As expected, thanks to a leaked draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court has overruled Roe v. Wade and returned authority to regulate abortions to the states. As was also expected, demonstrations erupted in many cities to protest the decision, some of which turned riotous and unlawful. In Los Angeles, one police officer was reportedly attacked with a makeshift blowtorch.
Legal Observers from the National Lawyers Guild attended Dobbs protests, making good on the group’s promise after the leak to stand “with all of you fighting this in the streets and the courtrooms.” Distinguishable by their distinctive lime green hats, Guild observers—one of whom explained that he was there “to essentially monitor police activity because cops lie”—were reportedly detained by police at the Arizona Capitol.
Though many may be unfamiliar with the Guild, the rapidly growing 9,000+ member nonprofit association of lawyers, law students, legal workers, and jailhouse lawyers is conspicuous not only for its bright headgear, but for the left-wing radicalism it espouses. The group responded to the leaked Dobbs draft, for example, by calling it “part of a coordinated, fascist effort to expand state control over marginalized people’s bodies.”
Indeed, the Guild believes that the American government is “based on and dedicated to preserving white supremacy, hetero-patriarchy and imperialism,” and its numerous far-left political positions include calling for the total abolition of police and prisons. It is also notable as one of the relatively few nonprofits to have expressed support for the Antifa movement, promising to “continue to support anti-fascists and anti-racists in the street and in the courts.”
Legal Observers from the Guild volunteer to attend demonstrations in order to monitor and document the actions of law enforcement (but not protesters), as well as to provide support for those who are arrested—including connecting them to bail funds and other legal defense resources. The Guild’s presence at these events is anything but neutral, and it will only provide support to protests “that directly align” with its far-left values.
By its own figures, the impact of this support has been substantial. In 2020 alone, the Guild claimed to have “coordinated legal support” for more than 20,000 arrested demonstrators. It subsequently demanded that all federal charges be dropped against hundreds of arrestees who were facing them for their alleged criminal actions during that year’s Black Lives Matter protests.
As it happens, the Guild has a long and interesting history of serving as a legal support system to America’s far-left. That history—which winds through the Communist Party and McCarthyism, to the New Left and the Weather Underground, and much more—is available at InfluenceWatch here. Many of the fringe left’s other modern manifestations also draw upon this same legacy.
We must always defend the ability of those with whom we disagree to publicly express that disagreement in full furtherance of their Constitutional right to do so, though this tolerance never extends to destruction or violence. As police try to do the exceptionally difficult job of respecting the former while preventing the latter during often-tense situations, it is worth remembering the underlying motivations of the radicals in green hats who see them as little more than malevolent agents of “the white supremacist, capitalist, settler colonial state.”
Robert Stilson is the Special Projects Manager at Capital Research Center in Washington, DC.DONATE
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