March 15, 2023

Stanford Law Students Heckle Federal Judge

After being invited to speak there, the federal appeals court judge was shouted down by students and lectured by the school’s diversity officer.

Judge Kyle Duncan, a Trump appointee who was invited to speak at Stanford University Law School by the school’s Federalist Society chapter, was shouted down by student protesters last Thursday. Take a moment to appreciate that: Future lawyers and judges berated a current judge.

Given that Duncan is a Fifth Circuit appellate judge, and given that the Fifth Circuit is headquartered in New Orleans, he probably had to travel a considerable distance to be treated so rudely on a campus with free speech policies. He said the protesters behaved like “dog sh*t.”

But it wasn’t just the more than 100 future jurists who were verbally abusing Duncan; the Stanford staff weighed in as well. They were led by Tirien Steinbach, the school’s associate dean of diversity, equity, and inclusion, who arrived on the scene when Duncan asked for an administrator to restore order. She didn’t restore order, of course, and even went on to join the unruly students.

Steinbach stood up and gave a minutes-long lecture to Judge Duncan about the “harm” he’d caused on the Court of Appeals. As The Washington Free Beacon notes, “The students were particularly angry at Duncan for a 2020 opinion in which he refused to use a transgender sex offender’s preferred pronouns.”

At one point, as the judge tried to speak, one student voice rose above the racket to say, “Your racism is showing.”

Steinbach then took over: “Your opinions from the bench land as absolute disenfranchisement” of the students’ rights, she said, accusing him of “tearing the fabric of this community.”

She continued: “And again I still ask, ‘Is the juice worth the squeeze?’ I mean, is it worth the pain that this causes, and the division that this causes? Do you have something so incredibly important to say about Twitter and guns and COVID that is worth this impact and the division. … When I say, ‘Is the juice worth the squeeze?’ that’s what I’m asking. Is this worth it?”

As for the disruption, Steinbach concluded: “I’m really grateful to be in this institution. I look out and I don’t ask, ‘What is going on here?’ I look out and I say, ‘I’m glad this is going on here.’”

A roar of approval erupted, then another representative of the law school stood up and said, “I want to ask that half the folks walk out in protest, and the rest of us, let’s turn down the heckling slightly, so he can get to our questions.”

As for those “questions,” some of which are captured in the above-linked Free Beacon article, some of them were unrelated to law and unable to be printed due to their obscenity. Ultimately, it became impossible for Duncan to deliver his remarks, and the event became so unruly that federal marshals had to escort him from the building.

In a follow-up article, the Free Beacon reports, “Hundreds of Stanford student activists on Monday lined the hallways to protest the law school’s dean, Jenny Martinez, for apologizing to [Judge Duncan].”

“The vast majority of Dean Martinez’s con law students joined the protest against her,” writes Power Line’s Scott Johnson. “They deserve suspension, expulsion, or a failing grade in con law, although I seriously doubt that Dean Martinez sees it that way. However, the student may deserve high marks for drama. We appear to be entering Abu Ghraib territory in protest theater.”

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