The conservative federal court judges, James Ho and Elizabeth Branch, have extended their boycott of hiring law school clerks to Stanford Law School after a speech by another conservative, Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan, was disrupted by student protesters. The two judges were appointees of President Donald Trump, and the boycott is in response to what the judges see as ‘cancel culture’ and a lack of tolerance for conservative points of view.
Judge Ho expressed his decision in a speech to the Texas Review of Law and Politics, and the ban does not include current students from the school. Judge Ho also called for consequences for students who disrupted the speech, criticising Stanford for their handling of the event.
In response, Stanford Law School Dean Jenny Martinez released a letter, saying that the school didn’t enforce their free speech policies during the event and that a faculty member who addressed Judge Duncan and noted the discomfort of the students was placed on leave. Judge Ho expressed suspisicous of the letter, alleging that elite law schools such as Stanford discriminate against religious conservatives, hinting at fear amongst faculty and administrators to take action to discipline the students.
Judge Duncan had originally come to the law school to speak to a Federalists Society chapter on campus. However, he faced disruption by student activists backing up their claims that his positions had threatened the rights of LGBTQ, immigrants, Black Voters, women and more. Judge Ho criticized the protests as being ‘intellectual terrorism’, observing that instead of engaging and learning from each other, students engage in “disruption, intimidation and public shaming.”
It is worth noting that Stanford Law School is a top-tier institution that has has produced multiple Supreme Court Justices, over a hundred federal and state judges, and innumerable practitioners and academics. The faculty has published a variety of influential articles and books in the field, and the school constantly strives to foster an environment of intellectual deliberation and dialogue. The events surrounding the speech of Judge Duncan violated Stanford Law School’s free speech policy, and this decision by Judges Ho and Branch to extend their boycott against clerks from Stanford Law School is seen as a measure to discourage such actions in the future.