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Full Audio Confirms Stanford Law School Students Shouted Down Conservative Judge In Violation Of Policy

Full Audio Confirms Stanford Law School Students Shouted Down Conservative Judge In Violation Of Policy

Leftist legal trolls tried to portray the shout-down as contrived by Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan, exaggerated, and the video out of context. The full audio, however, proves it was as bad if not worse than the video showed.

There has been an attempt by various legal trolls on the left to claim that the shout-down of Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan by students at Stanford Law School was contrived by the Judge, was not as bad as the 9-minute video showed, and was a set-up from the get go.

Mark Joseph Stern at Slate (yes, Slate still exists) led the clown parade with a diatribe titled A Trump Judge’s Tantrum at Stanford Law Was Part of a Bigger Plan. Based on the url, it appears that it originally was intended to be titled that Judge Duncan was performing a “SCOTUS Audition” at Stanford (“trump-judge-kyle-duncan-stanford-law-scotus-audition”).

Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan went to Stanford Law School looking for a fight, and he got one…

The judge has likely concluded that conducting himself like a truculent provocateur will increase his odds of advancing to the Supreme Court under a future Republican president….

Before turning to the strategic element of Duncan’s very public tantrum, it’s worth clearing up some misinformation about the event. The initial narrative was heavily shaped by a video and accompanying Twitter thread posted by Ed Whelan, a conservative commentator… At the start of Whelan’s video, it sounds as if progressive protesters “shouted down” Duncan (in Whelan’s words), preventing him from delivering prepared remarks.

As multiple firsthand accounts and videos demonstrate, that is not what happened. In reality, at the start of those remarks, the protesters peppered the judge with questions and criticisms but did not drown out his speech.

Jay Willis, who runs a website supported by the leftist judicial activist group We Demand Justice, wrote in the San Francisco Chronicle, Trump Judge Kyle Duncan got exactly what he wanted out of Stanford: Fame:

Much of the fallout has centered on who, exactly, is the bad guy here: the law students who were rude to a federal judge or the federal judge who gave at least as good as he got. Stanford, forever mindful of its desire to remain in the good graces of powerful people, issued a formal apology that did not satisfy the army of politicians and pundits (and Duncan) who demanded that the school discipline the protesters and/or fire Steinbach. The fact that the target of their outrage is a woman of color is, I am sure, a coincidence.

No matter who you think behaved worse here, the answer doesn’t matter for Duncan, because he got what he wanted: fame. Ever since Brett Kavanaugh’s shameless partisan histrionics got him confirmed to the Supreme Court in 2018, maintenance of a dignified temperament has hardly been a prerequisite for Republican judicial candidates….

By making his play for the attention that follows cancel-culture victimhood, Duncan showed them the way forward.

In a conservative legal movement fueled by an unending supply of grievances, strategic self-martyrdom is about to become a lucrative business.

None of this conspiracy stuff comports with the 9-minute video, but the video starts at the point that Judge Duncan says he had been heckled relentlessly and asked for an administrator. Then appeared the now-famous Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Tirien Steinbach, who admonished the Judge for showing up.

(full video here)

We no longer have to guess what happened before the video started. David Lat obtained a full 42-minute audio of the appearance, including the time prior to when the video started. The audio confirms that the was an ugly shout-down of Judge Duncan.

Listen to the whole thing, but particularly the beginning.

Here are some of Lat’s observations annotated to the audio in the minutes leading up to Steinbach’s appearance (which is where the video starts):

  • 0:00: The recording begins near the end of Stanford Federalist Society president Tim Rosenberger’s introduction, so it’s missing some heckling of Rosenberger (but you can catch a bit when he refers to Judge Duncan being appointed by President Trump).
  • 0:35: Judge Duncan takes the podium, as students make gagging noises, and attempts to deliver his prepared remarks. And it’s clear he does have prepared remarks, focused on high-profile rulings of the Fifth Circuit in specific areas of law where Supreme Court jurisprudence is unsettled. He’s heckled intermittently—e.g., “Boring!” or “We took Con Law!”—but he’s able to speak to a certain degree. It’s not as much of a shutdown as Ilya Shapiro at Hastings. But at least in my opinion—and now that we have full audio, we can have an informed debate—the protestors did violate Stanford University’s Policy on Campus Disruptions, which prohibits “[p]revent[ing] or disrupt[ing] the effective carrying out of a University function or approved activity, such as… public events.” The policy doesn’t prohibit “preventing the carrying out” of a public event; it prohibits “preventing or disrupting the effective carrying out” of a public event, and the words “disrupting” and “effective” should be given some meaning.
  • 7:10: “The depth of contempt that you are showing me….” This is where Judge Duncan first diverges from his prepared remarks to criticize the protesters. From this point forward, it gets more difficult to hear because the frequency and volume of the heckling increase.
  • 8:43: “It is appalling. And obviously in this school, the inmates have gotten control of the asylum.” This line by Judge Duncan, which is audible, is immediately drowned out by the audience response.
  • 9:30: Students shout “This is our jurisdiction!” and “This is a valid form of communication!” (For why shouting down a speaker at a duly authorized event in an academic environment is not a legitimate form of counter-speech, see Ken White’s excellent Popehat post, “Hating Everyone Everywhere All At Once At Stanford,” or this great Q&A with Nadine Strossen and Greg Lukianoff for FIRE.)
  • 9:43: Judge Duncan is still trying to deliver his prepared remarks, discussing divergent rulings of the Fifth Circuit and Sixth Circuit on the OSHA vaccine mandate.
  • 10:10: After a student yells out, “You don’t respect us!”, Judge Duncan talks about the need to treat people the way you want to be treated yourself. A student asks, “How is it respectful to misgender someone in open court? I would like to know!”
  • 11:40: Dean Tirien Steinbach identifies herself as an associate dean and enters the discussion: “You just asked for an administrator, and I’m here.”

