Letter: The wily lawyer who argued ‘birther’ conspiracies against Sen. Harris lacks tact

John Eastman, the featured speaker at Constitution Week 2020, condescends and misleads when he says Linda Spaet opposed him speaking at the event out of her “ignorance” of the Constitution.

Belittling his public neglects the decorum, equity, and tact rightly expected of a dignitary. Ms. Spaet needn’t buy into Eastman’s legal argument about the intended meaning of the Constitutional term “natural-born citizen.” Legal arguments have enforceable results only in a court of law; Eastman argues law to the general public as a wily stratagem.

Eastman, a lawyer, knows his argument won’t prevail in a court of law — he doesn’t argue there. To defeat Sen. Kamala Harris, he does an end run to his political goal, publicly arguing “birtherism,” while pretending he’s “only discussing the Constitution.” 

It’s a widely known unquestionable fact that Eastman’s discussion of the Constitution, when published in Newsweek, fomented nation-wide racism and birtherism, especially after being embraced by Donald Trump, the godfather of birtherism. Admittedly, Eastman propounded the same discourse at Constitution Week. 

Newsweek’s editor ultimately apologized for publishing Eastman’s discourse, responsibly admitting she should have foreseen the societal harms it engendered. Chapman University and Colorado University, where he’s a professor of law and guest faculty member, respectively, also denounced his discourse. Countless others have rebuked it in various forums. Spaet doesn’t stand alone.

Ideally, Constitution Week deserves high praise; many people had a good time at the 2020 rendition and found it informative and entertaining. Many good people found Eastman genial and treated him well. But Linda Spaet shouldn’t be berated for merely expressing a respectable opinion about notorious discourse that begets racism and vile birtherism. She doesn’t oppose Eastman out of ignorance, but out of her morality and decency. 

— Robert W. Ramsey, Grand Lake

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