Paul Grant

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Paul Grant
Chair
Libertarian National Committee
1983—1985
Predecessor: Alicia Clark
Successor: Randy VerHagen
Personal Details
Party: Libertarian Party

Paul Grant was chair of the Libertarian National Committee from 1983 to 1985.

Biography

Grant first became active in the LP in 1976 when he collected petition signatures in Rochester, New York, for Roger MacBride's presidential campaign.

He moved from Rochester to Louisiana and served as the Louisiana State Chair from 1978-1979, at which time he was elected as a Regional Representative to the Libertarian National Committee.

He next moved to Colorado where he ran as an LP candidate for office several times in the early 1980s, twice for Congress and once for Governor of Colorado. All of his campaigns were very active campaigns where he took every opportunity to speak for libertarian principles. He ran radio ads, bought billboard ads, interviewed all over his district and the state, and accepted every invitation to speak as a candidate.

Paul was Chairman of the 1981 Libertarian National Convention|Tenth Anniversary LP National Convention held in Denver in 1981, a convention which was not only well-attended and a success for the LP, but which was also a financial success - the convention was financed by local libertarians and it returned a profit to those who invested in it.

Also in the early 1980s, Paul and Brian Erickson formed a free market organization, Coloradans for Free Enterprise (CFE), to bring creative speakers to Colorado to meet with those interested in discussing and learning how to apply free market improvements to government-impeded economic activities. In addition to bringing interesting speakers to Denver-area audiences, CFE in 1984 organized a statewide citizen initiative campaign to free Colorado’s transportation industry from control by the Public Utility Commission. Although they were unsuccessful in placing their initiative on the ballot, they were successful in challenging Colorado’s law which made it a felony to pay petition circulators. They took their challenge all the way to the United States Supreme Court, where they won a unanimous (9-0) decision [Meyer v. Grant, 486 U.S. 414 (1988)], in which the Supreme Court held that petition advocacy was core political speech protected by the First Amendment and that the law prohibiting paid petitioning penalized political speech and, therefore, violated the First Amendment. This ruling has helped inspire and empower the citizen initiative movement in those states which allow the initiative process, and led to such paid petition citizen initiative successes as legalized marijuana in Washington and Colorado, legalized gambling in Colorado, and many others.

Grant served as Chairman of the Libertarian National Committee from 1983-1985, after which he married, raised a family, and stepped back from political activity.

But Grant continued to champion liberty, earning a law degree and then taking on arbitrary state power in Colorado and federal courts, where he has brought numerous successful challenges to state election laws regulating citizen initiatives and third party candidates. He has also successfully - and sometimes unsuccessfully - defended the criminally accused, in state and federal trials and appeals. Some of his cases have gained national attention, such as his successful defense (on appeal, after losing the trial to a single judge, where a jury was not allowed) of juror Laura Kriho, who was charged with and convicted of contempt of court for freely expressing her thoughts in the jury room. Paul won most of his jury trials, and many appeals, but determined that he would no longer earn his living as a lawyer because he was no longer willing to pretend that the criminal legal system worked.

By 2011, Paul curtailed his full-time law practice, and he now spends much of his time working in a different field. He is still willing to step back into the legal arena from time to time, in difficult and challenging cases, to protect the liberty interests of his clients against an oppressive state. Paul is also working on a book with many chapters, with each chapter devoted to a horror story from his experiences in the legal system.


Preceded by:
Alicia Clark
Libertarian Party National Chair
1983-1985
Succeeded by:
Randy VerHagen