YCC Lawyer’s Book Calls for Ideological War, Spiritual Violence, and a “New, Postmodern Constitution”

Lily Jones and Tanner Jones

Erick Kaardal, the attorney representing the EHS Young Conservatives Club in their lawsuit against Edina High School and the Edina Public School District, is well-known in the Minnesota legal community. On his website, Kaardal boasts about “participating in over one hundred public law cases representing parties opposed to the government, government agencies and government bureaucrats,” and in the past three years he has brought suits against the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and at least three school districts (St. Louis County, Washington County, and Sibley East).

To discover why Kaardal is so keen on opposing government institutions, one needs look no further than  his book The Rebirth Constitution (self-published, 2013), in which Kaardal and his co-author, Thomas Dahlberg, propose ideological “war” and the writing of a “new, postmodern constitution.” They say this process will begin with force, and advocate that individuals sow discord in society, writing, “Neopopulism does not propose debate…but war.” More specifically, Kaardal proposes a “consummate war,” a war on all means of cultural production that includes “overt intellectual and moral disobedience of the establishment.” After this war, he predicts there will be a period of “intellectual and cultural chaos,” and then “orthodox Christianity will emerge as the dominant cultural force.”

In the second half of the book, Kaardal and Dahlberg propose their new constitution, in which personal freedoms are not guaranteed by the government and, notably for the EHS case, the government would have no involvement in education. Further, their proposed constitution limits the number of non-Christian and non-Jewish citizens to 15 percent of the U.S. population.

Kaardal’s ideas are built upon the premise that the U.S. Constitution is flawed and ought to be replaced. He argues that because the current constitution allows for multiple interpretations it is a weak document, insisting that “We cannot get people to agree on the ‘facts’ which otherwise divide them, without converting them to the same tradition.” This conversion, he indicates, will occur “when a single tradition dominates a culture through democratic, spiritual warfare (preaching, prophecy, and every form of voting—e.g. removing our children from the government schools.)”

The views Kaardal expresses in his book contrast with his statements against the Edina School District and his defense of the YCC, which appear to indicate that Kaardal wishes to defend both the (existing) Constitution and open debate. In the YCC’s press conference last week, Kaardal claimed, “The First Amendment also requires you to honor the free speech of those people who would disagree with the protesters, who would disrespect the protesters.” Yet in his book, Kaardal claims, “The time for debate is over. Now is the time for real preaching…real prophecy…civil disobedience, spiritual violence.”

Beyond his book, Kaardal’s previous casework also offers relevant insight into his world view. Last year, he garnered attention for defending a mother who sued her own transgender daughter over her gender reassignment surgery, even after the 17-year old had filed a notice of emancipation from the mother. In a press conference, Kaardal repeatedly referred to the teenager as male, even though the teen had already transitioned to female. The case was ultimately dropped. He has also represented companies who don’t provide birth control for religious reasons, an Orono resident who sued the city over a ban on wind turbines, and Wabasha County residents who sued the county over a program that offered to throw out traffic tickets for drivers who pay to take a safety course.

If Kaardal’s writings and casework are indicative, the EHS YCC case will be challenging for the attorneys representing Edina Public Schools, Edina High School, and Principal Beaton, since Kaardal has stated that he operates by his own legal assumptions and likely his novel constitutional theories, as he articulates in his book. When asked about their attorney’s non-conventional views on the U.S. Constitution, members of the YCC declined comment.

Kaardal’s past casework and writings give important context for the YCC case in particular. In their postmodern constitution, which Kardaal and Dahlberg unveil near the end of their book, education in particular is singled out. “No unit of government shall establish schools,” they write, “except for the purpose of training for government jobs…There is only one form of slavery appropriate in the postmodern age—enslavement of the state.” They continue, “We will separate the state from all education and teach the people to ride roughshod over their government.”