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Firing Diversity Dean Over Judge Shout-Down May Help Stanford Law School Escape Consequences Of Its Toxic DEI Culture

Firing Diversity Dean Over Judge Shout-Down May Help Stanford Law School Escape Consequences Of Its Toxic DEI Culture

Maybe it’s better for the greater good of society to let Stanford Law School bear the consequences of its obsession with DEI, rather than removing a figurehead and pretenting that the problem is solved.

The Stanford Law School student shout-down of Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan was disgusting, and the conduct of Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, And Inclusion Tirien Steinbach in berating the Judge for showing up was atrocious. See this post for the gory details, Stanford Law Students, With Support From Diversity Dean, Shout Down Visiting Appeals Court Judge Because He’s Conservative.

But it’s worse than it appears. The abuse hurled at Judge Duncan is a direct outgrowth of the abuse hurled at conservative Supreme Court Justices, as I documented in Stanford Law Student Shout-Down Reflects Normalization Of Intimidation Of Conservative Judges.

That toxic national environment was evident at Stanford Law where Federalist students had their images plastered on protest posters with an implicit threat to target them.

The DEI problem at Stanford Law School runs deep, as it does at the university.

There have been many calls to fire DEI Dean Steinbach, and she was criticized (but not by name) in the university apology letter. But why should she be fired when she was doing precisely what one would expect DEI bureaucrats to do, treat every issue including a speaker’s right to speak and listeners’ rights to hear as subject to the subjective progressive feelings of allegedly “marginalized” identity groups.

South Texas College of Law Houston Prof. Josh Blackman makes that point in a persuasive column at The Volokh Conspiracy (Reason),

But Stanford cannot absolve itself of this problem by sacrificing Steinbach as a scapegoat…. Rather, Stanford created this problem by establishing, reinforcing, and growing the DEI bureaucracy.

When a university empowers DEI to deem speech “harmful,” DEI will deem speech “harmful.” When a university empowers DEI to designate spaces as “safe,” DEI will deem spaces as “safe.” When a university allows DEI to treat some people as “oppressors,” DEI will treat those people as “oppressors.” When a university teaches students that “harmful” speech has no place on a campus, the students will take steps to prevent “harmful” speech on their campus. This protest was a direct byproduct of what students have learned for years.

Every word in Steinbach’s speech reinforces these core planks of DEI. And her speech was obviously prepared in advance. She was so confident in her beliefs that she delivered those remarks, knowing she would be recorded. Steinbach no doubt thought she was on the right side of the university….

… we have witnessed the endgame of DEI. These officials are empowered to extend their tendrils into every facet of an academic institution, with or without the backing of the Dean. Their mission is not to promote learning or academic inquiry, but instead to advance a specific ideology, which I refer to as DEIdeology. These beliefs are not trying to achieve a goal of neutrality. Rather, consistent with anti-racist teachings, they seek to use their newly-acquired power to elevate preferred messages and to deplatform “harmful” speech.

Firing DEI Dean Steinbach may bring satisfaction to Judge Duncan, who was the recipient of her improper conduct, as well as the broader conservative legal community. But it will do nothing to change the culture at Stanford Law School, though it may save the law school from further reputational damage. It may stave off an informal boycott by federal judges as happened to Yale Law School.

Given the mealy-mouthed initial reaction by the Stanford Law School Dean, there is no reason to believe anything will change in the DEI culture at Stanford Law School by firing DEI Dean Steinbach. Maybe it’s better for the greater good of society to let Stanford Law School bear the consequences of its obsession with DEI, rather than removing a figurehead and pretenting that the problem is solved.


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jakebizlaw | March 12, 2023 at 10:50 pm

The advocacy skills of that DIE dean, a Berkeley law grad and veteran of the Bay Area poverty/grievance/criminal bar, are so abysmal that tuition should be refunded. (Assumes any of these students paid their own freight).

Subotai Bahadur | March 12, 2023 at 10:51 pm

There is absolutely ZERO chance that Steinbach or any of the students/outsiders creating a disturbance will have to bear any consequences for what they have done. We are outside the rule of the Constitution, the law, morality, or ethics. There is no voting our way out of this. Nor is there any way to deal with Leftist crime.

