Ted Cruz Takes Stanford Law to School Over Leftist Effort to Shut Down Speech

AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner

We’re seeing in many colleges how much leftism is poisoning people’s minds against free speech. But you would think one of the places that would understand the value of free speech would be law schools, which are preparing future lawyers.


However, we saw at Stanford Law School, its students shouted down the speech of Judge Kyle Duncan, a Trump appointee to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, calling him a racist and offering up profanities. Not only didn’t the administrator on the scene — Associate Dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion Tirien Steinbach — try to get things under control, she made the situation worse, as my colleague Sister Toldjah explained.

But instead of trying to restore order, Steinbach proceeded to lecture Duncan about how “uncomfortable” he made her and the students in the room because some of his decisions allegedly “[deny] the humanity of people” including a convicted transgender sex offender with who Duncan refused to play pronoun games in 2020.

After all was said and done, Duncan reportedly had to be ushered out by federal marshals in the interest of keeping him safe.

While the school thereafter issued an apology to the judge, they also encouraged people to reach out to the school, including that very same dean, if they needed to “process” what had happened for their “mental health.”

As George Washington law school professor Jonathan Turley wryly noted, “You know what is emotionally therapeutic for those denied free speech?” Turley went on to say. “Free speech.” He also noted that it was concerning that the reaction from the school was to discourage free speech, telling the students not to engage on social media.

The problem is that leftist students know that they can shout people down with impunity in most arenas, shut down speech, and they will not be held to account. It’s become the norm for anyone that leftists don’t like speaking on campus.


Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is now calling on Stanford to hold the students who were involved accountable for their actions.

“It was deeply disturbing to watch the viral video that captured Stanford Law students harassing and insulting Judge Kyle Duncan, a sitting federal circuit judge, who had been invited by the school’s Federalist Society chapter to speak at a school-sanctioned event,” Cruz said in a letter to the administration of the law school.

This disgraceful behavior is antithetical to the principles of free speech and open discourse that are essential to the mission of any credible academic institution, let alone a top-tier law school. Such behavior also clearly violates Stanford Law School’s Campus Disruption Policy. As such, Stanford Law School is well within its rights to discipline these students for their behavior, and indeed, I strongly urge the school to do so. Indeed, failing to identify and discipline the students responsible for this reprehensible conduct will only encourage such behavior in the future.

He also called for action regarding the dean.

Cruz said the associate dean “thrust herself into the limelight during the allotted time of the event, stole the microphone for over six minutes, and proceeded to chastise and condescend to Judge Duncan with the aid of her own pre-prepared remarks.”

“Far from conducting herself in a manner that students should emulate, Assistant Dean Steinbach’s behavior validated the protestors’ disruptive conduct,” the senator wrote. “Given her demonstrated contempt for the federal bench, guests of the school, and your own institution’s policies, I recommend that she is promptly dismissed from her position.”


Cruz said protest is important, but the “heckler’s veto” shouldn’t be allowed to shut down the right of people to speak.

He noted how similar behavior by Yale Law School students has prompted some judges to say that they will no longer accept clerkship applications from Yale. As Cruz noted, this shows that such students will not be able to fairly engage in the process based on the law. Cruz said that now Stanford might face the same fate, if they don’t show that such behavior will result in consequences.

The student protestors only engaged in the behavior they did because they predicted that their actions would be consequence-free. If they are indeed correct, then such appalling behavior can be expected again in the future. The eyes of the American legal community are now upon Stanford Law to see whether the school will, in fact, defend the principles of free speech and free inquiry.

“The idea that at Stanford Law School that law students would think it’s appropriate to scream and yell and heckle, can you imagine how people would react if Sonia Sotomayor went to a law school, and a bunch of right-wing law students began screaming and yelling and cursing, people would lose their minds and quite rightly!” Cruz said on the “Verdict” podcast.

He also explained how the students on the board of The Federalist Society chapter at the school — the organization that invited the judge — were then targeted. Leftists put up flyers with their names and faces, with red letters dripping down on them, saying “You should be ashamed.”


Cruz called out these threats.

If it happened on the other foot, if a conservative put up a list with pictures and names of nine liberal students and said, “You should be ashamed” for advocating for whatever left wing cause you’re advocating, I guarantee you the law school would discipline, if not expel any students who did that. And to see this happening to a judge is astonishing!

Now, that’s truly schooling the school.

Will the school take the students to the task? I don’t hold out a lot of hope. But Cruz is pointing out what’s likely to happen if they continue down this road, and it isn’t good for the school, the profession, or society to continue this descent into craziness.


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