How young radical Hillary helped Eric Clanton get a lawyer

A notoriously communist law firm helped accused antifa thug Eric Clanton's pro bono lawyer get a law license in the early 1970s despite his public espousal of violence in the pursuit of social justice.  Interning at that law firm at the time: one Hillary Rodham.

As documented earlier this week, Dan Siegel, the lawyer representing former Diablo Valley College professor Clanton as he fights charges that he viciously hit three Trump supporters over the head with a heavy bike lock, openly advocated the use of violence against The System during his radical heyday.

Siegel had major difficulty in getting a law license in the state of California as a result of his incendiary speechifying, which included him saying:

I am not going to tell you that nonviolence is the way and we should avoid violence because it is bad or something like that.

I am going to tell you this, that we have to be, as time goes on, as the [...] comes down heavier and heavier in Babylon, we have to be a lot heavier about the kind of violence that we're going to perpetrate.

When the State Bar of California rejected his application on grounds that he was not "of good moral character," Siegel appealed all the way to the state Supreme Court, which eventually ruled in his favor in 1973.

The law firm that took up his case – Treuhaft, Walker and Burnstein – was widely known as one of the most radical firms in the country, and got its name in the news for defending the Black Panthers.  This makes one wonder why a young Yale Law School student would move across the country in the summer of 1971 just to intern there.

Josh Gerstein, writing in the New York Sun in 2007, noted that "[o]ne partner at the firm, Doris Walker, was a Communist Party member at the time. Another partner, Robert Treuhaft, had left the party in 1958, several years after being called before the House Un-American Activities Committee and labeled as one of America's most 'dangerously subversive' lawyers."

In his 2007 biography of Hillary Clinton, titled A Woman in Charge, longtime liberal Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein, a red diaper baby himself, quotes Treuhaft as saying of the firm's founders, "[T]wo were communists, and others tolerated communists."

In author Gail Sheehy's 1999 book Hillary's Choice, Treuhaft says, "[a]nyone who went to college or law school would have known our law firm was a Communist law firm."

In a 2008 column, Bernstein shed light on Clinton's decision.

"The reason she came to us," Treuhaft told me [the quotation is in my biography of Hillary Clinton, A Woman In Charge] "the only reason I could think of, because none of us knew her, was because we were a so-called 'Movement' law firm at the time.

"There was no reason except politics for a girl from Yale" to intern at the firm. "She certainly… was in sympathy with all the Left causes, and there was a sharp dividing line at the time. We still weren't very far out of the McCarthy era."

Writing at FrontPageMag, Ben Johnson in 2008 noted that firm co-founder Walker "remained a member of the CPUSA 30 years after Rodham's internship had ended."

"As Hillary left the firm," Johnson wrote, "Walker successfully defended [black radical] Angela Davis against multiple felonies resulting from a shootout that left a California judge dead. Walker said she undertook the case at the instruction of the CPUSA.

"[Walker] once mused, 'For Hillary to pick the most left-wing firm really at that time in the Bay Area, it's still a surprise to me that more hasn't been made of that.'"

And what kind of work was young Rodham performing for the firm in the summer of '71?

In her 2003 autobiography Living History, Clinton says she "spent most of my time working for [firm co-founder] Mal Burnstein researching, writing legal motions and briefs for a child custody case."

But The Sun's Gerstein reports:

Burnstein said she would have likely been assigned to some work on the cases stemming from dissent at the Berkeley and Stanford campuses. "I don't remember her especially working on those, but she would have if she was there," he said.

Gerstein continues:

A review of some of Burnstein's legal files now at the archives of the University of California at Berkeley shows that the Treuhaft firm also handled two major cases in mid-1971 involving political dissent. One involved a protest leader who was elected Berkeley student body president, Daniel Siegel.

Burnstein was among the lawyers who personally appealed Siegel's case to the California Supreme Court in 1973.

FPM's Johnson concludes that Clinton "undoubtedly assisted Berkeley student body president Daniel Siegel [in his bid to] obtain admission to the bar[.] ... Mr. Siegel now shares his legal wisdom at the bench, thanks to Miss Rodham."

Based on Burnstein's statements and the firm's history of representing Siegel dating from as early as 1970, it certainly stands to reason that Clinton, interning under Burnstein in 1971 and being assigned to work on Berkeley dissent cases, would indeed have helped in the effort to gain a law license for a man who said he could "see very little objection theoretically, politically, or morally, or anything else, with burning down the Bank of America and all its 500 branches."

And now this lawyer today is representing, free of charge, a leftist college professor charged with covering his face with a mask, sneaking up with a heavy blunt object, and delivering crushing and potentially lethal blows to the heads of three supporters of the man who prevented former young radical Hillary from winning the White House in 2016.

Joe Schaeffer is a freelance writer based in Florida.

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