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Will Yale Law Students Be Punished for Disrupting an Event? This Prominent Judge Thinks They Should Be

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Today's students in institutions of higher learning are fragile to the point where they truly cannot handle opposing viewpoints. Instead of merely not listening to such viewpoints, though, or going outside of their comfort zones to hear what the person presenting such an argument has to say in case they may learn something or have a rebuttal to offer, these students would instead rather shut them out. 


One recent example came out of Yale Law School (YLS) on March 10. The conservative Federalist Society dared to give an event on free speech that included speakers from both sides of the aisle, as Guy highlighted earlier this week.

It's worth noting that YLS was ranked the best law school for 2022 by U.S. News & World Report. It was also ranked as the hardest law school to get into for Fall 2020, with an acceptance rate of 7.4 percent. The intelligence of those smart and fortunate enough to get into and attend Yale, though, does not extend to civil discourse.

The Washington Free Beacon uploaded over 20 minutes of audio to SoundCloud, and two minutes of video footage to YouTube. There is also some footage available in a Fox News interview with Alliance Defending Freedom's Kristen Waggoner, who was featured at the event.

David Lat, writing for Original Jurisdiction, has covered the incident extensively as well, including a piece highlighting how even a progressive student who is vehemently opposed to The Federalist Society and ADF, was troubled.

From that student's letter:

All of this is to say that I often share my peers’ politics, but I think we need to adopt a collective ethic of responsibility for the tactics we use in pursuit of those politics because the stakes really are often high. Here, the ADF's advocacy against LGBT+ rights is abhorrent, but students should understand that we can't just cancel everyone with abhorrent beliefs (most people in some capacity). Students should recognize how attempting to do so at an event unconnected to those beliefs only empowers groups like ADF.7

Obviously, I don't think FedSoc is picking the speakers best positioned to articulate a view rigorously and in a way that will be productively received on campus. That's frustrating from a group that claims to be a truth-seeking debate society. But that doesn't justify a counterproductive reaction.


In that same piece, Lat warned that the administration is far from neutral on controversial issues, such as Critical Race Theory (CRT), citing a source he's spoken to. T-shirts the administration is giving out on such topics of social justice have also found their way onto Twitter, in a thread from The Washington Free Beacon's Aaron Sibarium that's worth checking out in its entirety. 

The tweet is part of a thread that shows up as Sibarium's pinned tweet and includes a link to Bari Weiss' article "The Takeover of America's Legal System," highlighting how this is not just a problem at YLS. 

These YLS students may face not just scrutiny from the public square but when it comes to their future endeavors as well. Judge Laurence Silberman, in response to the inappropriate reaction from students, emailed all Article III judges last week and urged them to consider "whether any student so affiliated should be disqualified for potential clerkships."


Marc Theissen referenced the email in a Thursday column for The Washington Post, writing:

Silberman is absolutely right — no judge should choose these individuals for clerkships. In fact, based on their behavior, they should not be at Yale Law School in the first place. 


These are not college kids. They are adults on the fast track to highflying legal careers, studying at an institution which produces more clerks for federal judges and Supreme Court justices than almost any other law school in the United States. They should know better.

This is hardly the only recent example of law school students shouting down a speaker they don't agree with. At UC Hastings Law School, Ilya Shapiro was also shouted down by students. 

Senya Simron, a student at UC Hastings who had tweeted footage praising the students interrupting Shapiro's event has since locked her account. 

In January, Shapiro had been placed on leave by Georgetown University after the administration caved to the woke crowd and did so for comments he made about criteria for Supreme Court justices. 


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