Subotai Bahadur

    CommoChief in reply to Subotai Bahadur. | March 12, 2023 at 11:09 pm

    If you mean voting at the ballot box you may have a point. Personally I think we have a maximum of 3 Presidential election cycles until the point of no return; could be wrong but I prefer optimistic ice in my cynical glass.

    Of course people vote with their feet and move to less oppressive locations every day. A vote is just a choice and everyone still has plenty of choices to make. They can move out of blue enclaves to other parts of the State or out of blue States entirely. They can choose to plant a garden and raise chickens. They can decide to learn some of the skills our grandparents had.

    Some will choose not to take some of those prudent steps. Some will choose to put their head in the sand and refuse all of them Some will refuse to acknowledge they ever had any options at all. Some will simply blame others for not telling them about the wisdom of prudent actions.

      leoamery in reply to CommoChief. | March 13, 2023 at 7:44 am

      “Personally I think we have a maximum of 3 Presidential election cycles until the point of no return”

      The climate changers will sue you for copyright infringement if you keep stealing their lines that way.

      Give us the schedule of doom from now to 2036. Make a prediction, that will look mighty silly if it doesn’t pan out. Ask Al Gore.

        CommoChief in reply to leoamery. | March 13, 2023 at 10:19 am

        Nah, if we don’t reverse course politically to end the totalitarian silliness, tribalism and class disdain / division running rampant in the next 12 to 15 years the climate doomsayers and their leftist allies will have already won and we will be on the inevitable pathway to going back to a pre industrial neo feudal society.

        gnome in reply to leoamery. | March 14, 2023 at 4:42 am

        I suppose the same applies if we use the term “gender deniers” to describe gender deniers?

gonzotx | March 12, 2023 at 11:08 pm

She’ll land somewhere with double the salary

henrybowman | March 12, 2023 at 11:16 pm

This all may or may not be true. But I, for one, am tired of hearing arguments about how it may be best, all things considered, for some other leftist asshole to completely escape any punishment whatsoever. At some point, if I don’t see some red meat, I may be inclined to take up butchery.

stella dallas | March 12, 2023 at 11:34 pm

One would expect a dean of a Stanford Law school to have mastered our language and have some expertise in law as well.

One would not expect a dean to say something like this: “Because me and many people in this administration do absolutely believe in free speech.”

puhiawa | March 13, 2023 at 12:32 am

She was an extraordinary mix of racism, ignorance, malice and stupidity. But the activities of the students show that many of them are also. Not a single screamer in that room is fit to be a trial attorney. They could not last through the opening argument. I have been in court with a number of these, even a couple judges. However most collapse when trial actually is in its second hour. They have nothing.

    Martin in reply to puhiawa. | March 13, 2023 at 9:04 am

    I hope you are right and she is extraordinary. I fear she is run of the mill.

    Dimsdale in reply to puhiawa. | March 14, 2023 at 7:48 am

    Agreed. Isn’t the adversarial system fundamental to the practice of law, i.e. plaintiff vs. defendant? How are these snotflakes (I was going to write snowflake, but the typo seemed more accurate) going to function with any effectiveness in a court if they think they can just use the heckler’s veto on his/her (does it matter any more?) opponent?

Guahan | March 13, 2023 at 4:27 am

Section 403 PC of the California Penal Code makes it a misdemeanor, punishable for up to 6 months in jail, to wilfully breakup or interrupt a public meeting or assembly. That law students and an assistant dean at Stanford Law School would wilfully break the law on the university campus is nothing short of amazing. Will Stanford’s president refer these violations to the county district attorney and will the district attorney charge the offenders for violating Section 403 PC?

The language of the code section states that:

403. Every person who, without authority of law, willfully disturbs or breaks up any assembly or meeting that is not unlawful in its character, other than an assembly or meeting referred to in Section 302 of the Penal Code or Section 18340 of the Elections Code, is guilty of a misdemeanor.


blaring loud music outside a peaceful protest
civilians breaking up a public gathering held to support a certain holiday
throwing rocks at a group picketing a grocery store

RepublicanRJL | March 13, 2023 at 6:38 am

The finger snapping in approval reminds me of the 60s in hippie lounges where ‘poets’ stood up and just said crazy stuff.

    henrybowman in reply to RepublicanRJL. | March 13, 2023 at 2:19 pm

    It’s just more woke virtue signaling. It shows you are “of the body.”

