Law School students and professors had a few unexpected visitors to their classes Wednesday, and they weren’t guest lecturers.
Supporters of longtime presidential candidate and convicted felon Lyndon LaRouche intruded on two classes, professors and students said. For a group known for driving through campus questioning the Bush administration through a bullhorn, Wednesday’s tactics were particularly brazen.
Law School professor Gregory Maggs said two LaRouche supporters came to his 2:30 to 3:30 class Wednesday. Because the class has 50 students, he was originally unsure if they were his students. He said the LaRouche supporters, a man and woman, started off politely, but then continually interrupted his class.
“I’ve never had this in 13 years of teaching,” Maggs said. “I’m kind of glad this didn’t turn into a major incident.”
“The first guy was saying something incoherent about (Supreme Court nominee Samuel) Alito and the Federalist Society,” Maggs said.
He said his students wanted to move on, so he asked the man to leave, but then the woman kept interrupting class.
“I should have called security, I suppose, but I was hoping the problem would go away,” Maggs said, adding that he will call security if he gets another visit.
Maggs is the adviser to the GW Law School’s chapter of the Federalist Society, a “group of conservatives and libertarians interested in the current state of the legal order,” according to the national organization’s Web site. He said the man mentioned that Maggs is a member. Maggs said the two were not obscene – just persistent.
“I’m glad nobody got hurt, and it was just a little unpleasant,” Maggs said. “In a two-hour course, we only have so many days.”
Maggs said the two handed him literature from “LaRouche PAC”titled “Children of Satan” after the class The mostly college-age supporters of Larouche, a perennial fringe Democratic candidate for president, visit campus usually at least once a week to skewer Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and the rest of the administration.
The Hatchet called the LaRouche PAC’s D.C. headquarters Wednesday after the incident. A member said his organization does not respond to media requests until after researching the publication and the article’s author. He did not comment on the incident at the Law School.
Maggs said, “These people were harmless, but it is a little worrisome that people can just come off the street and wander into the classroom.”
Maggs said Georgetown University’s law school has an ID system, in which to get in, people must show identification and sign in.
Rich Murphy, a law student in Maggs’ class and a former Hatchet editor in chief, said his class was originally receptive to the two demonstrators.
Murphy said, “We argue here, we learn how to argue, so at first people were a little bit receptive to the debate – it’s amazing that the professor didn’t even throw them out right away. He sort of engaged them a bit.”
Murphy said he wasn’t impressed with the LaRouche supporters’ knowledge of the legal system.
“Students asked one girl after class about her knowledge of the legal system, and she couldn’t even name more than two members of the Supreme Court,” Murphy said. “What are you doing here trying to debate this great legal mind? You don’t even know if (Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader) Ginsburg is even a liberal or a conservative.”
Murphy agreed that the intrusion could be a “possible problem in the future.”
“It’s kind of sad that these academic institutions are founded on new ideas, and to be on lockdown like that would be depressing,” Murphy said.
LaRouche supporters also visited law professor Orrin Kerr’s class Wednesday afternoon, Kerr said. He said he didn’t have difficulty persuading the two supports to leave his class about the Fourth Amendment, which protects Americans against unwarranted searches and seizures.
He said, “I put it to a class vote – we can either discuss Lyndon LaRouche and the Federalist Society, or we can discuss the Fourth Amendment. The LaRouchites lost the vote, and the students started chanting ‘Fourth Amendment! Fourth Amendment!’ and then the LaRouche members left.”