Federalist: Case in Alaska puts First Amendment on trial

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By JOHN DANIEL DAVIDSON | THE FEDERALIST

The case of Alaska State Rep. David Eastman is bizarre and unprecedented, but it isn’t complicated. Put simply, left-wing activists are trying to trample the First Amendment and disenfranchise voters in Eastman’s district by asking a judge to rule him ineligible to hold office in the state.

Why? Because Eastman, 41, is a conservative. So are his constituents in Wasilla who recently elected him to a fourth term. If freedom of speech and association mean anything, Eastman should win his case easily. But the fact that he has to fight in court for the right to represent the people who elected him, and to clear his good name, is a testament to the relentless efforts of the left to criminalize the views of their political opponents and slander them as insurrectionists.

The details of Eastman’s ordeal almost defy belief. This week, a trial began in Anchorage to determine whether the Alaska lawmaker’s association with the Oath Keepers disqualifies him from holding office on the grounds that his alleged membership in the organization runs afoul of the Alaska constitution’s loyalty oath, which bars individuals from holding office if they belong to a group that “advocates the overthrow by force or violence of the United States or of a State,” or if they themselves advocate the same.

Editor’s note: Weather delayed the start of the trial on Monday, but it is expected to start Tuesday, Dec. 13.

A second part of the suit demands that the Alaska Division of Elections conduct assessments of every candidate’s loyalty to the Constitution so that voters will only be able to vote for candidates whose views have been officially approved by the state’s election bureaucracy.

Setting aside the outrageousness of allowing a state agency to vet the opinions of political candidates before their names can appear on the ballot, consider the gravity of what’s at stake in Eastman’s case: guilt by association. By his own admission, Eastman’s connection to Oath Keepers, a loosely organized group with some 38,000 members, is a “slight one.” He made a donation to the organization more than a dozen years ago and received a “lifetime membership” but never attended a meeting.

Read the rest of this report at The Federalist. John Daniel Davidson is a senior editor at The Federalist. His writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Claremont Review of Books, The New York Post, and elsewhere. 

45 COMMENTS

  1. All of us little people need to consider shutting down all commerce and industry. If the people had no heat or food and could not travel then this mess would be fixed quickly. The wealthy still want their dollars from selling the masses food transportation and comfort. The people hold the power and could fix this by refusing to purchase or product any products. How long could New York last with no food or oil ? Let’s go completely green for a week and then this mess will clean it’s self up.

  2. If he’s found not eligible for office, then must the Alaska Legislature cancel all actions done by Eastman in the years he’s served? When a judge or police officer is found guilty of things, their prior cases are at risk of being reconsidered. Is this what will happen if Eastman if found to be unfit for office? All work done by him will be questioned and possibly overturned?

    If so, then wouldn’t the residents in his district also have suffered lack of representation for all that time and have a reason for claiming so?

    Or perhaps the judge will realize that it’s the people who have the power and who are the ones who are supposed to be served by those who they elect to office?

    Just a few thoughts I dare to type out as I sip my 1st cup of coffee for the day.

    • I don’t think so, but we’re deep in uncharted territory here. I think it would upset too many dominoes. If Eastman is convicted (?) the appeals process goes on for years.

      In past, when a political figure has been convicted, censured, etc it has no bearing on their past activities. But we’ve rarely had a case of such naked judicial partisanship of this kind.

  3. Judge McKenna is an abomination to HIS oath to maintain IMPARTIALITY from the bench. This case has no merit and he knows it.

  4. I bet all of those Communists who were just elected to state office in Alaska are wondering why no one has challenged their loyalty to the Constitution.

    • Because none of them are actual communists, not even close. It is just the trope the right uses to spread fear. The same way people on the left say the right is fascist. None of them are proposing the state take over production.

      • That is a false and disingenuous claim, Matt. In fact, the government has its dirty and greedy fingers in innumerable aspects of production. Not to mention communications (Twitter, Facebook, Google — need I go on?).

        • The law firm that is prosecuting this case are un-apologetic communists. No hyperbole here. They literally had multiple pictures of communist dictators adorning their office walls with celebratory captions.

          • I would then think those lawyers are idiots and do not understand that communism will never be a good system of government. At the same time, this does not make any representatives in our state communist.

        • I like your rants Jefferson and I like your command of the English language, but the content of your posts is so often an inconsequential balloon released to the breezes deflating as it searches for a place to land.

          But do carry on.

        • Please, do go on. It makes you look like a typical, unhinged lunatic who has no idea what they’re talking about but still need to lash out.

          • Yes, in this corrupted and degenerate day and age, I suppose to that to mindlessly conformist and complacent sheep and lackeys like you, acknowledging the sordid reality of our times must in fact come across as “unhinged”, as it so directly contradicts the narratives sold to you, and lapped up by you, via the corporate media and establishment power structure.

      • Uhhh, Matt……lest you forget that your hero Bill Walker was trying his hardest to induce the Commie Chinese to invest and run our gas supply to China. Communist state taking over US domestic production. How quick you forget. Fortunately, Walker got 86ed from Alaska politics. A total loser.

        • Don’t know where you got Bill Waker being my hero. That was an idiotic idea. I can’t think of anyone right or left that thought that was a good idea. I did not forget about it by any means and it does not pertain to the subject at hand. Even if it did happen it would not have made Alaska or its representatives communist.

        • Don’t know where you got Bill Walker being my hero. That was an idiotic idea. I can’t think of anyone right or left that thought that was a good idea. I did not forget about it by any means and it does not pertain to the subject at hand. Even if it did happen it would not have made Alaska or its representatives communist.

          • Walker would have us buying our own gas from the Communist Chinese, paid for in ‘”their” currency. That’s how stupid this jerk was. Yet, look how many RINOs supported him in 2022. RINOs are actually worse that Democrats.