So the event was a shout down. It wasn’t instigated by Judge Duncan, it was initiated and sustained by Stanford Law School students.

Lat observes that what happened seems a clear violation of Stanford policy.

The culture is rotten at Stanford Law School and among the leftist legal trolls trying to blame the victim, Judge Duncan.


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The Gentle Grizzly | March 15, 2023 at 9:17 pm

Nothing will happen. Dean T G Grizzly would expel every last one of them.

Judge Duncan has lots of judge and lawyer friends. I reckon unless he gets full satisfaction from Stanford, he’s going to strongly recommend slapping a big Do-Not-Hire sticker on Stanford Law to his legal pals.

LukeHandCool | March 15, 2023 at 9:48 pm

Showed the video to my wife. She said “students” acting like this would be expelled from the school in her country (Japan). She said it would be fine challenging the speaker’s views in a question and answer session after his talk, but that of course, it would need to be done politely with civility.

I told her that’s the way it’s supposed to work here. In some ways Japan adheres more to the true American way than we do.

    henrybowman in reply to LukeHandCool. | March 15, 2023 at 11:39 pm

    They would have been expelled in my day in this country as well.

      Temujin in reply to henrybowman. | March 16, 2023 at 2:27 pm

      Ditto! We already have too many lawyers, who do NOT take their oath seriously, and maybe too many lawyers period. Definitely fire the vile Deanness of DEI, expel the active participants permanently. Any lawyer, who doesn’t take Freedom of Speech seriously, doesn’t deserve to be a lawyer or a law student.

      Gosport in reply to henrybowman. | March 16, 2023 at 6:16 pm

      I suspect at least some of the worst of them would have been arrested for disturbing the peace where I went to school.

    My wife, who is French and whose father ran a school, agrees 100%.

    Mark Cohen in reply to LukeHandCool. | March 16, 2023 at 10:39 am

    The students’ conduct was so reckless that it’s beyond my ability to understand.

    Nihilism is an apt descriptor.

    iconotastic in reply to LukeHandCool. | March 16, 2023 at 10:56 am

    Russian wife who grew up and attended university in the USSR and post-collapse mafia state cannot even comprehend how this can happen. I just told her these thugs wanted to work in our Lubyanka.

At the start, it sounded like a preponderance of young women leading the attack. In any event, a red flag should attach to any Stanford Law student of this era. Employers are already shying from those with pronouns on their resumes. Trouble waiting to happen. In law, foreseeability.

“The fact that the target of their outrage is a woman of color is, I am sure, a coincidence.”
Yeah… because if you took every white DEI director in the country and sat them in the same room, you’d have an empty room, you jackass..

Leftists are evil liars, but that is redundant. They are the ones breaking down civilizational norms. And conservatives keep giving them breaks.

Section 403 of the California Penal Code should also be taken into account. Section 403 makes it a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in jail, for a person to wilfully interrupt a lawful meeting or assembly. That law students would engage in unlawful conduct at their law school is unconscionable. The students should be expelled from the law school and be prosecuted by the county district attorney for violating Section 403. No one is above the law, including Stanford law students.

    FreeBop in reply to Guahan. | March 16, 2023 at 12:06 pm

    Who precisely is the county district attorney empowered to enforce Section 403? Does a complaint first need to be filed? Start a concerted effort to hold the purported criminals to account.

    Temujin in reply to Guahan. | March 16, 2023 at 2:35 pm

    All true, but surely you don’t think that a DA in Kalifornica will or would do that … without Gyorgy Schwartz’ approval?

