Over a Dozen Federal Judges Say They Will No Longer Hire Law Clerks From Columbia

News & Politics

Thirteen federal judges signed a letter sent to Columbia University’s president Minouche Shafik stating that they would no longer hire law clerks from Columbia College or Columbia Law School.

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The judges cited the “explosion of student disruptions” and the “virulent spread of antisemitism” at Columbia as reasons for their action. 

Appellate judges James Ho and Elizabeth Branch led the effort to bar Columbia law students from clerking for federal judges. The two are no strangers to efforts to punish law students who fail to uphold constitutional principles. They began a similar campaign in 2022 to deny clerkships to law students from Stanford after a conservative judge was shouted down with the assistance of the associate dean of equity. The behavior was in direct violation of Stanford’s free speech policy yet the hecklers went unpunished.

“Rules aren’t rules without consequences,” Judge Ho said. “And students who practice intolerance don’t belong in the legal profession.”

Both judges also started a similar campaign to deny clerkships to law students from Yale after a ludicrous controversy involving Ilya Shapiro, who wrote a tweet suggesting Biden choose an East Asian judge for the Supreme Court. “[B]ut unfortunately, [that] doesn’t fit into last intersectionality hierarchy so we’ll get a lesser black woman. Thank heaven for small favors?”

Ho, addressing the Kentucky Federalist Society, said, “all too often, law schools appear to be run by the mob — whether out of sympathy or spinelessness.” 

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“Colleges aren’t teaching students how to agree to disagree,” he said. “They’re teaching students how to destroy.”

Related: Columbia Cancels Main Commencement Due to ‘Safety Concerns’

Now comes the turn of Columbia and its antisemites. Judges Ho and Branch didn’t pull any punches.

“Freedom of speech protects protest, not trespass, and certainly not acts or threats of violence or terrorism,” the judges wrote. “It has become clear that Columbia applies double standards when it comes to free speech and student misconduct.”

Washington Free Beacon:

The letter’s signatories include Alan Albright, a district judge who hears a fourth of the nation’s patent cases; Stephen Vaden, a former general counsel at the Department of Agriculture who now sits on the United States Court of International Trade; and Matthew Kacsmaryk, the district judge who suspended approval of the abortion drug mifepristone in a controversial ruling last year. Others are well-known district judges appointed by former president Donald Trump.

While 12 judges joined the Yale boycott anonymously, Monday’s letter marks the first time that more than two judges have said on the record that they will not hire graduates from an elite university.

It also marks an about-face for Solomson—one of the letter’s lead signatories—who previously criticized the boycotts of Yale and Stanford as a form of collective punishment. His decision to spearhead the Columbia boycott underscores just how much good will the school has lost over the encampment, which effectively put the campus on lockdown.

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“Recent events demonstrate that ideological homogeneity throughout the entire institution of Columbia has destroyed its ability to train future leaders of a pluralistic and intellectually diverse country,” the judges write. “If Columbia had been faced with a campus uprising of religious conservatives upset because they view abortion as a tragic genocide, we have no doubt that the university’s response would have been profoundly different.”

Anyone with an ounce of integrity must agree with that last statement.

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