offer a case for why Pence's ploy "to use the Constitution's 'speech or debate' protections" to escape testimony was likely not the best decision.

The judge wrote, "It is an unsettled question of constitutional law whether a Vice President of the United States possesses qualified Speech or Debate Clause privileges and protections when he or she serves, in accordance with the Twelfth Amendment, as President of the Senate." That tweet was followed by a full thread of analysis.

Days later, the former corporate lawyer intensified his warning to the former vice president in his op-ed, warning, "The former vice president should not want the embarrassing spectacle of the Supreme Court compelling him to appear before a grand jury in Washington just when he’s starting his campaign for the presidency."

HuffPost notes Luttig highlighted the fact Pence is "'considered by many of us across the political spectrum to be a profile in courage' for choosing democracy over his former boss," suggesting his resistance could jeopardize that reputation.

Luttig writes:

Mr. Pence may also be under the impression that the legal fight over his claim will confound the courts, consuming months, if not longer, before he receives the verdict — but it’s unclear what he hopes to gain from the delay. One would have thought Mr. Pence would have seized the propitious opportunity afforded him by Mr. Smith, most likely weeks or months before he even decides whether he will run for the presidency.

Ultimately, the judge predicts the former vice president should stop while he's ahead, considering he "doesn’t have a chance in the world of winning his case."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

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