Wednesday, March 15, 2023

It's all Kyle Duncan talk

 Everyone in legal circles is discussing the Stanford Law/Federalist Society controversy with Judge Kyle Duncan. 

Here's the entire audio of the event, courtesy of David Lat.

Here's George Will, calling the protestors brats:

The noun “parent” has become a verb as many people embrace the belief that perfectibility can be approximated if parents are sufficiently diligent about child-rearing. So, “helicopter parents” hover over their offspring to spare them abrasive encounters with the world. And “participation trophies” are given to everyone on the soccer team, lest the excellence of a few dent others’ self-esteem — the fuel that supposedly propels upward social mobility.

Larded with unstinting parental praise and garlanded with unearned laurels, these cosseted children arrive at college thinking highly of themselves and expecting others to ratify their complacent self-assessment. Surely it was as undergraduates that Stanford’s law school silencers became what they are: expensively credentialed but negligibly educated brats.

Stanford’s president and the law school’s dean jointly say they are sorry about the unpleasantness. Not, however, so sorry, as of this writing, that they have fired Steinbach — although they say she refused to do her job: “Staff members who should have enforced university policies failed to do so, and instead intervened in inappropriate ways that are not aligned with the university’s commitment to free speech.” The depth of that commitment can be gauged by this tepid rebuke, in bureaucracy-speak, of Steinbach for being improperly “aligned.” As this is written, many of Stanford’s future lawyers are demanding that the dean apologize for apologizing.

Stanford has not expelled any of the imperfectly “aligned” disruptors. The school might be improved by the departure of the student whose idea of intellect in the service of social justice was to shout sexual boastings and scabrous insults. Readers can find in the Washington Free Beacon the insulter’s unintended proof that there is indecent exposure of the mind as well as the body.

And finally, Elie Mystal saying the protestors aren't disrespectul; instead they are American

Judges are not used to being treated like politicians. They’re used to being treated like they’re above the political fray, like they’re scientists musing about whether the laws allow for covalent or ionic bonds, as opposed to jackboots determining who gets to have a family. Conservative judges, like Duncan, have chosen to insert their unreconstructed thoughts into our national political debates. Duncan purports to tell us where we can go to the bathroom, what pronouns we must use, and how many minutes after a rape people have before their bodies become incubators in service of the state. And conservative judges like Duncan have used their power to do everything from overruling health experts on virus response to telling us which innocent people still deserve to die. But the rest of us aren’t allowed to scream and shout and stomp our feet when these unelected, unaccountable rulers poke their heads out long enough to indoctrinate the next generation of fascist sympathizers?

Please. Old-school monarchs didn’t enjoy the level of protection from public abuse Federalist Society judges claim to be entitled to. Duncan is lucky nobody at Stanford brought any unneeded vegetables.

But conservative judges want to have their cake and eat it too. They want all the political power they have to remake society in the image of a fragile white man’s dream, but none of the political blowback that comes from trying to force their nightmares upon others. They want to speak only to the antebellum remnant that agrees with them and expect those who will lose their rights from conservative victories to sit quietly.


Anonymous said...

Judge Duncan and the FedSoc got exactly what they wanted, a battle in their ongoing culture war.

Kissimmee Kid said...

The idea that students should be expelled is foolish. The school administration was encouraging this behavior. You can't give students explicit permission to act like fools, then expel them for acting like fools.

Now, the Dean who gave them permission? She should be fired, she's the person who should be blamed for this deeply unlawyerly conduct.

Remember Shakespeare's depiction of the profession? "Do as adversaries do in law, strive mightily, but eat and drink as friends." That's what law schools should teach.

Robert Kuntz said...

This wasn’t protest, it was mob suppression. The administrators who encouraged this behavior have done these law students a grave disservice.

I cannot help but think that people who are unable or unwilling to listen to arguments with which they disagree, then civilly present the arguments they support instead, are going to find the practice of law a comfortable exercise.

Anonymous said...

It's an odd world where we expect more from law students than we do from federal judges

Anonymous said...


You appear to be replacing what your judgment of the man (Judge Duncan) with the facts of what happened at the event.

While Judge Duncan was trying to read prepared remarks, none of which have been reported as being problematic (unless you think that mere disagreement is problematic), this is what the students were doing without interference from the administrators:

the protestors simply yelled over him, with exclamations like . . . "You're not welcome here, we hate you!" "Why do you hate black people?!" . . . "We hate FedSoc students, f**k them, they don't belong here either!" and "We do not respect you and you have no right to speak here! This is our jurisdiction!"

Anonymous said...

Wake me up when the Federalist Society expels Eastman for trying to stage a coup for Trump. He's still on their website for God's sake. Until then, I don't want to hear about some law students protesting.

Anonymous said...

My favorite take is that te rave law students ho were speaking up for their high values want their names removed from any publication so that they re able some day to get jobs perhaps with the sniveling federal judge. There is no dialogue any more, just talking points. Such a shame