The United States Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to hear a challenge by a Republican club in California against the cancellation by a private organization of a 2017 event at a property owned by the city of Pasadena that was supposed to include an attorney conservative later aligned with former President Donald Trump.
Judges dismissed the Pasadena Republican Club’s appeal from a lower court ruling that quashing attorney John Eastman’s scheduled appearance did not violate the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits government discrimination on the grounds of freedom of expression or religion.
Eastman was instrumental in Trump’s failed attempt to overturn his 2020 re-election defeat based on false allegations of widespread voter fraud.
The property at issue, Maxwell House, is owned by the City of Pasadena, which leased it to the Western Justice Center, a nonprofit that focuses on conflict resolution. Space in the Maxwell House is available for hire for events, including weddings.
The Pasadena Republican Club had wanted to rent a space there for Eastman to appear as a guest speaker, but the Western Justice Center canceled the event because its opposition to same-sex marriage and other LGBT rights expansions would against the values ââof the group.
Eastman was then a professor at Chapman University School of Law. Eastman is the chairman of the board of the National Organization for Marriage, which has been active in the fight against the legalization of same-sex marriage.
In the Republican club’s 2018 lawsuit, its attorneys said the First Amendment applied because the Western Justice Center was in fact a branch of government based on its city property lease. The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Court of Appeals ruled against the Republican group in February.
Eastman has achieved a higher profile with his affiliation with Trump. He spoke at a rally where Trump addressed his supporters ahead of the January 6 riot at the United States Capitol.
Eastman also wrote a memo outlining how he believed then-Vice President Mike Pence could thwart official Congressional certification of Trump’s loss of re-election in 2020. Pence ultimately refused to follow suit. Eastman’s advice. Eastman was forced to resign his post at Chapman University days after the riot amid criticism of his actions.