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June 20, 2023 03:14 PM UTC

John Eastman's Day of Reckoning Finally At Hand

  • by: Colorado Pols
John Eastman speaking at the January 6th, 2021 protest to overturn the 2020 presidential elections.

As the Washington Post’s Jacqueline Alemany reports, hearings seeking the disbarment of former University of Colorado visiting conservative scholar and more recently the attorney selected by the Colorado Republican Party to fight Colorado’s open primary laws, John Eastman, are underway today in California:

Eastman is facing 11 charges stemming from allegations that he was the architect of the legal road map Trump followed in an effort to overturn the legitimate results of the 2020 election by obstructing the electoral vote count in certain states.

Eastman is also accused of making false and misleading statements regarding alleged election fraud, the State Bar alleges, referencing claims he made at a rally at the Ellipse outside the White House that preceded the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. If Eastman is found culpable for the allegations, he could lose his license to practice law in the California…

The California Supreme Court will ultimately decide whether Eastman is culpable of the alleged misconduct warranting discipline, such as suspension or disbarment.

Unlike Eastman’s fellow coup plotter Jenna Ellis, who was recently censured by Colorado state attorney regulators for her multiple false statements concerning the 2020 presidential election, John Eastman isn’t technically licensed to practice law in Colorado. The states of California and Colorado have a bar reciprocity agreement in which a lawyer admitted to practice law in one state can do so in others that allow the same, but that’s not the same as Colorado attorney regulators having direct jurisdiction over Eastman.

The flip side of that is if Eastman is disbarred by the state of California, he’ll likely no longer be able to represent clients in state or federal court, including the Colorado Republican Party in its federal lawsuit seeking to overturn 2018’s Proposition 108 which opened the party’s primaries to unaffiliated voters. The likelihood of some kind of punishment being meted out by the California bar up to disbarment makes Eastman an odd choice for the Colorado GOP to rely on–unless he’s the only choice they had, of course. Not to mention the need to raise precious money to pay him.

Eastman’s central role in the plot to challenge the certification of Joe Biden’s victory on January 6th, which included or at least allowed for the violence that day to help delay the certification, wasn’t fully understood until the January 6th Select Committee’s investigation conclusively documented it. Eastman’s misconduct disgraced the highly regarded Chapman University he was primarily employed by as well as the University of Colorado, who employed Eastman during the period he was developing the plan to overturn the 2020 presidential election.

Eastman’s Colorado connection became a hot potato in the 2022 midterm elections, especially for CU Regent Heidi Ganahl who fumbled to put distance between herself and Eastman while simultaneously embracing the election conspiracy in her campaign for governor. Outside of MAGA diehard circles and the Colorado GOP, Eastman has very few remaining friends. Even the conservative Orange County Register this weekend called for Eastman to be disbarred:

Eastman didn’t storm the Capitol, attack police or defecate in Capitol hallways – at least not literally. [Pols emphasis] But, as Politico explained, he “spent the final weeks of the Trump administration stoking false claims of election fraud in order to put pressure on GOP-led state legislatures to appoint alternate slates of presidential electors.” He authored an infamous memo gaming out scenarios to keep Trump in power.

We would oppose any prosecution of him given that dark plotting doesn’t amount to law-breaking, but we appreciate the State Bar of California’s effort to strip him of his law license. Whatever the results, the hearing, which includes several witnesses, should expose Eastman’s shame-worthy behavior.

If Jenna Ellis’ lack of remorse after censure is any example, Eastman will never say sorry.

But he can be punished, and that punishment can serve as a deterrent to the next John Eastman.


14 thoughts on “John Eastman’s Day of Reckoning Finally At Hand

  1. Well, the "Day of Reckoning" might be a bit further out (AP story, my emphasis):

    The State Bar’s counsel will seek Eastman’s disbarment during a hearing before the State Bar Court that’s expected to last at least eight days. If the court finds Eastman culpable of the alleged violations it can recommend a punishment such as suspending or revoking his law license. The California Supreme Court makes the final decision.

    The "trial" will last at least until sometime next week. In a case like this, Then, it is the 4th of July weekend break.  I'm guessing the Bar's Court will take some time to draft and review a recommendation to give to the CA Supremes.  They will want to review the case, then discuss it, and then issue their decision.

    I'm figuring the "Day of Reckoning" will be late July.

  2. John Eastman…. This the one and the same renowned professor of Conservative thought at CU. Can you be both a Conservative and a Fascist?

    1. A conservative and a fascist, isn't either now prerequisite for the other?

      Bar or no bar, there'll always be a law professor opening for him at Colorado Christian University!

    1. Meanwhile in DC….

      "I’m on the House Floor and Boebert is introducing articles of impeachment on President Biden. I see even Republicans rolling their eyes. Lmao"

      –Maxwell Alejandro Frost

  3. At the risk of being pedantic, the lawsuit challenging Prop 108 is in U.S. District Court, not Colorado state court.  So whether Eastman is admitted to practice law in Colorado or not is irrelevant.  He has to be admitted to the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado in order to practice there.  All that requires is him to be in good standing in the bar of some state, California in this case.  If he's disbarred in California, the District of Colorado can then similarly bar him from practice in the District of Colorado.  The Colorado Supreme Court has no part in any of that.

    1. That's interesting and thanks for this info. If Eastman is disbarred in CA, is there any way the federal court in Colorado would not disbar him? I can't imagine him being allowed to represent anyone anywhere.

      1. The California federal court would impose reciprocal discipline (i.e., disbar or suspend) to that imposed by the state courts. Once his California license is pulled, then his federal court license in California will be pulled shortly thereafter, and that should keep him out of federal court in Colorado.

          1. This is an important difference I learned playing Magic: The Gathering as a teenager that has helped me many times reading legal things as an adult.

    2. You're right about this, in fact our point was that Eastman isn't subject to the Colorado office of attorney regulation counsel like Jenna Ellis was. We've edited to make that clearer, and thanks for the details on how a disbarment by California could affect Eastman's ability to represent the Colorado GOP in federal court.

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