Judge rules Eastman case should move forward

State had argued it had no power to enforce ‘disloyalty’ provision of Alaska Constitution
Judge rules Eastman case should move forward
Published: Sep. 12, 2022 at 4:29 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Alaska Superior Court Judge Jack McKenna ruled Monday that the Division of Elections is required to enforce a provision of the Alaska Constitution that disqualifies from running for — or holding elected office — any “person who advocates, or who aids or belongs to any party or organization or association which advocates, the overthrow by force or violence of the government of the United States or of the State...”

Lawyers for the Northern Justice Project filed a complaint claiming that Alaska Republican Representative David Eastman, from Wasilla, should be barred from office because he is a lifetime member of the Oath Keepers, one of the groups that attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.

A lawyer for the state argued there is no mechanism for the Division of Elections to enforce the constitutional clause, and Eastman’s lawyer argued voters should have the ultimate say.

But a lawyer for Randall Kowalke — a constituent of Eastman’s and the plaintiff in the case — argued the Division of Elections is the most appropriate agency to judge a candidate’s qualifications. Judge McKenna agreed.

Other motions remain that could still derail a trial, but for now, the case is scheduled to begin the week of Dec. 12.