  5. Eastman might win this easily outside Alaska. Inside? Outcome is in doubt.

    I’m not a fan at all, but there is zero justification for this. A progressive feeling it’s oats and a politically corrupt judge willing to play along.

    I suspect the real goal isn’t to disenfranchise Eastman. It’s a warning shot to other potential opponents: we will do whatever necessary to punish you for opposing us.

    • Hey Winged Warrior, how about you join us in sending Eastman a donation for his Legal Defense?
      Thanks, doing so will help your super hero status!

        • Masked Avenger, (aka Winged warrior, see Chicken Man), I’m not entirely sure what your Daddy comment means. I am guessing that your mind has been condition by Comic Books and Marvel Movies to believe that you exist in some sort of Cartoon Character World. Perhaps the above along with a Video Game addiction has somehow tweaked your thinking into a belief that you are somehow omniscient and the rest of the worlds inhabitants are awaiting your instruction. I get it, because in my misspent youth (before you arrived on the planet) I dropped acid a time or two, having done so helps me understand people like you.

          The question remains Winged Warrior, will you put your $ where you Keyboard Fingers is? Drop Eastman some Moolah and DO something constructive with your life.

          And yes, Sonny, I thank you!

    • A warning shot to commenters on forums like this? Just a thought – what if this kind of First Amendment intrusion expands to Suzanne’s Must Read Alaska. What happens when the intruders subpoena lists of commenters and their email addresses? This thought has been crossing my mind lately. I’m paranoid these days, and maybe I should shut up so “they” don’t come after me if I express conservative concerns and comments. Think about it.

      • That’s why we’re in the trouble we are. Because ‘they’ made us uncomfortable and caused us to shut up. And then, when we shut up, all the anti American elements felt that it’s okay for them to come out and try to control the rest of us.
        So crawl away and hide if you see fit, I’d rather die on my feet, as the saying goes.

  6. So, if a Democratic Congresswoman, Maxine Waters comes to mind, openly calls for violence against American institutions when she does not get her way, then using the imbecilic Judge McKenna’s reasoning ALL Democrats are also guilty of the crime. He must have gotten his law degree from a crackerbox! How much is this show trial going to cost Alaska?

  7. The judge rules by the consent of the governed. As such they have no right to overrule the decision of the governed. The leftists don’t want Eastman in because they see him as a man resorting to political violence to get in power and oust them from their high seats. We voted for him because he’s the only one WILLING to resort to political violence to drain the swamp because that’s what we NEED at this point; otherwise they will never let go of power.

    • Finally, one honest statement from amongst all of the “down low” seditionists defending Eastman under the guise of “freedom of speech.”

      The Constitution of the State of Alaska defines freedom of speech. It explicitly exempts membership in any organization that advocates or attempts the overthrow of the government of the United States of America.

      You, sir, at least admit you would kill any one to maintain political dominion. I give you credit for starting your convictions plainly, evil though they be.

  8. Senator “elect” dunbar supported antifa violence in Portland , but has democrat party immunity from persecution. Eastman never advocated violence, but his /all conservative values /1st amendment rights are under attack. How much Arabella dirty $ is involved here?

    • If the AK Supremes are idiot enough to toss Eastman, use the identical language to get Dunbar tossed for being supportive of AntiFa. Probably can extend it to all the elected democrats publicly in support of BLM (includes most of the ANC Assembly and School Board). While I think the AK Supremes are smart enough not to toss Eastman, I think they are arrogant enough to do it.

      Other part of this is the piece that demands the Division of Elections vet candidates for office on loyalty to the constitution, which would open a free for all depending which party the governor is part of. A Republican governor will do a wholesale housecleaning of democrats. Dem governors will do the same thing to Republicans. Dunleavy / Dhalstrom ought to start doing this about 15 minutes after the AK Supremes rule. Give the democrats what they want, good and hard. Cheers –

  9. If this judge rules in favor of the plaintiffs then This is headed to the Supreme Court. Also if voters in the valley get on the same sheet of music when this judge comes up for retention in 2026 they can vote him out. What next being a member of the NRA will make you unqualified?

  10. I believe all cases calendared in the month of December seem to be pursued for political reasons – the political, fallen human need to ” get” somebody for politically oppositional reasons. Close the calendar until late January.

  11. We had a Portland mayor join Antifa throwing Molotov Cocktails at an occupied Federal Bldg. Nothing to see here, he was just caught up in the moment.

  12. Perfect dimwit logic. The suit is asking that the Division of Elections investigate and vet all candidates. Perfect.

    Five of us filed with them to investigate the pretend residency of Senator Lyman Hoffman this last year. Nope. I have a letter saying that checking anything other than where his voter Registration shows his claimed address and which community his residence is claimed for a PFD is the extent of their ability to investigate.

    Hell, Hoffman’s own Brothers and cousins that live in Bethel were going to testify he doesn’t live in Bethel.

    I believe first degree of kin more than a old dimwit union twit running elections.

  13. In Elfbrandt v. Russell (1966), the Court struck down a state statute requiring state employees to take an oath not to join the Communist Party with knowledge of its purpose on threat of discharge and perjury.

    According to the Court, “Those who join an organization but do not share its unlawful purposes and who do not participate in its unlawful activities surely pose no threat, either as citizens or as public employees.” The justices concluded, “A law which applies to membership without the ‘specific intent’ to further the illegal aims of the organization infringes unnecessarily on protected freedoms. It rests on the doctrine of ‘guilt by association’ which has no place here.”

    • This case sounds like it can apply here. That bit about “public employees” pose no threat can mean Eastman poses no threat and may invalidate our constitution here.

Comments are closed.