    Basically, among some students in some places, there has been a movement that seeks to minimize distress in vulnerable students.
    You’ve probably heard of talk recently of “safe spaces”. Originally, back in the 70s and 80s, safe spaces were rooms where victims of homophobic bullying could find respite, and where homophobes were excluded.
    Recently, this idea has been expanded. Now, some people regard “safe spaces” as areas where people will not be exposed to anything they find (or claim to find) disturbing, challenging to their personal beliefs, triggering or offensive. And increasingly now, it is being said that rather than have specific rooms that are “safe”, entire university campuses are being declared “safe spaces”, and so off limits to anyone or anything that could remotely be described as threatening.
    And in some places, some people have complained that they find the sound of applause uncomfortable. And so, instead of clapping, students are being asked to snap their fingers, so as not to upset those who don’t like the sound of applause. In some British universities, it has been said that students don’t make any noise at all, but wave their hands instead (I don’t know if that’s true; I would in fairness point out that waving hands is how deaf people applaud — clapping in sign language, so to speak — so maybe something got misreported).

      Dimsdale in reply to henrybowman. | March 14, 2023 at 7:51 am

      Once again, science fiction predicts the future the left has planned for us.

      I invite you to read/watch “Invasion of the body snatchers” or Heinlein’s “The Puppet Masters.”

Vancomycin | March 13, 2023 at 6:42 am

Everyone is aware that we’re not going to talk or vote our way out of this. Right?

Whitewall | March 13, 2023 at 7:20 am

Like major cities run by Democrats too long, Stanford and other elite universities show the same rot. Academia is run by Democrats.

Steven Brizel | March 13, 2023 at 8:57 am

This dean should be terminated forthwith and the students involved disciplined

Valerie | March 13, 2023 at 10:29 am

Stanford obviously has too much money.

E Howard Hunt | March 13, 2023 at 10:47 am

The same problem exists in the corporate world. Homosexual marriage was legalized. The first response was to instruct that the HR and legal departments revise benefit paperwork to recognize this grotesquerie. But the squeaky wheel needed more oil, so departments were established to rhapsodize all assorted perverts and minorities. Employees were barraged daily with calls to become LGBT Allies and learn of co-employees’ transitioning through virtual town hall meetings. All internal educational videos depicted befuddled, older while males, being tolerantly instructed by young, bright, attractive, black females. These departments, instituted for show, felt compelled to keep coming up with ever more outrageous, woke agendas. The corporate leadership felt it must enact at least some portion of the proposals. As competitors became more woke, each company decided it must follow suit. Now, there is no cordiality in the office. An atmosphere of fear permeates everything, eyes are averted and small talk has vanished. Nobody is so successful that even the most unwarranted accusation won’t lead to his ruin.

‘…the Stanford chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, which helped organize the protest,…”

    Edward in reply to Edward. | March 13, 2023 at 11:23 am

    Not sure what key I pressed to send that, but I’ll continue:

    National Lawyer’s Guild – that strikes a familiar note. Established in great part by the Comintern and CPUSA in ’37 (IIRC), it has always been a bulwark for legal offense by and for Socialists and Communists.

The dean was in on it from the beginning, making this a conspiracy to violate the Jugde’s civil right to speak, and the Federalist Society’s members to hear him.

Definitely a civil violation, May be a federal criminal violation too.

DEI is today what communism was during the cold war.

BierceAmbrose | March 13, 2023 at 3:34 pm

Consequences get factored in — the only move is to escalate consequences until they cost too much. Now, I don’t advocate “if they bring a knife, we bring a gun” as a famous Community Agitator has said.

Firing as in job loss seems more on point.

