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Not Even Justice Clarence Thomas Wants To Know John Eastman These Days
But his emails!
Trump’s bumbling coup lawyer John Eastman has a whole lotta legal problems, including a RICO indictment in Georgia and disbarment proceedings in his home state of California. So perhaps it’s just as well that the Supreme Court treated his petition for certiorari like a fart in church, refusing to acknowledge it and waiting for it to dissipate on its own.
In fact the only attention it got was from Justice Clarence Thomas, for whom Eastman clerked two decades ago — and that was just a note to say that he wasn’t touching this case with a ten-foot pole.
“Justice Thomas took no part in the consideration or decision of this petition,” was all the attention the Court could muster for the petitioner in Case No. 22-1138, Eastman, John C. v. Thompson, Bennie G., et al.
Justices aren’t required to disclose the reason for their recusals, and in the main they don’t. But here, when the underlying lawsuit involved emails from Justice Thomas’s batshit loony wife Ginny to Eastman, it’s not hard to guess why he noped out.
There’s also the fact that it allowed the ethically challenged jurist to get some positive publicity without having to actually do anything that makes a single whit of difference. Because it only takes four justices to grant certiorari, so clearly the other five conservatives didn’t want to hear this case either. They didn’t didn’t even bother asking the appellees or the government to weigh in, simply treating Eastman like a pro se crank and tossing his petition like the junk mail that it was.
But we will give Ol’ Johnboy a little attention, mostly because it gives us an excuse to revisit one of the funniest legal fucktussles ever, and Your Wonkette will never not swing at that pitch.
It started back in 2020, when then-Professor John Eastman used his work email for coup plotting. Chapman University Law School “retired” Eastman approximately ten minutes after his role in the January 6 insurrection came out, but it still had his emails when the House January 6 Select Committee came knocking with a subpoena in 2021. Eastman sued in the Central District of California to block the school from complying, and Judge David Carter ordered him to hand almost all his messages over, ruling that Eastman and Trump were likely engaged in a criminal conspiracy, so attorney-client privilege was abrogated under the crime-fraud exception.
On October 19, 2022, Judge Carter gave Eastman nine days to comply. After which, Eastman and his lawyers did …
NOTHING. For an entire week.
On October 27, they asked Judge Carter to reconsider his ruling. And on October 28, just two hours before the production deadline, they filed an emergency motion with the Ninth Circuit, begging it to come to his aid.
They then sent an email to the January 6 Committee with a Dropbox link to the documents, and a request that Congress “decline from reviewing them until the Ninth Circuit has a chance to rule.”
The committee staffers had a hearty laugh — ALLEGEDLY — and then immediately downloaded the emails.
Undeterred, Eastman then asked the Ninth Circuit to force Congress to return the documents pending appeal, or at least not to disclose them — because apparently the constitutional law professor never heard of separation of powers. Congress replied that “the Constitutional separation of powers does not allow the judiciary to restrain Congress in this manner, and … courts on multiple occasions have applied the Speech or Debate Clause to bar such relief.” It also attached the email above to its filing, at which point reporters at Politico clicked on the link, downloaded the emails, and immediately posted them online, mooting the appeal.
Now a normal person would realize that it was on Eastman’s counsel to disable that link, and just take the “L.” But John Eastman is no one’s idea of normal, so he kept banging on the door of the Ninth Circuit demanding that it vacate the trial court’s decision. His reasoning was that the case had become moot because of those dirty tricksters in Congress, rather than thanks to his own lawyers’ cockup, so he was entitled to a mulligan.
No one at the Ninth Circuit bit on this dumb argument, with not a single judge voting in favor of rehearing his petition en banc. And so Eastman launched himself at the Supreme Court with the same demand, and got the same result.
But at least he walks away with this cool piece of history all his own. And we all got to point and laugh so, not a total loss.
[Eastman v. Thompson, SCOTUS Docket]
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