Paul L. Caron

Friday, September 30, 2022

A Prominent Federal Judge Says He Will No Longer Hire Law Clerks From Yale. Will Other Judges Follow?

David Lat (Original Jurisdiction), A Prominent Federal Judge Declares He Will No Longer Hire Clerks From Yale Law School:

Yale Law Logo (2020)And he's trying to get his fellow judges to join his boycott of YLS clerks—will it work?

Actions have consequences. And the problematic actions of Yale Law School when it comes to free speech, chronicled ad nauseam in these pages, could have consequences for YLS and its graduates—at least if one high-profile federal judge has his way.

This afternoon, at the Kentucky Chapters Conference of the Federalist Society, Judge James Ho of the Fifth Circuit delivered remarks about cancel culture, free speech, and intellectual diversity. After he discussed a series of distressing developments for free expression at several law schools, including but not limited to Yale Law—developments I won’t rehash here, having previously covered most of them in great detail—Judge Ho asked the audience: if cancel culture is a problem, then what can we do about it?

Judge Ho offered a few ideas. First, we should speak out against cancel culture and threats to free speech when we see them. Second, we should stop censoring ourselves, which is how cancel culture takes hold. Third, we can boycott institutions that engage in cancel culture.

To kick things off, Judge Ho announced a bold boycott of his own: starting today, he will no longer hire clerks from Yale Law School. And he explicitly invited his fellow federal judges to join him in adopting this policy. (News of Judge Ho’s boycott of YLS clerks was first reported by Nate Hochman of the National Review.) ...

Will other judges, most likely fellow conservative or Republican-appointed judges, join Judge Ho? I think it’s quite possible—because this is actually not the first time I’ve heard the idea floated. Judge Ho is the first judge to announce the anti-YLS policy publicly and to encourage others to join him. But I do know that other judges have already quietly adopted such a policy—and even privately encouraged others to join them. ...

 I’m happy to maintain a running list of judges who have signed on to Judge Ho’s boycott of hiring Yale Law School graduates as law clerks. I will publish an initial list of judges as an update to the version of this post on the web, and I will update and mention it again from time to time. If you are a judge or know of a judge who has committed to the YLS boycott, please email me.

National Law Journal, In Slamming 'Cancel Culture,' Judge James Ho Boycotts Yale Law Clerks:

A federal judge who said he will no longer hire clerks from Yale Law School garnered criticism from the legal community, one of whom said his comments could create ethics problems.

Legal ethics adviser and University of Miami Law professor Jan Jacobowitz said comments from Judge James Ho of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit criticizing Yale could create recusal problems in the future. ...

[T]those who would be impacted by Ho’s threat were unimpressed by his musing.

“Judge Ho has always been free to make hiring decisions as he sees fit,” a Yale law student, who wished to remain anonymous, said. “I very much doubt that any liberal-leaning students had any desire to clerk for him, so his decision ironically only adversely impacts conservative-leaning Federalist Society members who agree with him ideologically.”

“Yale Law School is still the No. 1 ranked law school in the country and I fully expect that my peers and I will have no trouble finding prestigious clerkships and high-paying jobs,” they said. ...

[H]e isn’t without supporters. Among those who lauded a Yale boycott is South Texas College of Law professor Josh Blackman. “One judge cannot make a difference, but a critical mass of judges could force Yale to change its ways,” he said. “That school (Yale) lives on the prestige of federal clerkships, and will only respond when there is a threat to that prestige.”

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