/Now, I don’t want to go down a rat-hole, here, but…

Firing the one guy they pick for under the bus doesn’t seem to have much effect. Methinks the consequences have to escalate: first offense one, second offense more, and so on. “I don’t care if you had anything to do with it, you’re in range for the splash damage.” These people like collective guilt, and collective punishments. Who are we to crimp their kink?

What escalation works best is an empirical question. Myself, I speculate that a power series — 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 — increases a bit fast. The slow learners still ought to have a chance. That said, just adding one won’t get their attention — one dean, two dean, three dean, twee deans. Maybe Fibonacci series? 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8…

This might work in general: protests shutting down govt proceedings (can we charge elected members for making themselves absent to prevent making quorum?), “non-violent” armed rioters, execs at collapsing banks seeking bail-out. Yeah, this is the 5th beating into the hospital at one of your “mostly peaceful” “protests.” 8 of you are going down for this one. Show of hands: who’s in?

I’m likin this idea. We know participation or guilt isn’t required to inflict consequences any more. It’s all about “sending a message.” See dawn FBI raids, indefinite pre-trial detention of uncharged “insurrectionists”, shutting down banking services … just some wild, made-up examples.

This week is the 3rd, or 10th federal financial bail=out in recent history depending on how you count, and the “consequences” don’t seem to matter. Great. So, 55 — Fibonacci — C-suite banking execs and top-tier regulators are on the block this time, since apparently nobody got the message from the 33 last time. I’m Ok grandfathering in the previous 9 to get us current with events. You guys wanna choose, or do we get to pick?

    BierceAmbrose in reply to BierceAmbrose. | March 13, 2023 at 3:36 pm

    What’s that? You don’t know what Fibonacci series is?

    Well, if you’d had an education worth a damn, you would. That’s kinda the point.

      gnome in reply to BierceAmbrose. | March 14, 2023 at 4:58 am

      I don’t understand, Bierce Ambrose. The other Bierce Ambrose demonstrates that zhe clearly does know what a Fibonacci series is. Zhe doesn’t deserve your scorn. It must be confusing, being a Bierce Ambrose (is it a religious cult of which all members adopt that name and denigrate each other gratuitously?).

      Lucky for me there’s only one gnome and we all respect each other, according to our needs. And I wouldn’t expect a gnome trained in the law to retain better than a conversational familiarity with Fibonacci serieses.

“Maybe it’s better for the greater good of society to let Stanford Law School bear the consequences of its obsession with DEI, rather than removing a figurehead and pretenting that the problem is solved.”

What consequences?

alaskabob | March 13, 2023 at 5:29 pm

From the Atlantic: “Noting that Stanford Law School Professor Mark A. Lemley recently wrote that the court, as it stands now, is engaged in “a radical restructuring of American law across a range of fields and disciplines,” Wehle agreed, writing that what the court’s conservative wing is doing runs, “…along two lines: substantive changes to the Constitution made under the guise of interpretation, and procedural power grabs executed despite traditions of deference. This has pushed our constitutional system dangerously off balance, with little opportunity for correction.”

Projection ….MUCH!!

diver64 | March 13, 2023 at 5:30 pm

The biggest problem besides the shouting and profanity was the prepared speech by the DEI Goon. This was all obviously coordinated and several other Deans stood by and watched it happen. What state bar would admit these people since they are all known?

Fire the “Dean” immediately
Suspend the students shouting nonsense and profanity with a hearing to determine expulsion. Any student shouting profanity is automatically out.

In light of shortfalls in military recruiting I think we may need to reinstitute the draft. 2 years everybody goes and if youre too fat, boot camp will fix that. Smoke weed? Not on the base you won’t. Criminal record? You better behave because there’s always somebody tougher or meaner and if you act up you will meet him.
You will stfu and follow orders. No microaggressions or whining at authority.

    GregTCT in reply to JimWoo. | March 16, 2023 at 10:48 am

    Not a chance. Dems want to try to spark a second Civil War, while crippling the only military that might protect them?

    Cripple it

    And when We get a GOP Administration in, the first thing we do is go through and fire every single senior officer for dereliction of duty, for the failure that the US Military became under their “leadership”

Another fake noose gambit. But wait! There’s a ton more bullschiff! Ya sure.

