To borrow from Donald Trump, the conservative legal movement is not sending their best. And, apparently, it’s no longer interested in taking their best either.
Fifth Circuit judge James Ho declared yesterday that he would “no longer hire law clerks from Yale Law School” because “Yale not only tolerates the cancellation of views, it actively practices it.” The judge urged other conservatives to do the same.
So Judge Ho hopes to hamper the careers of the few conservative stars who got into Yale Law School because he feels bad for… those same few conservative stars at Yale Law School?
Brilliant. No notes.
It’s not that Yale Law produces better clerks than other schools. In fact, judges should be more conscientious about considering candidates from a broader range of schools and resisting the siren call of elitism. But students getting into Yale are more likely to be future stars and denying career-building opportunities to arguably the best and brightest of your own ideological bent is a weird way to build a movement.
But slinging vitriol at Yale Law School is the coin of the realm in conservative legal circles these days. Driven by sensationalist stories in the Washington Free Beacon about the unbearable cruelty of students no longer inviting FedSoc members to parties, conservatives have zeroed in on Yale as the avatar of the law school culture wars. They blame Yale for telling a FedSoc member that the club couldn’t host a party based around racial stereotypes and for students protesting a representative from a recognized hate group. In reality, Yale Law School deserves criticism for its mostly spineless response to these events, but from Ho’s perspective, Yale should be exalting recognized student organizations breaching the student handbook and crushing students who dare to exercise their own speech rights in protest.
It’s a nonsensical way to show support for FedSoc students at Yale, but Judge Ho isn’t really interested in helping anyone but himself.
Whether it’s Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis or someone else, the vernacular of the troll will dominate Republican politics for the foreseeable future. James Ho wants to be sure he’s grabbing every possible headline that might cross Trump’s peripheral vision if he wins in 2024. And, lo, his comments were splashed across social media, featured in every major legal publication, and covered by the legal reporters for the general conservative outlets.
If Ho throws some Yale grads under the bus by positioning himself as judge who most hates the “woke mob,” so be it. But for the record, getting excluded from a Fifth Circuit clerkship seems way more important than a Thursday night kegger if we’re keeping score.
In Slamming ‘Cancel Culture,’ Judge James Ho Boycotts Yale Law Clerks [National Law Journal]
Earlier: Yale Law School Trap House Incident Not A Free Speech Thing No Matter How Hard Folks Try
Yale Law School Is A Microcosm Of A Failing Democracy
Banning Law School Protests To Protect Free Speech Marks New Orwellian Heights
Yale Law Professor Suggests Punishing Students For Following The Rules
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.