Have Law Schools Abandoned Free Speech?
“Not long ago, an alumna of UC Berkeley and the ACLU would be at the forefront of defending free expression.”
In response to the recent madness at Stanford Law School, William Spruance writes at the Brownstone Institute:
Madness in the Law Schools
Rare episodes can symbolize the entire madness of an era. President Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” speech encapsulated the patriotic zeal and overconfidence that defined the early days of the Iraq invasion. In 2020, Gavin Newsom’s dinner at French Laundry epitomized the hypocrisy and comfort of elites during Covid. Today, Stanford’s DEI administrator hijacking of a circuit judge’s speech represents far more than a mere campus showdown.
Earlier this month, Tirien Steinbach led students in heckling and shouting down Fifth Circuit Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan. “Is the juice worth the squeeze?” Steinbach, Stanford’s Assistant DEI Dean, asked repeatedly as she delivered planned remarks from the podium that was prepared for Duncan. Federal marshals later escorted Judge Duncan out the back door after protestors continued their interruptions.
Tirien Steinbach’s censorious and sanctimonious diatribe embodies larger trends of the modern era: institutions’ abandonment of free speech principles, the most powerful people in the country posturing under the banner of victimhood, and the entitlement of wrongdoers who regurgitate the proper shibboleths.
Free Speech Abandonment
Not long ago, an alumna of UC Berkeley and the ACLU would be at the forefront of defending free expression. Steinbach attended law school and worked at Berkeley, the cradle of the free speech movement. She later worked as Chief Program Officer at a local chapter of the ACLU, an organization that became famous for its defense of First Amendment liberties for all Americans.
The ACLU famously defended neo-Nazis’ right to march through a Jewish suburb, but now Steinbach led a censorship campaign based on her disapproval of a federal judge’s political and legal philosophy. In her address to Duncan, she claimed he “literally denies the humanity of people.” She prioritized politically correct talking points over tolerance for dissent from mainstream campus opinion, a long way from the former bedrock principles of her past organizations.
The ACLU has not released any statement on the censorship of Judge Duncan. More pressing news releases in the last two weeks have included “The Revolutionary Power of Teenage Girls” and “Trans Rights are Women’s Rights.” Liberal students in the Bay Area did not demonstrate in defense of the Federalist Society’s right to political organization. Instead of Mario Savio standing in front of Sproul Hall to defend campus liberty, masked students in their twenties berated Judge Duncan because he denied a transgender pedophile’s petition to change his name on court documents.
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The old guard at the ACLU – supposed maximalist free speech advocates – were overthrown by Woke Red Guardists after the former defended the right of nascent “alt-right” groups to assemble, march and protest at Charlottesville.
The ACLU – like other old, staid, ossified, traditional-progressive orgs (Sierra Club among others) was riven by internal Woke politics. Its not recovered, since Woke culture only knows destruction in pursuit of raw power. Woke want easy $$$ and they got it. All they had to do is oust the Boomers and careerists. Soft and urbane, the “non-profit” bureaucratic-careerist-left were eaten alive. The progressive grifters and MSNBC blowhard “experts” and their network shattered.
Imagine cocoa sipping participation trophy xe-xem ominsexuals scalping The Weatherman. That is what happened.
Do new members of the bar take an oath or something? All that free speech talk must really be too much to bear.