“Alaska Rep. Eastman, contending with Red Scare-era disloyalty clause, advances toward trial”

Under-discussed story from Alaska Public Radio:

In November 1955, the 55 delegates of Alaska’s constitutional convention gathered in Fairbanks, intent on drafting the fundamental document for a new state. But before they began, each member stood and swore an oath, declaring they were not a member of the Communist Party and did not support any organization that advocated the overthrow of the U.S. government.

In the 75 days that followed, the delegates debated the form of Alaska’s state government, sometimes asking themselves how the state might be governed during a nuclear war or if Alaska was invaded by the Soviet Union. 

Encouraged by Congress, they included a clause that forbids someone from holding public office if they aid or belong to a group that advocates the overthrow of the U.S. government.

This month, 67 years after the delegates gathered in Fairbanks, that clause will be judged in court for the first time. 

Though it was written during the waning days of the anticommunist scare of the 1950s, the clause will be tested against a member of the political right, Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla. Eastman has been accused of violating the clause by holding a lifetime membership in the Oath Keepers, a right-wing militia group whose founder was convicted of sedition in connection with the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

The lawsuit challenging Eastman’s eligibility was filed by a Matanuska-Susitna Borough resident, Randall Kowalke, who said his goal is to determine the clause’s limits.

And in a related story from the Anchorage Daily News, “‘Stalemate’: Prepare to wait weeks, or even months, before a majority forms in Alaska House”

Share this: