Magazine article Insight on the News

Weatherman Leader Heads ABA Panel

Magazine article Insight on the News

Weatherman Leader Heads ABA Panel

Article excerpt

Bernardine Dohrn was on the FBI's most-wanted list for nearly a decade. As one of the leaders of the Weatherman Underground, a Marxist terrorist group active from 1969 to 1977, Dohrn was linked to attempted murder, numerous bombings and armed robberies and multiple assaults. Today she is cochair of the Litigation Task Force on Children of the American Bar Association, or ABA. Only in America.

Keep in mind that the ABA is the nation's most prestigious lawyer organization and its evaluations of nominees for the federal judiciary are highly influential. What does the ABA think about Dohrn? "We are tremendously fortunate to have her," ABA President George Bushnell told Ann Coulter of the Defender, a Los Angeles-based legal magazine.

As the national ABA conference winds down in Chicago this week, the liberal tendency of the ABA -- which is leading a fight against tort reform -- is something Congress ought to keep in mind.

And Bushnell should reexamine Dohrn's radical record. Dohrn never renounced the violent tactics of her organization or apologized to the Weatherman victims, including the families of the three New York policemen killed during a Weatherman armed robbery of a Brinks armored truck in the early 1980s.

Dohrn's journey from the political mainstream followed her graduation from the University of Chicago Law School in 1967. She bounced around in the world of radical-left politics until she emerged as a member of the Weatherman Underground in 1969. Federal officials soon labeled Dohrn one of the "most militant" in the organization. The Weatherman gang struck Chicago in October 1969 in a violent "Days of Rage" protest, which featured activists waving Vietcong and North Vietnamese flags during the height of the Vietnam War and, according to interviewer Coulter of the Defender, the smashing of "windshields, storefronts and anybody who got in their way." Four days later, the property damage was tallied in the millions of dollars and some 75 police officers were injured -- one was crippled for life. Dohrn was indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiring to bomb and commit murder; she skipped town.

Dohrn called a press conference in 1980 and announced she no longer wished to live as a fugitive. She didn't renounce the ways of her organization or offer to help round up her felonious comrades-in-arms. "I regret not at all our efforts to side with the forces of liberation," she said. "The nature of the system has not changed."

Federal Judge Fred G. Suria gave Dohrn an opportunity to explain what she meant by the "nature of the system" when, at Dohrn's sentencing, the judge chided her: "We have a system for change that does not involve violence or jeopardizing the lives of others: the electoral process. …

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