universityI recently “reblogged” Prison Break, a post by Keith DeHavelle. In that post , describes the National Lawyers Guild (NLG). Since ‘s post already describes the NLG quite well, I will not try to redo his effort.

I just wanted a better measure of the importance of the NLG.  So I decided to google “National Lawyers Guild” history site:edu. I restricted the search to the .edu domain in the hope I might get a more objective history at an educational institution. I suppose that sounds stupid, but the NLG has chapters all over the country, and I was trying to filter out those web sites.  So what did I get? I got law schools.

Here are the first five web sites that I turned up.

Anyway, the list goes on and on. I got 158,000 hits just in the .edu domain.

Make sure you read ‘s post, Prison Break. Then ask yourself a question. What kind of effect would an organization like the NLG have on our nation’s law schools?


  1. I spent quite a few hours talking to you about the Constitution’s artful construction, Tom. If you’ve deleted all that, it’s a pity. But there are plenty of other sources, many of them much more thorough than I can be in this medium and on this site.


  2. People can read back through comments to previous posts, if they are interested. We have spent a good bit of time covering this ground.


  3. I was directly responding to your comment that I could not point to any clauses in the Constitution that justify Congress overspending a budget. I pointed to Article I, Section 8, Clause 2. If that’s a “rabbit hole”, it’s one that you inquired about and for which I provided a response. I also think that all the programs you mention in your most recent comment can be justified under the Constitution (I’ve explained the Constitutional structure to you before in that, while it has some specific grants and prohibitions, it also was intentionally drafted to accord general powers of governance, in order to prevent it becoming a document that would only work for a year or two). Where I think the more fruitful discussion might occur is in whether the programs you mention are sound policy decisions. There we might find more agreement.


    1. You have said you think all the programs I mentioned can be justified. That much is true. You have not explained how the Constitution can be used you justify their existence. However, if you think you did, you are most welcome to paste a link to the comment. Note that I try to limit spammers by limiting the number of links that can be included in a comment to three.


  4. I haven’t particularly said that that leaders (now or in the past) are avatars of constitutional fidelity. I have said that the Constitution has very few friends in the political class. Again, either because you don’t read well, or because you are more comfortable distorting what I say than dealing with it (and I have given you the benefit of the doubt generally by attributing your misstatements to the former cause, rather than the latter), you miss my point that politicians in both the Article I and Article II branches tend to chafe, at one time or another, under the constraints of the Constitution. The current Administration strikes me as not significantly different than many of its predecessors or many Congresses in that regard.

    Deficit spending is well entrenched in American history, going back about as far as the Constitution itself. The document does not forbid it, and indeed, in Article I, expressly authorizes the federal government to borrow money (implying that there will be times of deficits). I sympathize with your concern about public debt generally, although probably for different reasons than you. I simply think it unwise fiscal policy to incur too much institutional debt. However, I do not regard it as forbidden by the Constitution.

    I’m an American History buff, Tom. There are always at least one or two volumes open on my desk and nightstand on these subject. I think I’ll decline your suggestion that I read more. I’ve been chugging along at a rather good clip for more than five decades now.


    1. scout – One rabbit hole after another. What is the point?

      The fact that previous generations of politicians chafed under the restrictions placed upon them by the Constitution is not especially relevant. We all chafe under various constraints. As children we have to be taught good conduct and disciplined to accept the fact we must behave honorably.

      What is relevant is whether this generation of politicians merely chafes under the restrictions placed upon them by the Constitution or seeks to set the Constitution aside.

      For the most part, the Constitution says what the Federal Government can do, not what it cannot do. Why is that relevant? Yes, the Constitution does say our government can borrow money. IT SAYS THAT! What you cannot explain is where in the Constitution our leaders get the authority for Social Security, Obamacare, welfare spending, what the Dept. of Ed. doles out…. And so you point to rabbits running down little holes.


