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The Epoch Times
The Epoch Times
11 Mar 2023

NextImg:Judge Kyle Duncan's Event 'Went Awry': Stanford Law School After Protests

Stanford Law School Dean Jenny Martinez admitted that protests at Judge Kyle Duncan’s seminar violated the school’s policy of free speech.

“However well-intentioned, attempts at managing the room in this instance went awry. The way this event unfolded was not aligned with our institutional commitment to freedom of speech,” Martinez wrote in an email to the law school’s students.

Duncan, a Trump-appointed U.S. judge of the 5th Circuit Appeals Court, was invited to deliver a speech on “The Fifth Circuit in Conversation with the Supreme Court: Covid, Guns, and Twitter” at the Federalist Society’s Stanford Student Chapter on Thursday when the events took place.

Stanford Law School allows protests that do not interrupt speech. Heckling and other forms of interruption that stop a speaker from making or completing a speech violate the school’s disruption policy, Martinez added.

Martinez’s email was obtained by the Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) and various media outlets.

The Epoch Times reached out to Stanford Law School for comment.

In a video posted by the Ethics and Public Policy Center, protesters gathered at one side of the classroom began heckling Duncan during what appeared to be the beginning of his speech, and he was unable to continue.

Tirien Steinbach, associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion at the law school, gave a brief speech after the judge was interrupted.

Though she criticized Duncan, Steinbach said she “wholeheartedly” welcomes him and stated that the judge’s speech is necessary for the sake of free speech.

“For many … who work here, who study here, and who live here, your advocacy, your opinions from the bench, land as absolute disenfranchisement of their rights,” Steinbach said. “For many people here, your work has caused harm.”

“I’m glad this is going on here,” she concluded as the protestors applauded and cheered.

Steinbach is a former program officer at the American Civil Liberties Union, an advocacy group and liberal attorney organization.

Duncan, a Louisiana-born lawyer and judge, is known for rulings aligned with conservative values.

He told Reuters during an interview that he was offended and disturbed by the “deeply uncivil behavior” of the protestors.

He demanded that Stanford Law School apologize. “It would be nice if they reached out to me and said, ‘Gee, we’re sorry,’” Duncan said.

Duncan said he was not able to talk much about the planned topic after being heckled by the protestors.

“They are idiots,” he said. “They are hypocrites and they are bullies.”

“I told [students] this is not going to work in a courtroom, this way of disagreement,” he said. “Maybe that’s where we are going as a society, but that doesn’t work in my courtroom.”

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