Erick G. Kaardal, Chief Counsel
Erick G. Kaardal was born in Redwood Falls, Minnesota and attended K-12 there. Mr. Kaardal attended Harvard College on an U.S. Army Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship. He graduated from Harvard College in 1988 with magna cum laude honors in economics. At the same time, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserves.
After college, Mr. Kaardal attended the University of Chicago Law School where he met his future wife Alison Scott. He graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1992. After law school, Mr. Kaardal started as an associate lawyer with the law firm of Faegre & Benson in Minneapolis. In 1994, he joined a Minnetonka, Minnesota law firm of Trimble & Associates, Ltd. In 2000, he joined William F. Mohrman to form the law firm called Mohrman & Kaardal, P.A.
For many years, Mr. Kaardal, along with others at the firm, have focused on gaining experience by participating in over two hundred public law cases representing parties opposed to the government, government agencies and government bureaucrats. These cases have involved participation in about one hundred appeals in federal court, state court and agency proceedings. Mr. Kaardal has represented parties at hundreds of hearings opposed to governmental defendants in federal, state court and agency proceedings. Two of these cases have resulted in significant U.S. Supreme Court victories: Republican Party of Minnesota v. White (2002) and Minnesota Voters Alliance v. Mansky (2018).
Mr. Kaardal is a lawyer with a general approach attempting to protect his client’s interests. He attempts to identify and effectively resolve any of his clients’ legal problems. He works to apply his knowledge and experience in effective ways for his clients.
Mr. Kaardal served about 10 years as a field artillery officer in the Illinois Army National Guard, U.S. Army Reserves and Minnesota Army National Guard before retiring as a Captain. Mr. Kaardal is a past Secretary/Treasurer of the Republican Party of Minnesota, past Chairman of the John Adams Society and an Advisory Board Member of the Minnesota Chapter of the Federalist Society. He has also been recognized by the Institute for Justice for an Outstanding Contribution to the Cause of Liberty.
Mr. Kaardal and Alison Scott married in 1992. They have eight children. The oldest child Samuel graduated from Boston University and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army in May of 2017. The rest of the family resides in St. Paul and are members of the Church of St. Mark.
Mr. Kaardal’s involvement with Dwight Mitchell is a wonderful story of collaboration. Because of his personal experience, Mr. Mitchell wanted to start a non-profit organization to prevent state and county child protection agencies from legally kidnapping children. Because of Mr. Mitchell’s experiences as a Chief Executive Officer of a very successful multi-national information technology consulting company, Mr. Mitchell knew how to run organizations. At that point, Mr. Kaardal proposed that instead of creating a non-profit law firm that he rather use Mr. Kaardal and his firm as outside attorneys. With Mr. Mitchell’s skills as a manager, he could manage the objectives and costs of the attorneys better if the attorneys were outside the organization rather than having the attorneys run the organization. Mr. Mitchell agreed.
Further fruit then was obtained through the development of a nationwide litigation plan. Modeled after the successful “gay marriage” nationwide litigation strategy, the organization developed its own nationwide litigation strategy to challenge child protection service agencies from legally kidnapping children. The overall goal is to establish a nationwide uniform minimal threshold for governmental involvement through child protection services: to prevent harm or injury to children. No longer should the government interfere with the parent-child relationship because a social worker disagrees with the way a parent is parenting—unless it is to prevent harm or injury to the child. The strategy is to litigate state-by-state in both federal and state courts. The clients are the parents in each state who have had their children legally kidnapped. The organization’s chief weapon is the U.S. Constitution which requires strict scrutiny for state statutes terminating parental rights which must be narrowly tailored to meet a compelling state interest.
The organization challenges two types of statutes terminating parental rights. First, the organization challenges neglect statutes which do not require that the government, before taking a child from a parent, make a showing of prevention of injury or harm to the child. Second, the organizations challenges statutes which ban corporal punishment to correct or discipline a child—the ordinary bottom-spanking. Parents know best whether an ordinary-bottom spanking is required; the government should not be second-guessing parents disciplinary practices unless it is to prevent injury or harm to the child. Eventually, the organization’s cases in these subject areas will reach the U.S. Supreme Court.
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