  5. The 16th Amendment was not a Socialist putsch (or push), Tom. Socialism had nothing to do with it and, at the time, Socialism as a political force in America was not particularly powerful. I probably agree with you (and a zillion others, past and present) that federal tax policy is a mess. But that is a political failure, largely in the Congress.

    There isn’t a “process” of linear increase in corruption. I suspect that there was more overt corruption in the late 19th Century than at any time before or since. Of course, corruption can take more subtle forms. But I sense an inherent impression on your part that each year we decline further. My impression is that it is more like a sine wave that goes up and down over time.


    1. You might want to read a bit more history. When the 16th Amendment passed, the politicians supporting it used class warfare, promising to tax only the rich.

      Linear increase in corruption? 😆

      Do you always have to try to divert the discussion down a rabbit hole.

      The fundamental issue is whether our leaders take their oath of office seriously, and most do not. We the People have failed to hold them accountable.

      We can read the Constitution. How does much of what our leaders have been doing here of late bear any relationship to that document? You can say it does, but you cannot point any clauses in the Constitution that justify how they have spent well over have the Federal Budget. That’s why we are running huge deficits, and the taxation powers of 16th Amendment are not enough.


  6. If you’re referring to recent remarks by the President on the problems of income inequality, I think we can accept for discussion that the data on this show a major structural change in American society. The question then becomes, is this a threat to American values, and, if so, what can be done about it. I have policy issues with progressive taxation (but, talk about anachronisms, I am in a very small minority on that point, I think and have no chance of ever getting anywhere with it), but don’t view it as constitutionally forbidden. I’m not at all certain where the Dems are going with this income inequality issue, but I do agree that it poses some real potential problems for all of us and for the health of the economy.

    I’ll trot out as a hypothesis that the Constitution seems to be an “annoying obstacle” for virtually every President, this one no more than many of his predecessors (and many Members of Congress for that matter). In part, that’s because the document is constructed to be an obstacle in that it constrains each of the branches of government. Politicians are often fairly aggressive personality types and don’t like bumping up against these constraints.


    1. Structural change in American society! What a cute way of expressing an unfolding disaster.

      With the 16th Amendment, I will concede that the Socialist scored a major coup. They gained the power to tax us as much as they wanted, and they do so with all the credits, deductions, loopholes, and so forth that they can invent. Thus, they have succeeded in purloining our money so they can now buy our votes with it.

      Is the Constitution an “annoying obstacle” for virtually every President? With each succeeding generation, American politicians have become more corrupt. When did the process begin? We can speculate, but it makes little difference. The fundamental issue is whether our leaders take their oath of office seriously, and most do not. We the People have failed to hold them accountable.


  7. I suspect there are fewer Communist lunatics in the U.S. (and probably the world at large) than there were a few decades ago. These folks sound a lot like 60s radicals to me and that they are somewhat of an anachronism.


    1. When the fellow we have occupying White House has said he wants to redistribute the wealth and is redistributing the wealth, it would appear we have what you call a 60s radical in the White House. Is he a communist? At the very least he is a Socialist who clearly regards our Constitution as an annoy obstacle.


  8. I went to law school. It was a long time ago, granted. This group had zero effect on me and anyone I knew there. Obviously someone joins so I can’t say say that no one is affected, but I think they are generally regarded in the profession as a leftist fringe element. I’m quite sure you could set off a tactical nuke on K Street or Wall Street or any Main Street and not get a single NLG casualty.

    I think you guys already have enough hobgoblins and boogie men to chase around without adding more.


    1. Since it is impossible to accurately quantify social change, we cannot know the extent you are right. Is the NLG is the cause of societal change or is its existence the effect of societal change? That is, has the NLG increased the number of communist lunatics in our society, or does it owe its existence to the increased number of communist lunatics in our society?

      When compared to other organizations that have been a bad influence on our society, the NLG is relatively small. Therefore, we can only rightly say the truth lies somewhere between the extremes.

      What we do know is that we are currently moving towards Socialism, and the NLG has a widespread and significant presence at our law schools.


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