Romanticizing direct democracy leads to pandemic anarchy.
John Eastman’s Statement on His Retirement from Chapman University’s Fowler School of Law
In recent days John Eastman has been the subject of many defamatory and scurrilous attacks regarding his actions as an advisor and attorney for President Donald Trump.
He sets the record straight in his resignation letter to Chapman University, Fowler School of Law.
It is with mixed feeling that I announce my retirement from Chapman University today. Apart from prominent visitorships at the University of San Diego and the University of Colorado Boulder, my entire academic career has been as a professor and Dean at the Chapman University Fowler School of Law.
During my tenure as Dean, the law school achieved the highest national ranking it has achieved to date, moving from 163rd to 93rd in that short three-year period between 2007 and 2010. I wish Dean Parlow much success in regaining and surpassing that high water mark.
I have also enjoyed a strong working relationship with the University’s current President, Daniele Struppa, dating to my Deanship when he was serving as the University’s Provost and Chancellor. And I applaud his defense of me in particular and academic freedom more generally in this recent controversy.
But I cannot extend such praise to some of my “colleagues” on the campus or to the few members of the Board of Trustees who have published false, defamatory statements about me without even the courtesy of contacting me beforehand to discuss. The political science faculty, for example, made numerous false statements of fact and law in their diatribe against me. They asserted, for example, that I have made “false claims” about the 2020 presidential election which “have no basis in fact or law and seek to harm the democratic foundations of our constitutional republic.”
Had they bothered to discuss the matter with me, they could have learned that every statement I have made is backed up with documentary and/or expert evidence, and solidly grounded in law. For example, it is a fact that partisan election officials and even partisan-elected judicial officials in numerous states altered or ignored existing state laws in the conduct of the election, the instances of which are well documented in the petition for writ of certiorari I filed in the Supreme Court of the United States on behalf of the President. And it is clearly established law that Article II of the Constitution assigns to the legislatures of the state, not anyone else, the sole, plenary power to determine the “manner” for choosing presidential electors. And it is a fact that numerous legislators wrote to Vice President Pence indicating that their electoral votes were problematic at best because of these illegalities and urging him to delay the electoral count proceedings long enough to allow the legislatures in the contested states time to review whether their electoral slate was legally certified.
By way of example, 21 members of the Pennsylvania Senate, including the powerful President Pro Tem of the Senate, outlined in a January 4 letter the numerous instances of violations of state law by state election officials and even the partisan-elected judiciary in the conduct of Pennsylvania’s election, thereby usurping the sole power that the Legislature has pursuant to Article II of the federal constitution to determine the manner for choosing presidential electors. Because of those illegal actions, the Senators noted “that PA election results should not have been certified,” and asked that the Congress “delay certification of the Electoral College to allow due process as we pursue election integrity in our Commonwealth.” Similar letters were sent from Pennsylvania house members, and from legislators in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Arizona’s included this: “Based upon the clear and convincing nature of the evidence [of illegality and fraud], we respectfully ask that you recognize our desire to reclaim Arizona’s Electoral College Electors and block the use of any Electors from Arizona until such time as the controversy is properly resolved through the pending litigation or a comprehensive forensic audit.”
It is also a fact that a forensic analysis of the one voting machine courts have permitted to be inspected demonstrated not only that the machines are capable of switching votes, but they actually did switch votes in Antrim County, Michigan.
In other words, it is patently untrue that my statements have “no basis in fact or law.”
As for the claim that by raising these issues, I have sought to “harm the democratic foundations of our constitutional republic,” nothing could be further from the truth. As noted above, the Constitution sets out the authority for choosing electors, and that authority was usurped by non-legislative partisans in several states. Legislators in the contested states have quite reasonably asserted that the illegal conduct effected the outcome of the election. If true—and a full forensic audit would confirm whether or not it is true—then the democratic foundations of our constitutional republic were not just harmed but completely subverted by those partisan actors who violated election laws in order to permit the counting of illegal votes. Shining a light on what occurred is the highest defense of the constitutional republic, and such an investigation ought to be welcomed by citizens of all political stripes rather than blocked by those who are acting as though they have something to hide.
The letter signed by 169 members of the Chapman faculty and Board of Trustees is even more scurrilous. It claims, falsely, that I “participated in a riot that incited” last week’s violence at the nation’s Capital. I participated in a peaceful rally of nearly ½ million people, two miles away from the violence that occurred at the capital and which began even before the speeches were finished. And unless simply identifying illegal actions by election officials qualifies as “incitement”—under the law and well- established Supreme Court precedent, it clearly does not—then this charge is really an attempt to shut down the exercise of First Amendment rights. Nor did I “spout lies” about secret folders in the machines—the forensic audit discussed above has identified the suspension files in the software. Neither is there anything “conspiratorial” about simply identifying the available evidence.
I am grateful that not a single one of my colleagues at the Law School signed such a defamatory letter. To my knowledge, not one of the faculty signers has a law degree, and the three members of the Board of Trustees who are lawyers (and hyper-partisan Democrats) are clearly not well-versed in the constitutional questions at issue—either the Article II role of legislatures, or the definition of the “incitement” exception to the First Amendment’s freedom of speech. Nevertheless, these 169 have created such a hostile environment for me that I no longer wish to be a member of the Chapman faculty, and am therefore retiring from my position, effective immediately. I am currently on leave from Chapman while serving as the Visiting Professor of Conservative Thought and Policy at the Benson Center for the Study of Western Civilization at the University of Colorado Boulder, so my mid-year retirement will not have any impact on my Chapman students. Once that visitorship is concluded, I plan to devote my full-time efforts to the Claremont Institute and its Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, which I direct.