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Bruce Bialosky

The Worst Part of What Happened at Stanford

By now I am confident that you have read about or seen the recent and infamous episode at Stanford Law School. I refer to Judge Kyle Duncan, of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, being verbally attacked by student protesters during a presentation and then dressed down by an assistant dean of DEI. The worst parts of this matter have not even been addressed and some cultural crimes were committed.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) ran a column by the judge explaining his position on what occurred. Being a real newspaper, the WSJ also ran an op-ed piece by the assistant dean, Tirien Steinbach. The copy is here

Ms. Steinbach (if I may call her “Ms.”) shows her bias quite clearly early in the piece. She states, “student groups that vehemently opposed Judge Duncan showed up to protest.” That is not what they showed up to do. They showed up to disrupt the Judge’s presentation, thus destroying any possibility for other students who arrived with an open mind or were anxious to hear Duncan to have an educational experience.

She goes on to state the rabble tried to cancel the event or move it to Zoom. Not quite sure what moving it to Zoom would have changed unless the moderator would have an ability to shut down anyone speaking by muting their connection.

She further states: “I believe that we should strive for authentic free speech. We must strive for an environment in which we meet speech—even that with which we strongly disagree—with more speech, not censorship.” No, she does not. Otherwise, she would have warned any student they would be disciplined for interrupting or chanting during the event.

Free speech allows others to provide their unvarnished thoughts. If you don’t like what the person has stated you should counter that with facts and a thoughtful response. The first crime is Steinbach has no clue what free speech is, and she is employed as an associate dean at a major law school.

Here is what the code should say. “Students are welcome to peacefully protest outside the event at a preset location far enough away from the event to not disrupt it. Students who have not made up their minds about the speaker before hearing that person are welcome inside the event if they behave respectfully. They are welcome to ask questions during the assigned period as long as they do so in a respectful manner.” They should be encouraged to do such because that is what education is actually about – an open mind and broadening experiences.

Steinbach goes on to say that “As soon as Judge Duncan entered the room, a verbal sparring match began to take place between the judge and the protesters.” She places equal responsibility on the judge. No; this is all the protesters’ fault.

She then turns to the judge and makes clear she believes it is his fault. She asks the judge “Is the juice worth the squeeze?” First, how does one expect the students to have respect for Duncan when you, as a supposed authority figure for the University, puke that statement out of your mouth? You have now stepped in and taken the side of the protesters.

Steinbach never once questions the behavior of the students. This is the second crime and the most egregious one. These are students at one of our country’s most prestigious law schools and they are never questioned as to their behavior. They are led to believe their behavior here can be repeated once they have graduated and entered a world they will experience for the next forty years.

There is a complete aversion to setting standards and telling people they must live by them. It is reminiscent of the 1960’s where whatever anyone did was “cool” and it was supposedly inappropriate to criticize. You know, “live and let live.” It was malarkey then and it still is today.

One might think that the students themselves would be respectful of Judge Duncan as their careers may take them to his courtroom. Or maybe they never plan to do that. They might be thinking of going to work for the government or planning to go into politics or, better yet, becoming a community organizer. Regardless, these students may not even consider the significance of what they are doing to their future careers.

The students may be correct. That is evidenced by an interaction the Beautiful Wife had with someone on social media. She persists in these back-and-forth discussions. This was with a normally well-informed liberal. When she invoked the incident at Stanford Law, he was clueless as to what she was addressing. That means the legacy media has largely ignored what is a significant cultural event.

The big picture problem is that lawyers control much of our lives. They intercede in our activities in so many ways. Then there are the ones from elite law schools who typically rise to the top of the profession. The actions at Stanford are not isolated. If their law schools are not telling them they need to maintain better personal conduct, why would they believe they must do so in their careers?

Then again, where are their mothers? Better yet, what are the prestigious alumni doing about this?