Section 403 of the California Penal Code should also be taken into account. Section 403 makes it a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 6 months in jail, for a person to wilfully interrupt a lawful meeting or assembly. That law students would engage in unlawful conduct at their law school is unconscionable. The students should be expelled from the law school and be prosecuted by the county district attorney for violating Section 403. No one is above the law, including Stanford law students.

The Stanford Law chapter of the Federalist Society and Judge Duncan should schedule his return to the school at the earliest opportunity, to test the administrators’ alleged commitment to free speech and to see if they allow these toddler-brownshirts free reign to engage in the same thuggish, bullying and Maoist antics and agitprop.

They should fire Dean Tirien Steinbach. I’m sure they won’t. But if they do she could work at Oglethorpe U. with that other troll Meridith Raimondo.

    I don’t use social media, but would be interested to know whether any of these screeching brats have been named. It would be nice if this incident pops up first when hiring managers Google them.

    Of course some of them will put their plural pronouns on their resumes, and won’t even get to the web search part of the hiring process.

It used to be that treating a guest like that was considered shameful. But, I guess the communists have no shame.

Fire the dean; expel the students. Zero tolerance.

“Leftist legal trolls tried to portray the shout-down as contrived”

Democrat legal trolls tried….

Yes they did. They do so because it works.

Then appeared the now-famous…

Perhaps infamous is a better descriptor.

How can people who show such contempt for standards of behavior be lawyers? They have turned a Stanford law degree into so much wastepaper.

The law school exists in a Maoist bubble. They’ll be erecting statues of Jane Fonda and Rob Reiner any day now.

MoeHowardwasright | March 16, 2023 at 9:50 am

Stanford Law School, training up baristas for Starbucks. Judges at the federal circuit level may not agree politically, but they do have a modicum of respect for each other. These moronic students live in the here and now. No understanding of what the future will be for them. There will be many law students asking for a summer clerk position that will be excluded because of this incident. Hence the need to work at Starbucks.

I sincerely hope Stanford doesn’t take corrective action.

And that these little Hitlers then go on to pull these antics in front of a judge at an actual legal conference or trial.

Then they’ll find out that they’re not such precious darlings after all.

A good b1t ch-slapping and a good helping of sanctions would benefit them greatly.

    I have heard that large law firms have training programs for new associates. (See the SUITS tv series.)

    These firms need to teach their $150,000/ year associates how to treat others with respect.

    This reminds of Kindergarten.

    Temujin in reply to Mark Cohen. | March 16, 2023 at 2:40 pm

    It’s a little late in the program, for anyone to expect many judges to take any action against these snowflakes. A lot of their relatives are already on the bench.

The event is further signals, the many great fruits of the Enlightenment, among which include our very own Declaration of Independence & Constitution, have spoiled, denatured, and, close to losing their natural connections to the combined Tree of Liberty & Justice for their nourishment and maintenance, have, if not fallen to the ground, rotted to their core.

Or at least this, the Renaissance’s legacy and great, human understanding in the search for truth, is on pause.

    Suburban Farm Guy in reply to GatorGuy. | March 16, 2023 at 2:09 pm

    Too much success and affluence can easily lead to apathy and actual hostility. Ingratitude is maybe the ugliest feature of humanity

Despite a commonality betwixt them the sharks are, at the least, far quieter than that boisterous bunch.

Expel the students who participated in the shout-down, and fire the Asst Dean who supported it. Make sure their records are marked to show they do not understand Constitutional Law, nor classroom or court decorum.

If the expelled students try to transfer to another law school, make sure they are required to take Constitutional law all over again.

Momma, don’t let your babies go to Stanford or Harvard, or Columbia.

Besides, Stanford Football sucks.

More on the hypocrisy of the progressive Left:

Earlier this week, I went through the TSA pre-check line at the airport and could not help to notice a TSA-posted notice that says if anyone reckless, screams at, verbally abuses, or acts improperly towards a TSA attendant, you will be c subject to a $13, 910 fine.

Okay, all you DEI affirmative action hires, what is the penalty for your students who verbally abuse a federal judge?

ahad haamoratsim | March 16, 2023 at 1:36 pm

Where have I seen the leftist’s excuses before? Oh, yeah — Tailor of Panama: “I wasn’t there, it was two other blokes, she hit me first, and it was with her consent, Your Honour,”

He should have worn a longer “skirt”, buried his “burden” to mitigate climate fears, avoided social mixing of trans/homosexuals and trans/bisexuals, and certainly trans/neos/sims et al. This is the model of Antifa mobbing vehicles, of SS BLM invading neighborhoods, Occupy… well, occupying cities, businesses, etc. Next time, wear a Pussy Hat to show you stand with genderfication, class-disordered ideologies, DIEversity, political congruence, and, of course, the wicked solution… integration of an ethical “Church” and State.