In the Oval Office last week, the day before the vote, Mr. Trump pushed Mr. Pence in a string of encounters, including one meeting that lasted at least an hour. John Eastman, a conservative constitutional scholar at Chapman University, was in the office and argued to Mr. Pence that he did have the power to act.
The next morning, hours before the vote, Richard Cullen, Mr. Pence’s personal lawyer, called J. Michael Luttig, a former appeals court judge revered by conservatives — and for whom Mr. Eastman had once clerked. Mr. Luttig agreed to quickly write up his opinion that the vice president had no power to change the outcome, then posted it on Twitter.
Within minutes, Mr. Pence’s staff incorporated Mr. Luttig’s reasoning, citing him by name, into a letter announcing the vice president’s decision not to try to block electors. Reached on Tuesday, Mr. Luttig said it was “the highest honor of my life” to play a role in preserving the Constitution.
I can’t say I find the fact that the fate of the republic rested on Mike Luttig’s shoulder very reassuring.
As for Eastman’s “legal” “arguments,” they were echoed by the president:
Mr. Trump was enraged that Mr. Pence was refusing to try to overturn the election. In a series of meetings, the president had pressed relentlessly, alternately cajoling and browbeating him. Finally, just before Mr. Pence headed to the Capitol to oversee the electoral vote count last Wednesday, Mr. Trump called the vice president’s residence to push one last time.
“You can either go down in history as a patriot,” Mr. Trump told him, according to two people briefed on the conversation, “or you can go down in history as a pussy.”
Anyway, the Federalist Society is just a quaint little nonpartisan debating society.