If you didn’t follow the events very closely leading up to the attacks on the Capitol, you might have missed this name: John Eastman, professor of Constitutional Law at Chapman University. Correction: He held that position until three days ago, when he resigned, after more than one hundred and sixty members of the faculty at Chapman signed a letter to the President of the University, demanding that he be fired.
From where I am sitting right now, it’s about five miles to Chapman University. Chapman was an obscure little liberal arts college forty years ago, noted mostly for its fine music school. My family attended many concerts and other events at Chapman over the years, and my son performed in concerts there as a member of the Orange County Youth Orchestra. Then, Chapman underwent a major metamorphosis, with the addition of top-notch schools of Law and Economics. It has gained national and even world notice, and its professors are often quoted in the major media.
Eastman first gained notoriety last October when he proclaimed that Kamala Harris was not qualified to be Vice President. There was no question that she was born in the US, but Eastman claimed that her parents were not citizens. A Constitutional law professor does not know about the 14th Amendment to the Constitution which contains the following words:
“All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”
Kamala was born in Oakland. “She is a natural born citizen and there is no question about her eligibility to run,” Harvard University law professor and Constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe told the A.P. “I can’t believe people are making this idiotic comment.” Not just people. A tenured law professor at Chapman University. Where have I heard this “birther” stuff before? Oh yeah, people were claiming that about Barack Obama back when he was running for President.
But then, on January 6th, Eastman went over the top. He appeared at a rally before the attacks on the Capitol, on a stage with Rudolph Giuliani, when Rudy made the now infamous statement that the election must be challenged in a “trial by combat.” Eastman followed him as speaker, and did not even try to soften those obviously inciteful words. Instead, he repeated the totally refuted claim that the voting machines in Georgia contained “secret files” where fraudulent ballots were generated, giving Biden the victory. This is tin hat conspiracy stuff coming from a tenured law professor.
So, what can we make of this nonsense? What the Hell is John Eastman trying to pull? He surely knows that his claims are nonsense. Is he aiming for a political position in the new “anti-Biden” coalition which is sure to come? Does he want to be the “new Trump?”
If so, he has a lot of competitors, including Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz and…well, who knows how many others who are pandering to the QAnon nuts, and the rest of the white nationalist crazies in this country.
Inaugurating Biden will not stop the efforts by these people to undermine our democracy. We the People are going to have to confront these people.
It’s time to step up and tell them to f**k off!