Washington – October 2, 2023
The United States Supreme Court, with Justice Clarence Thomas abstaining from the deliberation, has dismissed John Eastman’s plea to invalidate court judgments that linked him to former President Donald Trump’s endeavors to challenge the 2020 election outcome.
The high court’s decision on Monday essentially upholds previous rulings by a federal district judge in California, which had stated that Eastman’s emails contained evidence of a potential crime linked to Trump’s actions.
While Justice Thomas did not provide a reason for his recusal, some of the emails in question, inadvertently made public during a legal battle between Eastman and congressional investigators, revealed top Trump advisers referring to Thomas as their potential ally in convincing the Supreme Court to legitimize Trump’s actions. Notably, Eastman had previously worked as a clerk for Justice Thomas and had some recent interactions with his wife, conservative activist Ginni Thomas.
Eastman’s bid to annul unfavorable court rulings gained prominence after he was indicted in Georgia in August, along with Trump and 17 others, on charges related to a comprehensive effort to undermine the state’s 2020 election results. The California Bar Association is also pursuing the revocation of Eastman’s law license for his actions, and a trial on this matter has been ongoing since June.
In his appeal to the Supreme Court, Eastman argued that the Jan. 6 select committee inadvertently made the sensitive emails public by including a live URL in one of their court filings that POLITICO accessed. This error, he contended, undermined his efforts to prevent the committee from accessing the emails in the first place, and therefore, the district judge’s rulings against him should be invalidated. However, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Eastman’s plea, leading to his appeal to the Supreme Court.
The high court’s decision to reject Eastman’s appeal reaffirms a series of 2022 rulings by U.S. District Court Judge David Carter, who portrayed Eastman’s actions as part of a “coup in search of a legal theory” aimed at subverting the 2020 election. Judge Carter also invalidated many of Eastman’s claims of attorney-client privilege and found evidence of potential criminal activity in some of the emails.
These emails provided crucial evidence to the Jan. 6 select committee, revealing Trump’s persistent attempts to overturn the election results. They showed that Eastman and other allies regarded Justice Thomas as the most likely Supreme Court justice to rule in their favor, potentially casting doubt on the 2020 election results and encouraging Republican-led state legislatures to intervene and challenge Joe Biden’s victory.
In conclusion, the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear Eastman’s appeal effectively upholds the previous rulings against him, further implicating him in the investigations surrounding the events of January 6, 2021.