BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — John Eastman, a Trump acolyte who advocated overturning the results of the 2020 presidential election, is no longer a member of the American Political Science Association, a representative of the organization said Thursday.
“I can confirm that John Eastman is not an APSA member at this time,” Dan Gibson, an APSA spokesperson, said in an e-mail to Nexstar’s WIAT. The organization has not responded to questions related to when Eastman’s membership ended and why. A copy of the lawyer’s curriculum vitae posted by Congress shows that Eastman claimed membership in APSA, the largest professional organization of political scientists, from 2001 until at least 2019.
The statement from APSA comes just days after the House’s Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol revealed that Eastman sought a pardon from Pres. Trump in the closing days of the administration. “I’ve decided I should be on the pardon list, if that is still in the works,” Eastman wrote in an email to Rudy Giuliani, according to the committee.
This is not the first time Eastman and APSA have shared headlines. Last year, after the publication of Eastman’s six-step plan to overturn the 2020 presidential election results, a group of nearly 300 political scientists from across the country signed an open letter asking that APSA strip Eastman of membership. The lawyer and former Clarence Thomas law clerk had been scheduled to participate in two panels at the organization’s annual meeting sponsored by the Claremont Institute, an APSA “related group.”
After criticism, APSA shifted the panels to a virtual format, a move the Claremont Institute called “gutless.” The Claremont Institute eventually pulled the panels altogether, APSA said at the time. Still, many political scientists said that organization had not gone far enough, pointing back to two demands: strip Eastman of his membership and the Claremont Institute of its “related group” status.
Jennifer Victor, an associate professor of political science at George Mason University, said while there should be a diverse range of ideas that are fair game for academic discussion, there are a few exceptions. “The marketplace of ideas should be pretty creative and widespread,” she said. “But I think it should also be consistent with some principles. And I think one of those principles is a version of democracy itself. Democracy comes in lots and lots of forms, but I think what Eastman is advocating for is in no way democracy.“
Now, months after that initial controversy, APSA has confirmed Eastman is no longer a member. But Dave Karpf, a professor at the George Washington University who circulated the open letter, still has questions related to the Claremont Institute, the conservative think tank that had aimed to host Eastman at the APSA’s annual conference.
“They are no longer listed on the website, and they aren’t in the 2022 program,” Karpf said. “I have heard nothing from APSA about termination of their related-group status, though.”