Bio on Jon Roland
Born San Francisco, California, March 27, 1944. As an infant
lived in a log cabin in northern California. Moved with mother to
Seguin, Texas, in 1949, where he grew up and graduated from high
school in 1962, high-ranking male student, with a National Merit
Scholarship. Attended University of Chicago, graduating with a BS
in mathematics, minors in physics and philosophy. Served in the
United States Air Force as an Air Traffic Control Officer.
Roland had been precocious, learning reading, writing, and
arithmetic nearly as soon as he learned to speak and walk, and
spontaneously spelled the word "Christmas" before he was two. He
taught himself speedreading beginning at age 7, and calculus
beginning at the age of 12. Before he graduated from high school
he had read entire encyclopedias from cover to cover, beginning
with the Book of Knowledge at age 7, World Book, Americana, and
the entire Great Books of the Western World. In the eighth grade a
teacher who was a chess master taught him chess, bringing him up
to about B strength. In high school he was active in an astronomy
and moonwatch club and a rocketry club.
Roland's senior year in high school was seminal in his political
development. The first factor was a passage in his American
Government textbook which stated that the Founders would have
considered most modern legislation based on the Commerce Clause to
be unconstitutional. The second was an official abuse of power.
His high school principal was exercising undue control over both
the student council and student newspaper, contrary to state
regulations on those activities. He led a student
movement to reform the student constitution, and was met
with highly repressive responses from the school administrators.
This led to him writing a series of articles for a weekly
newspaper in the town, which eventually led to the downfall of the
While in college, Roland became involved in various political
movements, including the civil rights, women's rights, and
anti-war efforts, during which he became more aware of
unconstitutional practices of government. He also became involved
in various sports. He explored France, Spain, and Portugal, first
on a bicycle, then a scooter, during the summer of 1963. His first
salaried job was as a martial arts instructor. He became a private
pilot in 1964, and flew a light plane to Paraguay in 1966.
While still serving in the Air Force, he became involved in the
environmental and Atlantic Union
movements, and after leaving the Air Force in 1970, moved to
Washington, DC, where he worked as a full-time volunteer for those
causes, during the course of which he learned a great deal about
the inner workings of the power structure in this country. In
1972, with four other activists, he organized an association for
international federal union, sponsored by about 22% of the members
of the U.S. Congress, and a similar percentage of the members of
the parliaments of the then twelve NATO nations that had
democratic systems. After an organizing conference in Ditchley,
England, he toured the capitals of Europe, visiting members of
national parliaments who were supporters to try to get them to
form national branches.
During the course of this work in Washington, DC, he became
acquainted with his own congressman from the 23rd District of
Texas, and discovered the congressman was corrupt, representing a
political machine in Laredo with ties to the Mexican mafia.
Not wanting to be represented by a crook, Roland inquired about
potential opponents, and not finding any, returned to Texas, first
to run a write-in campaign for Congress in 1972, then a formal run
for the Democratic nomination for Congress from the 23rd District
in the 1974 primary. There were no candidates in the Republican
primary. Feeling that one should not say he was "running" for
office without actually running, he ran on foot from town to town
throughout his district, 256 miles in ten days, a method of
campaigning that received a great deal of free media coverage.
Officially, Roland got only about 37 percent of the vote, but
there is reason to suspect he might have actually won if the votes
had been counted honestly.
Roland's family business has been real estate investment, and by
1974 he had acquired a considerable estate, but apparently he was
set up for financial destruction by his political opponents, who
lured him into what seemed to be a normal, good real estate
investment, but which turned out to be a trap. During most of the
next decade he was largely engaged in defending his position in
court against a cabal of a loan shark with mob ties and a contest
of his mother's will by a renegade aunt who used sex and promises
of property to try to suborn witness perjury. The shark apparently
subverted his own lawyer to get a judgement that was used not to
collect its face amount, but to destroy Roland's estate and that
of his dead mother.
It was this litigation and malpractice of his lawyer that led
Roland to become a pro se litigant. He successfully
prosecuted a malpractice case pro se against his former
attorney, and even when he was represented, did much of the legal
During this period, beginning in 1976 after the death of his
mother, that Roland shifted toward a career in computer work,
opening the first computer store in San Antonio, Texas, and doing
programming and other kinds of computer consulting. By 1984 the
market had become dominated by large retail chains, and he became
a one-man computer contractor. Eventually, to escape an
unpromising market, Roland moved to California in early 1989.
While working as a contract programmer in California, Roland
became a regular user of the Internet. His awareness of the growth
of tyranny was first aroused by daily reports of the trial of
Randy Weaver in the Ruby Ridge
case, and then by the standoff and burnout of the Davidians at Mount Carmel near Waco, Texas.
By a remarkable coincidence, a software contract brought him back
to San Antonio, Texas, during the trial of the Davidians there,
where his client had him working in a tall office building that
overlooked the federal courthouse, and where both the prosecution
and defense teams rented office space and hired temporary help.
Roland became acquainted with some of those temporary workers,
and was able to acquire copies of court documents, most notably
the judge's instructions to the jury, before the jury even got
them. These proved to be so outrageously corrupt that Roland
decided to render them into text files and put them out over the
Internet. He also reported that an FBI agent, in private
conversation, had revealed that the burnout of the Davidians was
intentional, that none of them were supposed to survive, and that
the justification given was that the standoff was costing too much
money and fatigue on the part of the agents involved. He also
formed the Constitution Society, and began organizing protest
groups all across the country.
The government responded by breaking into his office, stealing
one of his computers (the wrong one, as it happened), and
inducing, through intermediaries, his client to cancel the
contract, owing him more than $70,000, which has never been paid.
Later, when he returned to his office in California, he found that
it had also been broken into, and two of his long guns taken. When
he reported and protested that burglary, the guns were
mysteriously returned, well-cleaned.
During the next few years, as computer contracts took him to
various parts of the country, Roland continued to organize local
protest groups, until such groups had been organized in every
state. In September, 1995, while in Massachusetts on a contract,
he got the domain constitution.org and created the Constitution
Society web site. His goal is to put everything online that is
relevant to constitutional interpretation, including all the
important writings of the Founders, what they read that most
influenced them, and what their contemporaries and later
historians and scholars wrote about their thinking. He has also
been writing many scholarly works on constitutional topics, some of which are appearing in
scholarly publications. The site has emerged as a leading resource
for constitutionalist thought.
In 2001 a computer contract took Roland to Austin, Texas, where
he remains today, and where the Constitution Society is now based.
He is active in many political and legal reform efforts. In 2002
he was the Libertarian candidate for Texas Attorney General, and
before the State Board of Education on civics textbooks, leading
to some substantial revisions of them. In 2003 he testified on
biology textbooks. The essence of part of his testimony is
summarized at //constitution.org/col/evolutionism_v_creationism.htm
See the HTML of this at //www.constitution.org/bio/jr_bio1.htm
for links to documentation on some of the above points.