Eastman's proposed job title on ballot sparks criticism

Chris Rizo Mar. 19, 2010, 12:40pm

John Eastman (R)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-If California Republican attorney general candidate John Eastman has his way, his job description on the June primary ballot will be "assistant attorney general," a designation that has sparked some controversy.

The problem some have with the designation is that Eastman is not an assistant attorney general in the California Department of Justice, but rather is outside counsel for the South Dakota attorney general's office.

A top political strategist for Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, who is also in the GOP AG race, was quoted by the Los Angeles Times as saying Eastman is "intentionally trying to mislead and misinform voters about his occupation, his qualifications and his career path."

For political candidates who are not in office have their ballot designation limited by California Elections Code §13107.

The statute says that their ballot designations may be "no more than three words designating either the current principal professions, vocations, or occupations of the candidate, or the principal professions, vocations, or occupations of the candidate during the calendar year immediately preceding the filing of nomination documents."

Also running for the GOP attorney general nomination is state Sen. Tom Harman of Huntington Beach.

California Secretary of State Debra Bowen, a Democrat, will ultimately decide whether Eastman's proposed job title will be printed in GOP voters' pamphlets.

In January, Eastman resigned as dean of the Chapman University Law School Law in Orange. Since then, his "primary professional occupation" is working on a U.S. Supreme Court case on behalf of South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley.

Eastman's campaign said he is being paid $20,000 for the work on the case of Reisch v. Sisney, No. 09-953. The case involves a state prisoner who is challenging the way kosher food is prepared at the state's correctional institution.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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California Department of Justice
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