JUDGE DUNCAN: What We Must Expect of Our Law Schools.
Let’s say the quiet part out loud: The mob came to target me because they hate my work and my ideas. They hate the clients I represented in court. They hate the arguments I made. They evidently hate my judicial opinions, although the protesters were evidently familiar with only one of the hundreds I’ve written — an opinion where I refused to enlist the federal judiciary in the project of controlling what pronouns people use. So, the protesters did not come to respond to my talk or engage in counter-speech. They just wanted to vent their rage against me. None of this spectacle — this obviously staged public shaming — had the slightest thing to do with “free speech.” It had everything to do with intimidation. And to be clear, not intimidating me, but the protesters’ fellow students. The message could not have been clearer: Woe to you if you represent the kind of clients that Judge Duncan represented, or take the same views that he has.
Yes, this was a conspiracy to deny others their civil rights, and should be treated as such. Plus:
So, next, let’s talk about legal education. We shouldn’t forget that this incident did not occur in a campus bar at 12:45 a.m. after the USC game. It occurred in a law school — indeed, one of our nation’s elite law schools. Dean Martínez’s letter eloquently explained why this makes the incident doubly shameful. … Dean Martínez is correct when she writes, “I believe we cannot function as a law school from the premise that appears to have animated the disruption of Judge Duncan’s remarks.” And what was that premise? That “speakers, texts, or ideas believed by some to be harmful inflict a new impermissible harm justifying a heckler’s veto simply because they are present on this campus.” I’ve heard someone comment recently that to be a lawyer means, by definition, to have to occupy the same room with people you seriously disagree with — and yet to have to engage in reasoned, indeed persuasive, argument with them. If that is true — and it is — then the primitive impulse to shout someone down is not a trait we should want to encourage in law schools. Just the opposite. It is a trait we should strive to help students unlearn. …