U.S. Court of Appeals Judge and former Vice President Mike Pence adviser J. Michael Luttig came out with a CNN op-ed suggesting the Republican Party’s reluctance to let go of the “stolen” 2020 election despite there being little evidence of voter fraud is actually to steal the 2024 election.

The objective is “to execute successfully in 2024 the very same plan they failed in executing in 2020 and to overturn the 2024 election if Trump or his anointed successor loses again in the next quadrennial contest,” Luttig wrote.

“The last presidential election was a dry run for the next,” the famously conservative judge added.

He suggested that former President Donald Trump and the Republicans had been planning to overturn the election through the Supreme Court based on the “independent state legislature doctrine” which would allow use of the Electoral College and Electoral Count Act to let Pence overturn the election by rejecting electoral votes under the 12th Amendment.

According to Luttig, the first stage of the plan failed as the Supreme Court did not make a decision on the independent state legislature doctrine that year.

The plan was compromised again when the Republicans could not obtain “a legitimate, alternative slate of electors from any state because the various state officials refused to officially certify these Trump-urged slates.”

When Pence sought legal advice leading up to the joint session of Congress to certify President Joe Biden‘s win on January 6, Luttig told him to follow the law. Pence didn’t go with the Trump team’s plan and it all collapsed completely.

Focusing forward on the 2024 election, Luttig voiced concern that this time Trump and Republicans will likely win the independent state legislature doctrine in Supreme Court now that Justice Amy Coney Barrett is sown in. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch have signaled that they agree with the doctrine.

Luttig added that Republicans are making strides toward getting Trump-endorsed candidates in office in swing states and in Congress, should Congress need to overturn the 2024 election.

“Trump and the Republicans can only be stopped from stealing the 2024 election at this point if the Supreme Court rejects the independent state legislature doctrine (thus allowing state court enforcement of state constitutional limitations on legislatively enacted election rules and elector appointments) and Congress amends the Electoral Count Act to constrain Congress’ own power to reject state electoral votes and decide the president,” Luttig warned.

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