From Yale Regulation to Oath Keepers: Stewart Rhodes’s Unlikely Journey

Individuals discover methods to tell apart themselves, both by becoming in or by standing out,” mentioned Jon Michaels, a professor on the U.C.L.A. Faculty of Regulation and former classmate. “And my sense of Rhodes is, he was standing out.”

By considered one of his legal professionals, Mr. Rhodes declined an interview request.

At Yale, Mr. Rhodes didn’t but have his attribute goatee and eye patch. He was clean-shaven, with a prosthetic eye, the results of a self-inflicted gun accident. He had unconventional opinions and will appear unusually centered on gun rights, former classmates mentioned. Nonetheless, some remembered him as a well-intentioned peer who labored to seek out widespread floor regardless of being within the political minority.

The terrorist assaults on Sept. 11, 2001, throughout his second week of legislation college, had a profound affect on him.

On the witness stand, Mr. Rhodes recalled being in a torts lecture when information of the assaults unfold.

“Numerous my fellow college students collapsed, and have been simply in heart-rending grief,” he mentioned, including, “And naturally, after the grief got here the anger.”

In classmates’ recollections, and in Mr. Rhodes’s personal telling, the assaults have been a galvanizing second that sharpened his political ideology. He grew more and more alarmed by the expanded makes use of of surveillance and detention by the administration of President George W. Bush, which he noticed as unconstitutional overreaches.

“You had the sense that he was kind of preserving his powder dry, for probably the most half,” mentioned Stephen Vladeck, a professor on the College of Texas Faculty of Regulation. “The instances he would communicate up, it was typically about fears that the federal government was truly going too far and infringing on the rights of People.”

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