He is seen as an independent thinker with a piercing intelligence and a blunt manner.

Since becoming a judge in 1991, he has not been afraid of making controversial rulings. In 1999, for example, he struck down legislation on domestic violence on the grounds that Congress had overstepped its authority.

Mr Luttig is also seen as fiercely independent, and has criticised other judges in the past for being swayed on ideological grounds rather than judicial argument.