Stanford University’s law school is deemed the second-best in the nation in the latest U.S. News and World Report, which means its current enrollees likely include future senators, judges, and possibly even Supreme Court justices who will help shape American law over the next half-century.
This should terrify you.
A highly accomplished federal appeals judge was invited to the Palo Alto campus to speak to conservative students on Thursday, only to be heckled and abused by spoiled and intolerant brats as school administrators all but cheered them on. Students shouted “scumbag!” and “liar!’ whenever Fifth Circuit Judge Kyle Duncan tried to speak, their childish outbursts earning the approval of the people who run the school.
When Duncan sought help restoring order so he could address the Federalist Society students who wanted to hear what he had to say, an administrator with the dubious title of “associate dean of diversity, equity, and inclusion,” lectured him in a rambling, five-minute rant.
“We believe that the way to address speech that feels abhorrent, that feels harmful, that literally denies the humanity of people, that one way to do that is with more speech, and not less,” Tirien Steinbach, Stanford’s DEI chief, said as she clasped her hands beseechingly. “And not to shut you down or censor you, or censor the student group that invited you here. That is hard, that is uncomfortable, and that is a policy and principle that I think is worthy of defending, I think, even in this time.”
In one of the most disgraceful displays in recent memory, a 5th Circuit Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan was shouted down when he tried to speak to law students at Stanford. DEI Dean Angela Steinbach then appeared and lambasted Judge Duncan. https://t.co/htAFlELvaF
— Jonathan Turley (@JonathanTurley) March 10, 2023
Talk about rolling out the red carpet!
Steinbach, who repeated the phrase “Is the juice worth the squeeze?” several times in a failed bid to add a sense of profundity to her passive-aggressive plea, is a graduate of California Berkeley School of Law who spent part of her professional career working for the San Francisco-area ACLU before landing in academia amid the DEI craze.
“And again I ask: Is the juice worth the squeeze?” she asked. “Is it worth the pain that this causes and the division it causes? Do you have something so incredibly important to say about Twitter and guns and COVID that is worth this impact and the division of these people who have sat next to each other for years?”
Yes, it most certainly IS worth having a federal appeals judge speak to young future lawyers, and simple civility requires that such a guest be treated with respect. Aspiring attorneys who disagree with Duncan should have challenged him with probing questions about his opinions, not vulgar shrieks of impudence. A generation ago, every law student, faculty member, and administrator knew this.
When Duncan finally got to speak, many of the protesters walked out indignantly rather than engage meaningfully or subject their own views to challenge from a proven legal mind. If they couldn’t silence him, they sure weren’t going to listen to him. That strategy should serve them splendidly if they ever have to argue a case before Duncan or any other serious judge.
Duncan, a 2018 Trump appointee who had previously argued multiple cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, is reviled by lunatic leftists in part for a 2020 opinion in which he refused to use the preferred pronouns of a man named Norman Varner, who changed his name to Kathrine Nicole Jett after he pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography. That’s right: Duncan offended a child sex offender and in doing so forfeited his right to be heard at Stanford Law.
Although Steinbach was the only one who spoke, three other Stanford Law administrators were present, their silence providing tacit approval to the frothing protesters. Associate Director of Student Affairs Jory Steele, Associate Director of Student Affairs Holly Parish, and Student Affairs Coordinator Megan Brown, all sat on their hands during the shameful spectacle, according to one member of Stanford’s Federal Society chapter.
Duncan, who was ultimately escorted away from the event by federal marshals, told the Washington Free Beacon the protesters should be disciplined and Steinbach, whose lecture he described as a “bizarre therapy session from hell,” should be fired.
Sorry judge, you don’t have jurisdiction in America’s elite law schools. They have rejected freedom of speech, academic rigor, and basic decorum with all the finality and certainty of an Antonin Scalia opinion. There was a brief window a few years ago in which these institutions could have stood up to the howling children they’d admitted. But instead of embracing the First Amendment and nearly 250 years of American jurisprudence by teaching that listening to and understanding differing opinions is critical to making persuasive arguments, they cowered and were consumed.
And after these schools caved to a new generation of mindless maniacs, they turned the reins completely over to academic and legal lightweights like Steinbach. At this point, there is no saving them. The nation’s top law schools are now dominated by intolerant, radical, leftist banshees who believe all those who hold differing world views are evil and thus deserving of incoherent contempt. Their administrations and faculties used to be too terrified to stand up to the mob. Now they agree with it.
Stanford Law accepts just over six percent of applicants, and those who make it have high undergraduate grades and LSAT scores in the top one or two percent. But even that is not enough. The school’s application also asks students how their “culture, socio-economic status, sex, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or other factors” will “contribute to the diversity of the entering class.”
These anti-intellectual loons didn’t sneak into Stanford. Unlike their conservative peers, who got in on pure merit, they were recruited. The conservative students rightly have Judge Duncan’s respect and sympathy and deserve yours, too.
“Don’t feel sorry for me,” Duncan told the Free Beacon. “I’m a life-tenured federal judge. What outrages me is that these kids are being treated like dogs*** by fellow students and administrators.”
Editor’s Note: Stanford University’s president and the dean of its law school on Saturday apologized to Judge Kyle Duncan, saying the incident “was inconsistent with our policies on free speech.”