Freedom of speech — not at Stanford

As a journalist and just a regular U.S. citizen I am grateful for our freedom of speech.

I mean why else would I continue to write a regular Editor’s Note and risk the potential that some people may not agree with me and send me nasty notes and call to berate me mercilessly? It’s because I appreciate freedom of speech that I endure this type of treatment. Although, just to be fair, I get plenty of calls and letters from people who agree with me.

So, I was appalled when I read the news story about Sanford law students’ treatment of a judge, who was asked to speak to them. The students, who we all can assume were liberals, were being address by 5th U.S. Circuit Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan, a 2018 appointee of former President Donald Trump.

Although students at Sanford Law School are prohibited heckling speakers. In this instance, the heckling was so bad that the judge couldn’t even start of finish his speech.

The event was hosted by the school’s Federalist Society chapter, and Duncan’s speech was entitled, “The Fifth Circuit in Conversation with the Supreme Court: Covid, Guns, and Twitter.”

Duncan told the press that his treatment was comparable to protests at other saw schools, including Yale and Georgetown where student-led protests of conservative speakers have prompted discussion of whether law schools are living up to their ideas as “bastions of open debate and free speech.”

Can you imagine hiring one of these attorneys and having them clap their hands over their ears and chant la, la, la, la, when they don’t want to hear something that is being said in the courtroom.

The dean of the school apologized and said that although students are allowed to protest, they aren’t allowed to be disruptive. She said the students would be disciplined by taking free speech training.

Obviously, these students hadn’t learned yet about the U.S. constitution or they weren’t listening in class, or maybe they just missed the day that the first amendment came up.

Some of the students complained because Duncan kept calling them idiots, to which Duncan replied, “They are idiots. They are hypocrites and they are bullies.”

To make matters worse, the school’s associate dean of diversity, equity and inclusion, didn’t even try to take control of the situation, as she was supposedly the adult in the room. She got up after his attempted speech and continued to heckle the judge. According to the school she has been put on administrative leave.

As it stands the student protesters aren’t in the least apologetic about their inappropriate behavior and have instead demanded that the dean rescind her formal apology to the judge, restrict what speakers the Federalist Society can invite to the campus and what topics can be discussed and to expel the school’s current Federalist Society board members.

Sounds like they need to spend some quality time in communist China to understand what freedom of speech means and how important it is for people to be able to express themselves.

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