Two of the federal judges boycotting Yale Law School over its poor record on free speech will speak at the university next week about their decision not to hire clerks from the Ivy League law school, according to promotional materials for the event reviewed by the Washington Free Beacon.
The event, hosted by the William F. Buckley program and set for Nov. 30, will feature Fifth Circuit judge James Ho and Eleventh Circuit judge Elizabeth Branch, who over the past two months announced that they would no longer hire clerks from the school. The Buckley program is independent of the university, and the law school is not sponsoring the event.
Yale Law School dean Heather Gerken has also invited Ho and Branch to speak at the law school in January, a move widely seen as damage control. That event still appears to be in the works, though the law school did not respond to a request for comment.
Next week’s panel comes after a dozen federal judges in addition to Ho and Branch told the Free Beacon they would no longer hire clerks from Yale Law, citing the law school administration’s response to several campus uproars, including its now-infamous intimidation of Trent Colbert, a second-year law student who used the term "traphouse" in an email. They also pointed to administrators’ failure to discipline students who disrupted a bipartisan panel on civil liberties and caused so much chaos the police were called.
The boycott prompted Gerken to outline a series of steps she says the law school is taking to protect free speech, including the hire of a new dean of students who will encourage students to "resolve disagreements among themselves." In a letter to Gerken on October 13, Ho and Branch said that those measures were insufficient—and that some of them, such as a ban on surreptitious recordings, were counterproductive.
"The only reason we even know about" the trap house incident, the judges said, "is because that student recorded his interactions with school officials. Does this new policy somehow improve free speech conditions on campus? Or does it simply ensure that the school will not be caught in the future for infringing on speech?"