Breathing Space for Dissent, LLC, is a Maryland Limited Liability Company created by Glen Allen. Its mission is to advocate for free expression, with a particular but not exclusive focus on combatting and ameliorating the anti-free expression effects of digital deplatforming, hate labels, lawfare, doxxing, cybervigilantism, and terrorist and quasi-terrorist intimidation tactics.
Breathing Space for Dissent is not at present a 501c3 nonprofit, but if sufficient support for its mission emerges from the freedom-loving community, an application for 501c3 status will be submitted.
Glen was an at-risk teenager living in Western Colorado when he happened fortuitously to be introduced to the University of Chicago’s Great Books of the Western World discussion program. Reading the Great Books became his refuge, helping him avoid the drugs and crime that entangled many around him. It ingrained in him the attitude that no idea, however widely accepted, was sacrosanct.
In 1974 Glen graduated from the Colorado College with a degree in philosophy. He was accepted into several graduate programs in philosophy, but, unable to secure funding, did not attend. Nonetheless, absorbed in studying the great works of the Western intellectual tradition, he spent the next several years living and working on my his parents’ farm in Colorado and reading most of the 54-volume set of the Great Books, plus most of the collected works of Emerson, Whitman, Lincoln, Nietzsche, and many others.
In 1978 Glen joined the Army. He sought to raise money to attend law school but also recognized that he needed to ground his book learning in social reality. The Army gave him more social reality than he bargained for. With regard to recruitment, the decade after the Vietnam War has sometimes been described as the “go to the Army or go to jail” era. Although Glen encountered some outstanding persons in the Army, he also encountered a great many with violent tendencies, criminal records, irresponsible attitudes toward child bearing, and an animus toward education.
In 1980 he was assigned to the First Armored Division in Nurnberg and later Ansbach, Germany. While in Ansbach he lived off-post in a room rented out to him by a German family, the Durrs, with whom he became good friends. From that friendship and further study, he gained a greater appreciation for German history in general and the German experience in World War II in particular. He learned that although the Germans committed many war crimes and atrocities, they were in some instances also the victims of atrocities and war crimes; without asserting any equivalence, a balanced view would at least acknowledge these. Herr Durr’s brother, for example, had been killed when the Soviet Union, during the last months of the war, sank the Wilhelm Gustloff, a defenseless ship carrying nearly 9,000 German refugees, including many women and over 5000 children, plus many heavily wounded soldiers and female naval auxiliary helpers, in one of the worst maritime disasters in history.
In September 1982, he was discharged from the Army. He had been promoted twice and had served honorably and well. In the fall of 1984, he married an émigré from Communist Yugoslavia, and began law school. He was a diligent student and did well, finishing near the top of his class and serving as Executive Editor of the law review. In 1987, following graduation from law school, he clerked for the Chief Judge of the Maryland Court of Appeals.
In 1988, Glen began as an associate in the litigation department of what was then Piper and Marbury, now DLA Piper. He became Of Counsel in that firm in 1998. He retired from DLA Piper in December 2015. By 1991, he had been admitted to the Maryland bar and the bars of the federal District Court for the District of Maryland, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. In 2013, he was admitted to the District of Columbia bar. No complaints or grievances have ever been filed against him and he remains in good standing in all these bars.
He retired from DLA Piper on December 31, 2015, after more than 27 years of service at the firm. Wanting to stay active as an attorney, he created a website. The website included many testimonials from his former colleagues, including many colleagues with whom he had worked for over two decades and who now occupied high management positions at the firm. The testimonials praised his character, legal abilities, and accomplishments.
In February 2016, Glen agreed to work for the City of Baltimore in the position of assistant City Solicitor at a fraction of the salary he had been earning at DLA Piper. He continued working in this capacity until he was terminated as a result of the SPLC’s August 17, 2016 article. He worked zealously and well for the City. He enjoyed the work a great deal, as he was able to work toward the defense and betterment of Baltimore, his adopted city, which he did with pride and enthusiasm.
Throughout his legal career Glen has been active in pro bono matters, often on behalf of African-Americans. For example:
All this changed profoundly when on August 17, 2016, Heidi Beirich and the SPLC published an article that caricatured Glen as a hateful racist and then carefully orchestrated a media storm around the country about the article. As a result of the article, Glen was terminated from his work as assistant city Solicitor; his hard-earned reputation was destroyed; and his personal life was ravaged. Beirich and the SPLC, of course, are fully entitled to espouse their outlook forcefully. They are not entitled, however, to the following actions, all alleged and supported in the complaint Glen has filed: to receive, pay for, and use stolen documents, including confidential documents and documents protected by attorney client privilege, to invade Glen’s privacy, depict him in a false light, defame him, and tortiously interfere with his prospective advantage in employment; or to masquerade as a 501c3 public interest law firm dedicated to a tax exempt educational mission, when in reality the SPLC fails the basic requirements for this favored status because of its illegal actions, violation of canons of professional ethics, advocacy and orchestration of violations of the constitutional rights of the organizations and individuals it targets, and sensationalist supermarket tabloid style one-sided depictions of its victims.