Justice for John Eastman

The January 6 Committee may have shut up shop, Liz Cheney may have scuttled back to her constituency in Georgetown and at CNN, but the great Democratic vendetta machine is still fired up and pounding along, looking for people to smash and livelihoods to destroy.  

Those who dared to walk around the Capitol that fateful day are still being apprehended and jailed. Many face multi-year prison sentences for such misdemeanor torts as “parading” or “obstructing an official proceeding.” Anyone associated with Donald Trump is fair game, as the names Peter Navarro, Rudy Giuliani, Steve Bannon, and Jeffrey Clark remind us. 

At the top of that hit list is John Eastman, the distinguished constitutional scholar who made the unforgivable error of offering legal advice to President Trump in the turbulent aftermath of the 2020 election. 

I have written about Eastman before, both in this space and elsewhere. He has had his life turned upside down. He was shuffled out of his position as dean of the Chapman Law School and has been treated as a pariah by colleagues in his profession. Anti-Trump protestors regularly congregate at the foot of his driveway—fortunately, a long one—to vilify him and his association with the Bad Orange Man. 

Now the State Bar of California has announced that it has filed an official complaint of 11 charges against Eastman, alleging that he endeavored to “plan, promote, and assist then-President Trump in executing a strategy, unsupported by facts or law, to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 presidential election by obstructing the count of electoral votes of certain states.”

Not a single one of those charges is true. Wikipedia and other left-wing megaphones keep repeating the canard that Trump and his advisors attempted to “overturn” the results of the 2020 election. No, they didn’t. As Eastman explains in meticulous detail in his response to the California Bar’s attack, what he did was review the election law in order to advise Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on the various legitimate strategies they could employ to address the rampant irregularities that had infected the 2020 election. 

In other words, he did what lawyers in our adversarial legal system are supposed to do.  He looked at the law and advised his client on what courses of action he could legally take in order to achieve his ends. Had he done otherwise, he would have betrayed the interests of his client. 

Remember, Eastman was not operating in a void. The attorneys general of several states had raised serious questions about the integrity of an election in which COVID was used as cover to change voting rules by executive fiat rather than, as the 12th Amendment to the Constitution stipulates, through the legislative processes of the individual states. Those governors and secretaries of state who bypassed their legislatures to change their election laws acted illegally. 

Eastman sketched several possible legal courses of action in response. The suggestion that got the most attention concerned a possible course of action for Mike Pence. As vice president, Pence was charged by the Constitution with opening ballots from the electors in order that they be counted. But since several states had questions about the integrity of those ballots, Eastman suggested that Pence propose a brief pause in the counting while the problematic states could be canvassed. 

This the State Bar of California regards as something little short of treason. Eastman, the bar’s notice of disciplinary charges alleges, “violated this duty [to the Constitution] in furtherance of an attempt to usurp the will of the American people and overturn election results for the highest office in the land—an egregious and unprecedented attack on our democracy—for which he must be held accountable.”  

Note the rhetoric: “usurp the will of the American people,” forsooth! “An egregious and unprecedented attack on our democracy,” etc., etc. Give me a break. What Eastman actually did was act responsibly for his client by researching the law and recommending certain courses of action. But the California Bar, staffed and overseen almost exclusively by Democrats, dismisses all that. They are out for blood and are seeking to have Eastman disbarred.  

It is yet another outrage from the people who brought us the January 6 Kangaroo Court.  On Friday, Eastman was joined at a Zoom press conference by a long list of legal eminences, including former Attorney General Edwin Meese, John Yoo, and Janice Rogers Brown. All testified to Eastman’s competence and integrity and noted the dangerous precedent that the California Bar’s action represented.  

As Margot Cleveland wrote at The Federalist, the California Bar has essentially weaponized its disciplinary process along ideological or political grounds. If the reasoning behind the California Bar were to prevail, Cleveland observed, then Senator Ted Cruz and the attorneys general from 18 states should all be disbarred. 

As Eastman noted in his remarks Friday, the fundamental message implicit in the California Bar’s vendetta against him is this: “We’re the government. We’ve defined what is truth. How dare you question us.”

Eastman closed by emphasizing what should be obvious but which is often forgotten. “The stakes here are far greater than whether an individual lawyer will lose or retain his bar license,” he said.  

We are approaching an authoritarian, even totalitarian, mentality where citizens are not allowed to voice their criticism of government; where their views are censored through an unholy alliance between a social media oligopoly and the government itself. COVID response—woe to the doctors who dared to raise red flags. CRT in schools—woe to the parents who object. Election lawyers—woe to the lot of us for seeking and speaking the truth. 

In the hurly-burly of everyday life, there are always scandals and emergencies and crises. Most are ephemeral, soon swallowed up by the ceaseless river of events. But some turn out to be critical turning points that determine the shape of the regime we inhabit. We are at such an inflection point now, I believe, and the case of John Eastman is a gravamen in the great decision that is facing us regarding the future of individual liberty, the fate of our constitutional republic, and the level of intrusiveness and control we are willing to cede to the bureaucrats who would rule us. 

They say that in the modern bureaucratic state, “the process is the punishment.” The state-sponsored, media-abetted attack against John Eastman, in which his very livelihood and personal security are threatened, shows that the process is only part of the envisaged punishment.  

Still, the process proceeds and is very expensive. Eastman has up a legal defense here. I urge you to contribute. I have.

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