Paul L. Caron

Monday, October 10, 2022

Professors, Judges Speak Out Against Boycott Of Yale Grads For Judicial Clerkships

The Hill Op-Ed:  Using Cancel Culture’s Tools to Dismantle Cancel Culture?, by Scott Altman (USC):

Denying jobs to students who don’t boycott Yale is an obvious case of excess, a moral failure anyone should recognize, especially a federal judge. It punishes innocent students for making reasonable choices about where to get an education. They no more deserve punishment than Judge Ho’s clerks deserve to be denied future jobs for working in his chambers, where cancel culture seems to be embraced. Perhaps Judge Ho does not mean to punish the students, but — at best — his actions treat students as casualties of a boycott targeting Yale, as if the students were products we should refuse to buy, like grapes during the Delano strike.

We should reserve boycotts, shaming, and shunning for intolerable behavior. Judge Ho points us in the opposite direction, into a world where we punish everyone whose views offend us, including those who will not join our boycotts. Strategies like these are the cause of our cancel culture problems, not the solution.

ABA Journal, After 5th Circuit Judge Boycotts Yale Law School Grads, His Conservative Colleague Hangs Out Welcome Sign:

U.S. Circuit Judge Jerry E. Smith is encouraging Yale Law School graduates to apply for his clerkships after his colleague announced that he won’t be hiring any of them.

Smith is a member of the 5th U.S. Circuit of Appeals at New Orleans, as is the judge who is boycotting Yale Law grads, Circuit Judge James C. Ho. Both are conservative. And Ho once clerked for Smith, How Appealing notes in an “irony alert.”

Reuters, Judge's Yale Clerk-Hiring Boycott 'Regrettable,' Conservative Colleague Says:

A Republican-appointed federal appeals court judge is calling a decision by a fellow conservative jurist on his court to boycott the hiring of law clerks from Yale Law School "regrettable" and is encouraging students to apply to him instead.

U.S. Circuit Judge Jerry Smith's statement came after a colleague on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, U.S. Circuit Judge James Ho, last week urged other judges to boycott hiring clerks from Yale, which he said was plagued by "cancel culture."

[I]n a Tuesday posting to OSCAR, the online system used by law students to apply for federal clerkships, Smith, an appointee of former Republican President Ronald Reagan and a Yale graduate, called Ho's decision "regrettable," without referring to him by name. ...

But another member of the 5th Circuit, U.S. Circuit Judge Edith Jones, said in an email on Wednesday that while she had no policy regarding Yale applicants, she shared Ho's concerns. "I’m particularly concerned that if law school faculty represent one single viewpoint, and actively shut down disagreement, students' education suffers," said Jones, a Reagan appointee.

Bloomberg Law, Judge Ho’s Yale Clerk Ban Is ‘Ugly,’ Third Circuit Judge Says:

A US appeals court judge criticized fellow jurist James Ho’s decision to no longer hire law clerks from Yale, calling the policy “horrendous.”

“It’s ugly, it’s nasty, and I guess it just goes to show you the weakness of merit selection—that everybody who gets selected isn’t meritorious of the selection,” Theodore McKee, a senior judge on the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, said at a Thursday event. ...

McKee’s comments were an answer to an audience question about Ho’s policy during a virtual panel discussion held by Emory Free Speech Forum, a student group at Emory University School of Law in Atlanta.

Orin Kerr (UC-Berkeley), Boycotting Law Schools in Clerk Hiring As a Way to Influence Law School Culture:

This a bad idea, and I hope other judges do not adopt it. Given our blog's traditional readership among conservative judges and clerks, I thought I would take a minute here to say why. ...

[Judge Ho] is trying to use his position as a government official, and the accompanying power to direct taxpayer dollars to employ staff, in a way that maximizes his personal agenda outside of his government work.

Brian Leiter (Chicago), 14 Federal Judges Are Now Saying They Will Not Hire Yale Law Graduates:

I think Professor Kerr is correct that this is not appropriate, and I might add that it smacks of unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination, insofar as the judges are promising to punish students who choose Yale because they reject these judges' view of the free speech issues.

The irony, of course, is that there are federal judges who don't hire Yale Law graduates because of the perception that Yale doesn't do a good job teaching the students law. ... The more recent, blanket boycott still seems to me ill-considered and inappropriate.

Jack Goldsmith (Harvard), Thoughts On Judge Ho's Clerkship Boycott:

My friend Judge James Ho recently announced that he is boycotting the hiring of law clerks from my alma mater, Yale Law School, because it "tolerates the cancellation of views" and "actively practices it." I think this is a bad decision, and I hope it might be useful to say why. ...

I don't understand how a clerkship boycott of Yale students by conservative federal judges helps anyone or any institution—not the judiciary, not Yale Law School, not Yale Law School students, and not the legal profession. But I doubt that top federal judges will join it in any event.

Neil H. Buchanan (Florida), Republican-Appointed Judges Try to Punish Yale for ... Something:

I have no doubt that I am taking this entire little affair far too seriously. Some very privileged arch-conservative politicians who have been appointed to be judicial activists have gotten themselves into a lather, because they have heard via their preferred media (and probably some friends) that some Yale students have been oh-so-very-rude to people who are accustomed to receiving reverential treatment from groveling, careerist law students.

No worries. The underlying model is no more broken than it used to be, and this will soon enough be merely another blip in the culture wars, notable only because it has something to do with elite legal education.

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