John C. Eastman

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John C. Eastman
Personal details
Born (1960-04-21) April 21, 1960 (age 58)
Lincoln, Nebraska, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Elizabeth C'de Baca Eastman
Profession Law professor and constitutional law scholar

John C. Eastman (born April 21, 1960) is an American law professor and constitutional law scholar. He is the Henry Salvatori Professor of Law & Community Service, and former Dean[1] at Chapman University School of Law in Orange, California. He is also the Director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, a public interest law firm affiliated with the Claremont Institute for the Study of Statesmanship and Political Philosophy.

Eastman earned his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was a member of the law review. He also has a Ph.D. in Government from the Claremont Graduate School. He earned his B.A. in Politics and Economics from the University of Dallas. Prior to law school, he was Director of Congressional & Public Affairs at the United States Commission on Civil Rights during the Reagan administration.[2] He was also the unsuccessful 1990 Republican nominee for United States Congress in the 34th District of California.[3]

After law school, he clerked for Judge J. Michael Luttig at the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and Justice Clarence Thomas at the Supreme Court of the United States, then worked as an attorney for the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis, specializing in civil and constitutional litigation. He later joined Chapman to teach constitutional law. He also appears weekly on the nationally-syndicated Hugh Hewitt show commenting on law.[citation needed]

On February 1, 2010, Eastman resigned as Dean of the Chapman University School of Law to pursue the Republican nomination for California Attorney General.[4] He finished second in the primary to Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, who lost to Democrat Kamala Harris in the 2010 general election. Eastman served as a Special Assistant Attorney General for the State of South Dakota, representing it in a denied petition to the Supreme Court of the United States in a constitutional challenge to federal spending].[5] He has also represented the North Carolina legislature and the State of Arizona in unsuccessfully petitioning the Supreme Court in cases involving same-sex marriage,[6] abortion,[7] and immigration.[8]

Eastman is Chairman of the Federalist Society's Federalism & Separation of Powers practice group.[9] He is Chairman of the Board of the National Organization for Marriage,[10] a member of the Board of the Public Interest Legal Foundation,[11] a member of the Board of Advisors of St. Monica's Academy,[12] a member of the Advisory Board of the St. Thomas More Law Society of Orange County,[13] and a Member of the Board[14] and on the faculty at the Claremont Institute.[15]

He has testified before Congress, including:

  • June 4, 2013 - Testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee about alleged political abuses by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) during the Obama administration.
  • April 29, 2015 - Testimony before the House Judiciary immigration subcommittee about birthright citizenship.
  • July 22, 2015 - Testimony at a U.S. Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing chaired by Senator Ted Cruz addressing Supreme Court activism.
  • December 10, 2014 - Testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee arguing that President Barack Obama's unilateral suspension of immigration laws for more than five million illegal immigrants was unconstitutional.

His scholarship and Heritage Foundation white paper about the meaning of the 14th Amendment's Citizenship Clause, concluding that the Constitution does not mandate birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants, became the subject of national discussion in 2015 after Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump raised the subject in several speeches and claimed that some of the nation's top constitutional scholars disagree that the 14th Amendment mandates automatic citizenship for children of those in the country unlawfully. Eastman was reported to have been one of those scholars. His scholarship, which most often focuses on the structural aspects of the United States Constitution, has been published in the University of Chicago Law Review, the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, and the Georgetown Law Journal.[citation needed]


External links[edit]

  • Biography, Claremont Institute; accessed April 27, 2014.
  • Biodata, Chapman University School of Law website; accessed April 27, 2014.
  •; accessed April 27, 2014.
Academic offices
Preceded by
Parham Williams
3rd Dean of the Chapman University School of Law
Succeeded by
Tom Campbell