On Thursday, Anchorage Superior Court Judge Jack McKenna said the trial against Rep. David Eastman’s eligibility to hold office must go on. The judge indicated he thinks Eastman is disqualified from serving because he belongs to the a group called the Oath Keepers. By extension, Oath Keepers is being put on trial as a group dedicated to overthrowing the government.
On Dec. 12, the case against Eastman and Oath Keepers, will be heard in Anchorage. McKenna ruled that whatever the outcome of the Nov. 8 election, if Eastman wins he can’t be seated if the jury agrees with the judge. It’s the kind of case that most likely will be appealed to a higher court, and possibly the U.S. Supreme Court, over freedom of association and free speech issues. The matter could take months or years.
Oath Keepers is a social organization that the mainstream media and groups such as Southern Poverty Law Center describe as a “far-right anti-government militia whose members claim to be defending the Constitution of the United States.”
The group has as many as 35,000 members who are primarily those who have already, in their capacity as a sworn officer, taken an oath to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution. Founded in 2009 by former Army paratrooper Elmer Stewart Rhodes, some of its members were present at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, the date that the mainstream media and Democrats say there was an insurrection against the government.
The federal trial for seditious conspiracy against Rhodes and four other members of the Oath Keepers who have been charged in connection with the Jan. 6 incursion into the U.S. Capitol will go forward on Sept. 27, and is expected to last six weeks, but will more likely last months, as appeals are filed.
Rep. Eastman was at the U.S. Capitol on that Jan. 6, along with tens of thousands of Americans. Like all but about 100-200 of them, he just stood around outside and waved flags with his friends. He never went inside the Capitol. But it’s his membership in the Oath Keepers that opponents say is what disqualifies him from holding elected office in Alaska, as they say it violates the U.S. Constitution.
Eastman last took an oath to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution on Jan. 19, 2021, two weeks after the Jan. 6, so-called insurrection. That was after his most recent reelection to the Alaska State House.
Around the country, Oath Keepers serve in public office, as police officers, and in other capacities.
The question that Judge McKenna says is legitimate for trial is whether Eastman’s membership in Oath Keepers itself is a violation of the Alaska State Constitution, which says that if you advocate the overthrow of the government, you can’t serve in the Alaska Legislature. His evidence seems to be the descriptions given by far-left organizations and the mainstream media. And the experts brought in by the plaintiffs, including Randall Kowalke of Wasilla, who last ran for office against Republican Sen. Mike Shower.
Kowale has brought in two university-related terrorism experts to support his case that Eastman is part of Oath Keepers, and that Oath Keepers is a government overthrow group.
Oath Keepers doesn’t appear to have a website and doesn’t appear to be active as of this writing.