John Eastman (R)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline)-One of California's leading conservative legal minds, John Eastman, is considering a run for state attorney general.

Eastman, dean of the Chapman University College of Law, told Legal Newsline on Friday night that he is strongly considering a run for the Republican attorney general nomination.

Noting that he has been urged to jump into the race, Eastman said in an e-mail to Legal Newsline: "I am giving it serious consideration."

To date, just one candidate, state Sen. Tom Harman of Huntington Beach, is seeking the GOP nomination to succeed Democrat Jerry Brown, a likely gubernatorial candidate, as the Golden State's chief legal officer.

"Eastman's entry into the race would be a major shakeup, as Eastman would quickly become a favorite of conservatives nationwide, due to his long standing leadership in the movement," wrote FlashReport publisher Jon Fleischman on Friday, first reporting Eastman's interest in the post.

Eastman is a leader within the Federalist Society and served as a law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Before being appointed dean of Chapman's law school in 2007, Eastman was director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, a public interest law firm affiliated with the Claremont Institute, a conservative Southern California think tank.

Eastman earned his law degree from the University of Chicago Law School in 1995. He has a Ph.D. in government from the Claremont Graduate School, and was the 1990 Republican nominee for Congress in California's 34th District.

Also considering a run for the Republican AG nomination is Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley, who has said he will not make a decision about a possible run until later this month.

Elected Los Angeles's county's top prosecutor in 2000, Cooley says that experience prepared him to be the state's chief law enforcement officer.

Democrats vying to succeed Brown as attorney general 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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