Kowalke will not appeal ruling in case against Rep. David Eastman

The decision by the civil rights firm representing Randall Kowalke was announced Tuesday
The decision by the civil rights firm representing Randall Kowalke was announced Tuesday
Published: Jan. 3, 2023 at 6:41 PM AKST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PALMER, Alaska (KTUU) - The civil rights law firm representing Randall Kowalke in a lawsuit against Wasilla Representative David Eastman has announced that it will not appeal a ruling by a judge made Dec. 23.

The Northern Justice Project, LLC issued the press release Tuesday, just ahead of a scheduled status hearing calendared for Jan. 4.

Kowalke filed the suit back in July that challenged a disloyalty clause in the Alaska Constitution, claiming that Eastman’s lifetime membership to the Oath Keepers organization broke that clause and made him ineligible to hold his seat in the Alaska State Legislature. The ensuing trial largely focused on the Oath Keepers’ actions during the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol and whether it was an attempt to overthrow the United States government.

Superior Court Judge Jack McKenna ruled in favor of Eastman on Dec. 23.

“It seemed that you’d have to rewrite the Constitution several different ways to try and overrule the votes of the people on election day, and they tried,” Eastman said in response to the judge’s ruling. “I’m glad to see that they were not successful in being able to do that.”

Eastman, with his legal woes now behind him, will head to Juneau next week for the 32nd Alaska Legislative Session.

Kowalke’s lawyer Goriune Dudukgian said Tuesday that while he disagrees with the ruling, he felt it was a fair trial and the decision not to appeal was difficult.

“We basically had to consider the chances that we would win on appeal, and the potential downside of making bad law that would impact future cases and future eligibility challenges — not only in Alaska but in other places,” Dudukgian stated.

He said they were successful in arguing the two initial points the plaintiff’s side was burdened to prove: that Eastman was a member of the Oath Keepers and that the organization tried to overthrow the government.

“We won on both those issues,” Dudukgian said. “It was just this third element that came in, in the middle of the trial, where the court ruled against us.”

The third element Judge McKenna considered was whether there was a connection between the Wasilla lawmaker and the Oath Keeper’s actions during the Jan. 6 attack — something he inevitably deemed unfounded.

“They owe an apology to the voters in my district, who they have punished because they didn’t like the way that my constituents voted,” Eastman said.

In the press release announcing there would be no appeal, Kowalke did make a written statement regarding the outcome of the trial. protect

“The true Patriots are those who strive to protect the Constitution from the personal whims and interpretations of traitors like Stewart Rhodes and John Eastman, who tried to stop the peaceful transfer of presidential power for the first time in U.S. history. My belief was that the Alaska Constitution prohibited someone from serving in our legislature who belonged to an organization such as the Oath Keepers,” the statement read. “In the final analysis, the court agreed with us that the Oath Keepers is a dangerous organization, but found that Rep. Eastman had enough plausible deniability to escape disqualification. But anyone who joins or continues to associate with the Oath Keepers after this ruling does so at his or her own peril.”