Wednesday, October 19, 2022
Newsweek, Canceling the Cancelers at Yale Law School:
Last month at the Sixth Annual Kentucky Chapters Conference of the Federalist Society, Judge James C. Ho of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (disclosure: my former boss) issued a call to arms. Ho, who earlier this year ruffled feathers at Georgetown University Law Center by using the occasion of his own talk at Georgetown to defend then-embattled Georgetown scholar Ilya Shapiro from the school's own pusillanimous dean, announced in the Bluegrass State that "starting today," he would not hire future law clerks who matriculate at Yale Law School. (Current Yale Law students and Yale Law alumni are unaffected.)
The reasons for the law clerk hiring moratorium are fairly straightforward: "Cancel culture" and, more specifically, a hostility to religious and conservative viewpoints and a demonstrated willingness to "shout down" such speakers, are disproportionately pervasive at Yale Law; Yale Law consistently ranks as, and holds itself as, the single preeminent institution of legal education in America; because of that perceived perch, Yale Law is more capable of influencing other legal institutions to denounce "cancel culture" and make itself genuinely open to "dissident" speech from the "deplorable" half of the American citizenry.
Ho's critics immediately swarmed from every possible direction. The Left was predictably apoplectic. On the Right, some, such as the purportedly right-of-center Dispatch podcaster Sarah Isgur, have complained that it is not clear what Yale could actually do to effectuate meaningful change. Such defeatism is unwarranted; one clear first step would be for Yale to embrace the Chicago Principles, a product of the University of Chicago, which would have the effect of protecting conservative students, conservative speech, and conservative programming. ...
[C]onservatives must be willing to prudentially engage in escalatory tit-for-tat tactics across all areas of our republican life—to merely rebalance our wildly off-kilter status quo that favors progressives over conservatives across all of society, if nothing else. If the notion of "knowing what time it is" means anything, surely it means that. Now, with a small victory at Yale Law under our belts, let's keep it up.
Devaid Bernstein (George Mason), About That Yale Law School Statement on Its Commitment to Free Speech
Prior TaxProf Blog coverage:
- A Prominent Federal Judge Says He Will No Longer Hire Law Clerks From Yale. Will Other Judges Follow? (Sept. 30, 2022)
- Conservatives Should Oppose Boycott Of Yale Law Students In Judicial Law Clerk Hiring (Oct. 1, 2022)
- More On Judge Ho's Proposed Boycott Of Yale Law School Grads For Judicial Clerkships (Oct. 3, 2022)
- 12 Federal Judges Join Boycott, Refuse To Hire Yale Students As Law Clerks (Oct. 5, 2022)
- 14th Federal Judge Join Boycott, Refuses To Hire Yale Students As Law Clerks (Oct. 8, 2022)
- Professors, Judges Speak Out Against Boycott Of Yale Grads For Judicial Clerkships (Oct. 10, 2022)
- Yale Law Dean Trumpets Free Speech Stance Amid Federal Judges' Clerk Boycott (Oct. 13, 2022)