James Ho and Elizabeth Branch, who announced a clerkship boycott of Yale Law last year, are adding Stanford to the list.
Aaron Sibarium, Washington Free Beaco, 4/1/23
James Ho and Elizabeth Branch, the circuit court judges who announced last year that they would no longer hire clerks from Yale Law School, are adding Stanford to the boycott.
“We will not hire any student who chooses to attend Stanford Law School in the future,” Ho, who sits on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, said Saturday evening in a speech to the Texas Review of Law and Politics, a transcript of which was reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon. The clerkship moratorium, like the one on Yale, will exempt current law students.
Ho’s announcement is the latest and most dramatic effort to hold Stanford accountable for its treatment of Fifth Circuit appellate judge Kyle Duncan, who was shouted down by hundreds of students—and berated by Stanford diversity dean Tirien Steinbach—when he spoke at the law school last month. The students called Duncan “scum,” asked why he couldn’t “find the clit,” and screamed, “We hope your daughters get raped.”
Though Steinbach is on leave, Stanford has ruled out disciplining the hecklers, who by Stanford’s own admission violated the school’s free speech policy.
“Rules aren’t rules without consequences,” Ho said. “And students who practice intolerance don’t belong in the legal profession.”
Calling the disruption an act of “intellectual terrorism,” Ho argued that Duncan’s treatment reflects “rampant” viewpoint discrimination at elite law schools, some of which do not employ a single center-right professor. It is no coincidence, Ho said, that the worst free speech incidents have occurred at the law schools with the least intellectual diversity. Though Ho did not say what it would take for him to lift the boycott, he implied that a more politically diverse faculty—and a less ideologically uniform administration—would go a long way.
“How do we know everyone’s views will be protected,” he asked, “if everyone’s views aren’t represented?”
Ho and Branch, who introduced Ho at the Texas Review event, are 2 of 14 federal judges boycotting Yale Law School over a rash of high-profile free speech scandals, including an incident last March in which hundreds of students disrupted Kristen Waggoner, a religious liberty lawyer who has won several cases at the Supreme Court.
“Imagine that every judge who says they’re opposed to discrimination at Yale and Stanford takes the same path,” Ho said. “Imagine they decide that, until the discrimination stops, they will no longer hire from those schools in the future. How quickly do we think those schools would stop discriminating then?”
Read Ho’s full remarks here.
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