A state judge ruled on Friday that Alaska state Rep. David Eastman can remain in office despite his affiliation with a group accused of storming the United States capitol on Jan. 6, according to the court documents.
An Alaska resident filed a lawsuit against Eastman in an attempt to remove him from office under the state constitution’s disloyalty clause which prohibits anyone who has attempted to overthrow the government from holding public office.
The plaintiff claimed that Eastman should be removed due to his affiliation with the Oath Keepers, a group of former police and military who claim to oppose “unconstitutional orders.”
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The court ruled that the Oath Keepers “are an organization that has… taken concrete action to attempt to overthrow by violence the United States government,” but that Eastman did not violate the disloyalty clause because he did not directly participate in such attempts.
“The court further finds that Rep. Eastman is a member of that organization, but that he does not and did not possess a specific intent to further the Oath Keeper’s words or actions aimed at overthrowing the United States government,” the decision read. “The court therefore finds that he is not disqualified from holding public office by Article XII, § 4.”
“We are pleased that Judge McKenna followed the U.S. Supreme Court’s holding in NCAAP vs. Claiborne, protecting the freedom of association guaranteed to every American under the First Amendment,” Eastman told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “We are especially glad to see the rejection of Plaintiff’s argument that those who simply attended a speech given by the president somehow participated in insurrection. Most of all, we are pleased that the will of the voters in House District 27 will be honored.”
“That said, it should be plain to all that this suit has every hallmark of a political inquisition motivated not by a desire to protect the will of voters but to supplant their will and replace it with the will of a single judge,” he continued.
Eastman was not accused of entering the Capitol on Jan. 6 and admitted during his trial that while he attended former President Donald Trump’s rally that day, he did not breach any restricted areas on the Capitol grounds. Two Oath Keeper leaders, including founder Stewart Rhodes, were charged with “seditious conspiracy” for Jan. 6 activity.
Eastman tweeted that while Friday’s ruling was a victory, he will also have to face an appeal. Goriune Dudukgian, the plaintiff’s attorney, told the DCNF that they are considering their options.
Eastman won re-election during November’s midterm election by nearly 25 points.