McClintock backs Eastman for Calif. AG

Chris Rizo Feb. 18, 2010, 4:38pm

John Eastman (R)

LOS ANGELES (Legal Newsline)-Republican John Eastman's campaign for California attorney general got a major boost Thursday, gaining the endorsement of one of the state's leading conservatives.

U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Granite Bay, said he is backing Eastman's bid for attorney general because of his record of fighting for conservative ideals.

"It's rare that a candidate with John Eastman's understanding of the constitutional limitations on the power of government seeks an office as important as California attorney general," McClintock said. "John Eastman has spent a lifetime fighting for the values that define not only the Republican Party, but conservatism and the rule of law."

He added: "After four years of (Democrat) Jerry Brown, I can think of no one I would rather have as attorney general than John Eastman."

Eastman, former dean of the Chapman University College of Law, told Legal Newsline in an earlier interview that he is well suited to serve as the state's next chief legal officer given his expertise in constitutional law, noting that the next attorney general will have to grapple with such thorny legal issues as retroactive payments to public employee pension funds, defending voter-approved initiatives like property tax-limiting Proposition 13 and possibly challenging the constitutionality of federal health care legislation pending in Congress.

Eastman, a leader within the Federalist Society and a former law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, could do well in the Republican primary, political observers have said.

"He is very well regarded in the conservative intellectual community," said Jack Pitney, a political science professor at Claremont McKenna College. "He has a good chance of rallying the Republican base."

Also running for the Republican AG nomination is state Sen. Tom Harman of Huntington Beach and Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley.

Democrats vying for their party's nomination include Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico of Newark, Assemblyman Pedro Nava of Santa Barbara, Assemblyman Ted Lieu of Torrance, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris, former Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo and Chris Kelly, chief privacy officer for the Web site Facebook.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at

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