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The federal judge who just ruled that Donald Trump and his attorney John Eastman “more likely than not” attempted to illegally obstruct Congress by concocting legal schemes to subvert the election of President Joseph Biden is the same judge hearing a homeless rights case filed against the City of Santa Barbara’s no-parking rules for oversize vehicles. 

Federal Judge David O. Carter, a retired Marine and ferociously outspoken from the bench, opined that Trump and Eastman, an Orange County lawyer, conspired to overturn last November’s presidential election results. “Dr. Eastman and President Trump launched a campaign to overturn a democratic election, an action unprecedented in American history,” wrote Carter. “This campaign was not confined to the ivory tower — it was a coup in search of a legal theory.” In this case, Eastman had hatched a scheme to delay certification of the election as part of a broader effort to give the final say to former Vice President Mike Pence. 

Pence famously refused to go along. Carter’s opinion was part of the order compelling Eastman, a former law professor at Chapman College, to turn over emails between him and Trump. Eastman had argued such communications were privileged as attorney-client communications. 

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Judge Carter is also overseeing a case brought against the City of Santa Barbara’s oversize-vehicle ordinance brought by Los Angeles civil rights attorney Stephen Yagman, who argued the ordinance is part of a campaign of “negative eugenics” waged against poor and homeless people by City Hall. “The horror of a rich person having to endure seeing a poor person’s camper or RV or indeed the actual poor person,” Yagman argued, “is not a legitimate reason for enforcement of the subject ordinance. It is an ugly neighborhood beautification project.”

City Attorney Ariel Calonne had filed a motion to dismiss Yagman’s complaint. The matter had been initially scheduled to be heard in December but was delayed at the last minute. In 2021, Judge Carter famously ordered the City of Los Angeles to find housing for its Skid Row residents within 180 days or face sanctions of $1 billion. That ruling was reversed by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

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