Paul L. Caron

Saturday, October 8, 2022

14th Federal Judge Join Boycott, Refuses To Hire Yale Students As Law Clerks

Nate Hochman (National Review), Another Federal Judge Joins Boycott of Yale Law:

Yale Law Logo (2020)Elizabeth Branch, a federal judge serving on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, is joining a concerted push by conservatives on the federal judiciary to no longer hire clerks from Yale Law School. Judge Branch, who was nominated for the Eleventh Circuit by Donald Trump in 2017, informed National Review of her decision in response to NR’s inquiry about the trend, citing the “legitimate concerns” that had been “recently raised . . . about the lack of free speech on law school campuses, Yale in particular.” Branch is the 14th federal judge to have pledged to decline clerkships from Yale Law over the course of the past nine days. ...

When asked for a comment on Judge Ho’s speech and the growing number of federal judges joining the boycott, Judge Branch told NR of her decision to add her name to the list:

My friend, Judge Jim Ho, recently raised legitimate concerns about the lack of free speech on law school campuses, Yale in particular. Like Judge Ho, I am gravely concerned that the stifling of debate not only is antithetical to this country’s founding principles, but also stunts intellectual growth. Accordingly, I accept Judge Ho’s invitation to join him in declining to consider students from Yale Law School for clerkships with me, with an exception for past and current students.

Notably, one initial criticism leveled at Judge Ho’s speech was that Ho alone would not have the clout to affect Yale Law by withholding clerkships. “Perhaps I’m underestimating Ho’s clout, but I can’t imagine students turning down coveted seats at the nation’s most prestigious law school because he put it on his personal blacklist,” the lawyer Vivia Chen wrote in Bloomberg Law earlier this week. “And what are the odds that other federal judges, even unabashed conservative ones, will trash the resumes of awesome Yalies because of the school’s woke reputation?”

If the growing momentum of the 14-federal-judge-strong boycott is any indication, those odds appear to be quite high.

Reuters, 2nd Trump-Appointed Judge Publicly Says She Will Not Hire Yale Clerks

Washington Free Beacon Editorial, A Boycott We Can Get Behind: Three Cheers for Judge James Ho and His Fellow Travelers, Who Are Taking the Fight to Yale:

Rejected. That word, perhaps above all others, strikes fear in the hearts of careerist, Ivy League overachievers and the administrators whose livelihoods depend on serving them by maintaining their perch atop the all-important U.S. News & World Report rankings.

That is why Fifth Circuit Judge James C. Ho’s announcement last week that he will no longer hire clerks from Yale Law School, ostensibly the nation’s premier breeding ground for legal scholars and practitioners, is garnering so much attention, and why we expect our colleague Aaron Sibarium’s report — indicating that a dozen more federal judges are following suit — to turn heads, too.

Three cheers for them. Changing the market demand for a Yale Law School degree is one way to motivate the feckless, dishonest, and unprincipled administrators in New Haven and elsewhere to do their jobs—that is, to reassert in clear terms that free inquiry is the primary function of a university and that it is to be protected at all costs, including, and perhaps especially, when free speech causes offense.

It may not work and, if Yale continues on its current course, the boycott is telegraphing to anybody interested in a serious legal education that what’s on offer in New Haven is far from it. ...

Yale Law School long ago gave up the idea of educating its students. It prizes nothing more than its own prestige, derived in part from the federal clerkships in which it places its graduates. As any parent resolved to deliver tough love and discipline to an unruly child knows, the punishment hurts us more than it hurts them. But it is necessary.

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