“While this incident was determined not to be a hate crime, it is important to recognize the potential impact that such a symbol can have on our community,” police added to the station.

inspectorudy | March 14, 2023 at 1:41 am

It looks like Stanford may be on the road that the SV bank is on, to its end. It is getting old to say but “Go woke-Go Broke” is proving true. If they are turning out future lawyers that believe this nonsense then their reputation is on its way out. We are being brainwashed by the msm and TV. I just read that white people make up 58% of the population, not counting illegals, yet white men make up 4% of TV commercials and they are usually portrayed as idiots or bumbling fools. Black/white marriages make up over 25% of marriages on TV yet in real life they make up only 2%. Does that tell you something about the grievance community? They are creating the issues they have by turning TV and the msm into one large propaganda machine against us.

    Dimsdale in reply to inspectorudy. | March 14, 2023 at 8:03 am

    Like everything else, the left is overplaying its hand, giddy in their power. They can’t persuade, so they yell/doxx/riot to force their insipid points. Why? Because they can’t win against logic or human nature. That is the hard lesson of Marxist failures.

    We have to begin a campaign of ridicule, such as “as worthless as a Stanford law degree.”

MarkSmith | March 14, 2023 at 10:47 am

President Marc Tessier-Lavigne and dean of Stanford Law Jenny Martinez wrote an apology letter to Duncan, dated Saturday. Martinez had written a similar letter to students on Friday.

‘We write to apologize for the disruption of your recent speech at Stanford Law School. As has already been communicated to our community, what happened was inconsistent with our policies on free speech, and we are very sorry about the experience you had while visiting our campus.’

The letter goes on to say that students had a right to ‘protest but not disrupt’ and that staff members like Steinbach ‘failed’ to enforce university policy.

    BierceAmbrose in reply to MarkSmith. | March 14, 2023 at 2:34 pm

    From: Inside Voice, on behalf of The Measured Justice
    To: Prezzy Tesserac, Unknowing Minion of Thanos

    Dear Prezzy Tesserac,

    Yr minions misbehavior inflicted consequences on me, the people who invited and hosted me, and the people who showed up for an event that didn’t happen because of what your flying monkeys did, which you permitted, and one presumes is a result of yr institution’s teaching. Yr missive addresses none of this.

    This is a teachable moment. (This happens. This is a thing that happens.)

    — The first part of a proper apology is acknowledging what was done.

    — The second part is describing the improper impact this had on whoever you are apologizing to; concrete and particular statement of harm done.

    — The third part of a proper apology is asserting what you will do to make things right: rectify the past impact, ensure something like this never happens again, or both.

    Your response satisfies none of these elements of a proper apology. Whatever it is, your missive isn’t that. Perhaps you could make proper apology a course in your institution, as it seems like you and your flock will need to do, and don’t know how. There are books.


    Non-apology, not accepted.

texansamurai | March 14, 2023 at 11:46 am

Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, And Inclusion Tirien Steinbach in berating the Judge for showing up was atrocious.

this is on the ones who hired the aa/die ignoramus in the first place–are they just too stupid to realize that putting an ignorant aa-hire in a position of ANY authority reflects on the entire university(not just the law school)?–for most of my life stanford has been known as an institution of academic renown, possessed of intelligent and noteworthy faculty respected both here and throughout the world–does the university still care about their reputation?–about their standing?

kudos the the appellate judge–he conducted himself with dignity and maturity–he obviously recognized an obnoxious aa-hire thug for what she is

The one and only sane act and/or thought I have read in recent years out of California. A beautiful state with one of the most beautiful cities, San Francisco, it sounds like, totally destroyed as desirable place to live! Not to mention with the high, high taxes who would want to pay a premium to live there!! Sad, sad. And their governor – Newsom – gets more deranged every week. He is one of the ilk who no matter how outrageous or even dishonest they are – they do it with a perfectly straight face as if what they are saying or doing makes perfect sense!!??? God save us!

jdf1963 | March 14, 2023 at 7:57 pm

I have decided that one common thing about DEI “officers” is that they all suffer from DEI fragility.

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