An Alaska Superior Court judge ruled that the State of Alaska must be part of the lawsuit in which a constituent of Rep. David Eastman says Eastman has violated the constitution’s “disloyalty” clause and should be removed from office because of his membership in the Oath Keepers.
The State had asked to be let out of the case, and let it proceed between plaintiff Randall Kowalke and his legal team at the Northern Justice Project, and Rep. Eastman. Judge Jack McKenna said no, the State is in the case because the Division of Elections is in charge of removing someone from the ballot due to a violation of that state constitutional clause.
State lawyers said there is no provision for enforcing the “disloyalty” clause, but McKenna was unmoved. Monday’s hearing was not on the merits of the case itself, but was procedural. The actual court date is the week of Dec. 12. Still unknown is if the case will remain in Anchorage Superior Court or be moved to Palmer, which is in the same borough that Eastman and Kowalke reside.
Oath Keepers, which has thousands of members across the country, including over 250 members in Alaska, had significant involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021 events around the U.S. Capitol in an effort to prevent certification of the election of Joe Biden as president.
The Oath Keepers are made up of former members of the military and law enforcement who have taken oaths of office to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution. The group is unstructured; members agree they will not follow any unconstitutional order. Many members of the group are concerned about voter fraud and fraudulent elections.
Last week in New Mexico, a state judge ruled that a founder of a group known as “Cowboys for Trump” must be stripped of his office as an Otero County commissioner because of his participation in the Jan. 6, 2021 events at the U.S. Capitol. County Commissioner Couy Griffin was to be decommissioned immediately and prohibited from holding public office under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment because he “engaged in” the Jan. 6 protest, and thus is disqualified from serving in federal or state elected positions, according to the judge.
Judge Francis Mathew in Santa Fe leaned on a little-known provision in the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which states “no person shall be a senator or representative in Congress” or “hold any office, civil or military” if after swearing an oath to support the Constitution, they “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.” That provision was originally written to prevent members of the Confederacy from attaining an elected position after the Civil War.
Eastman, too, attended the protest at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, along with several other Alaskans and thousands of Americans, but he never went inside the building, nor did he participate in any violence. Instead, the representative from Wasilla spent time waving an American flag with friends, listening to President Donald Trump’s speech, and socializing.
Eastman’s attorney is political activist Joe Miller, who argues that Judge McKenna is allowing the bureaucratic machine to decide who can and cannot be a candidate. He said McKenna is expanding the state’s role in making political criteria a key component for what is a subjective decision. Miller is a former candidate for U.S. Senate.
Kowalke’s attorney at the Northern Justice Project is liberal Fairbanks North Star Borough Assemblywoman Savannah Fletcher.
A list of members of the Oath Keepers was leaked by the Anti-Defamation League and shows that hundreds of elected officials, military members and law enforcement officers belong to the group. That list is at this link. ADL’s analysis as of August, 2022 shows that 42 current candidates for office are on the list and over 80 are on the list who are currently serving in elected office.
“Though none of these elected officials explicitly offered to use the powers of their office to aid the Oath Keepers, their support for the Oath Keepers – demonstrated by their willingness to sign up for the group – raises questions about how the group’s ideology may influence their thinking and how they wield the power afforded to them,” wrote the ADL, which lists Oath Keepers as an extremist group.
President Joe Biden has also opened the door to making enemies of patriots during his speech at Independence Hall, when he said that Trump-supporting Republicans are a threat to the democracy.
Read the grand jury indictment against several members of the Oath Keepers below: