It’s not even a whole month since Judge James Ho of the Fifth Circuit announced a
craven publicity stunt bold new boycott to stop hiring conservative Yale Law School graduates as a protest over… the mistreatment of conservative Yale Law School graduates.
Now, our longtime colleague David Lat reports that Yale Law School is inviting the leaders of the judicial boycott to come speak on campus: Judge Ho, Judge Lisa Branch, and… well those are the only ones willing to admit to this plan publicly. There is a world where this amount to a real “put up or shut up” moment where the school lays down a gauntlet to these judges for bashing the school from afar.
But that is not this world. Instead, this is the world where the administration comes across desperate and eager to compromise whatever principles it must to get back in the good graces of a couple of grandstanding judges.
Alas, Yale is basically law school Arrakis and the clerkships must flow.
How did we get here? Attempting to untangle a coherent strategy in Judge Ho’s plan may be hazardous to one’s health, but arguably the judge hopes to starve Yale Law of the future smart conservatives who already make up a tiny sliver of the school’s population by cutting off the career prospects of any future Yale FedSoc faithful (current students are exempted from this boycott) who dare to accept the invitation of the nation’s top law school.
Because Yale must be punished for its “free speech” problems — a collection of anecdotes hyped by cynical right-wing media outlets painting the school as intolerant for objecting to student clubs using derogatory racial stereotypes, not doing more when a protest appropriately adhered to school rules after Yale invited a speaker from a recognized hate group, and — in a true horror of horrors — not inviting FedSoc students to parties.
Remember when Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote “The Sometimes People Don’t Let Me Go To Their Parties Archipelago”? Me neither.
If you’re wondering how any of this amounts to a free speech crisis or anything other than a gross, bad taste insult to people struggling around the world to be heard over the boot of authoritarian governments, you’re not alone. But it is a very convenient way to raise your profile as a judge hoping to get on the Supreme Court. Surely that has nothing to do with it!
Again, on paper there’s a way to spin this as the school embracing “debate.” Make the judges show up and face fierce but ultimately rule-abiding protest and dare them to pretend this isn’t the whole point of an open society.
But that’s not what’s happening. Instead, this reads as the unfettered obsequiousness it is. The school will set up the judges with an opportunity to audition the student body to gauge it the boycott generated appropriate levels of servility. Presumably the school will make good on its efforts — outlined in the recent alumni message — to squelch protest above and beyond the school’s existing “time, place, manner” rules.
Because adherence to textualism only matters up to the moment it lets the administration down.
These “time, place, manner” rules are a major sticking point in the boycott fight. The event with the hate group representative sparked a protest that — per school rules — dutifully vacated the event and protested outside, allowing the event to continue through its scheduled completion. Sounds like mission accomplished for the rules, right?
Well, that wasn’t enough for Yale’s right-wing critics who want the school to get tough in the name of free speech and… make sure only institutionally approved speakers get the right to talk. Maybe the school will rough up a few hippies in front of the judges to make them feel better about “free speech.”
Because protest isn’t a free speech problem, it’s the sign of a vibrant speech culture. The grifters recasting “freedom” as the right of the powerful to speak uninterrupted is a fascist grift. It’s why they aren’t satisfied that long-standing rules that force protesters to move outside aren’t enough for these people — they don’t care that they are allowed to talk, they want an audience forced to listen… by administrative coercion if necessary. Just like they want the other Yale Law students to invite FedSoc students to parties upon pain of doxxing.
Yale Law School found itself unfairly in the crosshairs of a new authoritarian assault on free speech masquerading as its defense. That’s unfortunate. But at every single turn the school responded to these disingenuous attacks by meekly begging forgiveness.
Now the school is inviting the danger into its walls. And while that could be a good thing, there’s every reason to think the administration is much more interested in staging a Potemkin village of compliance.
When the institutions committed to training the defenders of constitutional order go down this road, things are really bad.
Is Yale Law School Turning Over A New Leaf? [Original Jurisdiction]
Earlier: Yale Law School Responds To ‘Free Speech’ Complaints By Cracking Down On Free Speech
James Ho Cancel Cultures Yale Law FedSoc Because Other Students Are Mean To Yale Law FedSoc Students
Yale Law Students: ‘Maybe Don’t Invite FedSoc To Parties.’ Right Wing: ‘Doxx ‘Em And Snitch To Employers’
Yale Law Professor Suggests Punishing Students For Following The Rules
Yale Law School Free Speech Crisis Mostly Fake News
Banning Law School Protests To Protect Free Speech Marks New Orwellian Heights