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IPFS News Link • Activism

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes' path: From Yale to jail

• New York Post

PHOENIX — Long before he assembled one of the largest far-right anti-government militia groups in U.S. history, before his Oath Keepers stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, Stewart Rhodes was a promising Yale Law School graduate.

He secured a clerkship on the Arizona Supreme Court, in part thanks to his unusual life story: a stint as an Army paratrooper cut short by a training accident, followed by marriage, college and an Ivy League law degree.

The clerkship was one more rung up from a hardscrabble beginning. But rather than fitting in, Rhodes came across as angry and aggrieved.

He railed to colleagues about how the Patriot Act, which gave the government greater surveillance powers after the Sept. 11 attacks, would erase civil liberties. He referred to Vice President Dick Cheney as a fascist for supporting the Bush administration's use of "enemy combatant" status to indefinitely detain prisoners.

"He saw this titanic struggle between people like him who wanted individual liberty and the government that would try to take away that liberty," said Matt Parry, who worked with Rhodes as a clerk for Arizona Supreme Court Justice Mike Ryan.

Rhodes alienated his moderate Republican boss and eventually left the steppingstone job. Since then he has ordered his life around a thirst for greatness and deep distrust of government.