Stanford Law’s Self-Own

News & Politics

On March 22, 2023, Stanford Law School Dean Jenny S. Martinez sent a letter to students and staff assessing her institution’s reaction to a lecture by an august U.S. federal court judge. As most know by now, the Antifa Student Union or National Lawyer’s Guild, or the Communist Balaclava Community Choir, I get them confused, crashed the event and turned a promising Federalist Society lecture into a sophomoric goat rodeo. The event grew worse when the Cool Mom showed up ostensibly to cool things down but instead tried to outdo the students’ stupidity.

As a result, Dean Martinez, who could have put the adult children on Double Secret Probation, instead sent a 9-1/2 page, single-spaced letter to announce why Cool Mom, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Dean!, Tirien Steinbach, was sent on a vacation away from campus for an unspecified time to think about her hurt feelings, why she defied the rules of campus civility, and contemplate her future with Stanford.  The “high priestess of diversity” as she was dubbed by Senator Ted Cruz, probably will be back when the heat’s off.

And the heat has been on. The law school dean explained up front that she was very upset, not about the children’s behavior, but about the reaction from “outside our community” to the children. She mustered outrage to explain that the “hate mail and appalling invective that have been directed at some of our students and law school administrators… will be investigated and addressed as the law permits.”

She explained that though she would call the cops for “actionable” outside threats and angry emails and voicemail messages received by the school, the students wouldn’t face the same scrutiny. She would not be doing the same for the violent manner in which these “hateful” students, flinging about “appalling invective,” screamed at and silenced the invited speaker, U.S. Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit Judge Kyle Duncan.

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The dean’s letter meticulously explained, using chapter, verse, and case citations, why the children got it wrong and how she couldn’t punish them individually even though their identities were known.

Martinez cited a Washington Post piece by Berkeley Law Dean, leftist Erwin Chemerinsky, denouncing using the heckler’s veto to silence people with whom they disagree. She wrote, “the Stanford disruption policy prohibits not just conduct that literally drowns out the speaker, but also that which ‘disrupt[s] the effective carrying out’ of the event…”

She also explained that even on a private school campus, state law required Stanford to adhere to First Amendment principles. She noted that the nature of the event was “a setting where the First Amendment tolerates greater limitations on speech than it would in a traditional public forum.” She means students’ protest speech. But she wimped out when she declared that “California’s Leonard Law, which as discussed above legally prohibits Stanford University from imposing disciplinary sanctions on students for activity protected by the First Amendment” and then issued no student punishment.

Remember now that Dean Martinez spent pages explaining free speech because these allegedly bright students attending one of the country’s important law schools apparently didn’t know any better. For their penance and a better understanding of the foundational constitutional tenet that breathes the very life into American “exceptionalism,” she announced a mandatory First Amendment boot camp for these losers.

[T]he law school will be holding a mandatory half-day session in spring quarter for all students on the topic of freedom of speech and the norms of the legal profession. A faculty committee will plan the session and invite speakers representing a range of viewpoints. Needless to say, faculty and students are free to disagree with the material presented in these sessions or with the arguments I have presented in this memorandum – there will be no orthodoxy on this topic either. But I believe further discussion of these topics will both advance our educational mission and help us learn from the errors of the recent past. In addition, the faculty committee I have constituted will solicit feedback from the faculty, students, and members of the bar including our alumni, and it will make further recommendations on how to improve constructive and inclusive discourse at the law school.

And there it is. The self-own. An acknowledgment that these allegedly smart children don’t have the first notion of how free speech works.

Martinez filled her law school with people who have watched, or more likely participated in, Antifa and BLM riots for so long that they thought screaming, bombing, punching, and worse was somehow normal. The only hint of disapprobation of these tactics was when right-leaning people, along with the feds and their informants, breached the Capitol Building.

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You’d think that with more faculty than students (631 faculty, 572 students according to the Google machine) that Stanford could impart some idea of how the Constitution works, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

In a ten-part series, PJ Media columnist and super lawyer J. Christian Adams and Hans von Spakovsky are assessing what law students are taught at the nation’s top schools. And why “the elite law schools are graduating increasing percentages of incompetent lawyers, at least when it comes to what lawyers have long done: practice law.”

Adams wrote, Stanford showed that “graduates from the elite law schools are mighty good activists, but lawyers? Not so much. The law students shouting down free speech at Stanford today are the leftist activists of tomorrow.”

This explains why supposedly certified smart people seeking judgeships can’t answer any of Senator John Kennedy’s questions and why Ketanji Brown Jackson can’t define what a “woman” is. It may also explain why Jackson and her apparent mentor, Sonia Sotomayor, can’t stop making asses of themselves during Supreme Court oral arguments.

To her credit, Martinez set about to make right what she got wrong when she offered these know-nothings admission. She required them to take a remedial lesson in what the First Amendment is.

People who aspire to be officers of the court should have a clue before they get to law school. Schools and parents should prepare kids for operating in polite civil society – that includes knowing something about how things work around here. Someone should teach them civics instead of left-wing religious dogma.

The first step is to admit you have a problem. The Stanford dean has done that much. Let’s see if she keeps her job.

The First Amendment is in peril. And this story explains why. This kind of opinion journalism not only informs you of facts, but how we think about those facts. That’s why you read PJ Media. The bad guys are out to kill our journalism by throttling our website, scrutinizing our opinions through phony “fact checks,” and creating so-called mis-and-disinformation NGOs to elevate left-wing opinion sites above our own. It’s disgraceful and un-American. That’s why PJ Media depends on readers like you to continually support our efforts. We already know you’re on board, but would you encourage your friends, neighbors, and affinity groups to partner with us? Send them our subscribe page here.

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