Free Speech, Gay, Law Schools, Minority Issues

Young Americans for Freedom Distance Themselves from Toledo 1L

On Friday, we told you about Toledo College of Law 1L Kyle Bristow. While an undergraduate at Michigan State University, Bristow was the chairman of the school’s chapter of Young Americans For Freedom (YAF). The Southern Poverty Law Center labeled the Michigan State chapter of YAF a “hate group.”

We reported that Bristow was no longer a member of YAF. Over the weekend, the current leadership of the YAF reached out to us to clarify its relationship with Bristow. The leadership also defends the group’s conservative beliefs…

Jordan Marks, Executive Director of YAF and a graduate of law school at SUNY Buffalo, sent us a letter putting some distance between his organization and Bristow:

Dear Above The Law:

Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) ended its relationship with Mr. Bristow a number of years ago due to differing beliefs. Many of the alleged actions that are referenced in the article do not reflect the beliefs of YAF members and alumni nationwide.

As an upstanding member of our legal community (SUNY Buffalo Law 09’), and member of the Jewish faith, I can guarantee that YAF is not affiliated with any white supremacist or neo-Nazi groups as is implied in your article. We find neo-Nazi and racial supremacist beliefs and groups (ranging from the KKK to La Raza) abhorrent. YAF National strongly adheres to our bylaws of removing members “who engage in activities, which constitute anti-Semitism, racism, fascism, communism or which otherwise, contrary to the interests of Young Americans for Freedom…”

In addition, there is no “YAF video game” as is referenced in the article. We have never produced, endorsed, or promoted any video games, especially ones that promote anti-Semitism and racism.

At the time that Bristow resigned, he did not note any “differing beliefs” between himself and the group. In 2008, The State News reported:

The resignation was “100 percent my decision,” Bristow said in a phone interview.

“I always had the full support of the group,” he said, adding that there hasn’t been any recent controversy that could have forced a resignation.

Regardless of the relationship between Bristow and the YAF, Marks feels that the Southern Poverty Law Center’s hate group distinction was unwarranted:

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) designated only Michigan State University’s YAF chapter, not YAF as a whole, as a hate group based upon the actions of one member, Kyle Bristow. Although SPLC organizes against obvious hate groups such as the KKK, it also lumps in mainstream conservative organizations and leaders in an attempt to intimidate and smear their names. For instance, last week, SPLC listed Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) as a “Dangerous Patriot” (link) saying, “When it comes to spreading fear of a menacing federal government infested with anti-American elements, U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann can give even the most paranoid militiaman a run for his money.” The SPLC’s credibility is laughable as it is a Left-wing organization paid to attack conservative leaders and organizations.

YAF was founded by William F. Buckley in 1960 to defend freedom and uphold the principles of the Sharon Statement. Over the years, YAF has come to produce many great leaders of this nation including: a Vice-President, U.S. Senators, numerous Congressmen, two former SEC Chairmen, a number of sitting federal judges, and leading attorneys. YAF continues to produce our nation’s future leaders, many of whom currently populate law schools from Howard to Georgetown and prestigious law firms across the country. We find our principles under attack on a daily basis in law school classrooms nationwide, but at no point do we promote racism or violence, which would go against our designed purpose of defending freedom.

In Freedom,

Jordan Marks
Executive Director
Young Americans for Freedom

Our previous post laid out the SPLC’s objections to the specific Michigan State chapter of the YAF.

And there has been a lot of reporting about the Michigan State Chapter of the YAF. YAF Watch has been tracking Kyle Bristow for some time. YAF Watch also noted when Bristow’s and the MSU-YAF’s views have been embraced by mainstream conservative politicians.

In any event, Kyle Bristow is no longer affiliated with the YAF. He’s just another 1L at Toledo College of Law.

Controversial Young Americans for Freedom leader resigns [The State News]

Earlier: From Alleged ‘Hate Group’ Chairman to Toledo College of Law 1L

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