Law Prof To File Bar Complaint Against Stanford Students Who Heckled, Harassed Federal Judge

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Alexa Schwerha Contributor
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An elite university law professor intends to file a complaint with the bar admission authorities to advise against accepting any student who participated in a protest against Federal Judge Kyle Duncan earlier this month, according to an email obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

John Banzhaf, professor of public interest law emeritus at George Washington University (GWU), wrote to Stanford Law School Dean Jenny Martinez on Monday to inform her of the complaint, the exchange read. The protesters heckled Duncan, who was invited to campus by the Federalist Society, during his March 9 speech and were encouraged by Stanford Law School Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Tirien Steinbach. (RELATED: ‘Free Speech Crisis’: Stanford Law School Spent Years Building Out Its Diversity, Equity And Inclusion Bureaucracy)

The complaint will include video of the protest “so that bar officials can judge the students’ conduct for themselves,” according to the email.

“I have advised Stanford Law School that I am planning to file complaints with the appropriate bar admission authorities regarding the violations of its own free speech rules by some of its law students because, like many others, I feel that their actions in deliberately preventing a federal judge from speaking to law students who wanted to hear his views and perhaps question him about them reflects adversely on their character and fitness, and, perhaps most importantly, because the Law School – which actually encouraged the wrongful behavior – is apparently refusing to take any actions regarding the disruptive students,” Banzhaf told the DCNF.

Martinez pledged in a March 11 apology to Duncan that the administration is “taking steps to ensure that something like this does not happen again.” The students’ conduct violated Stanford’s policy that prohibits the disruption of “University function or approved activity, such as lectures, ceremonies, the conduct of University business in a University office, and public events,” Banzhalf wrote in the email to Martinez.

Judge Duncan event at Stanford from Ethics and Public Policy Center on Vimeo.

Banzhalf cited several opinion articles that offered recommendations on how the law school could respond to the students who violated the code of conduct including sending a message to character & fitness review boards or imposing suspensions and expulsions. Complaints to bar officials can be filed anonymously and can delay or deny student admission, he said in a ValueWalk article titled “A Remedy For Stanford Law School’s Free Speech Thugs.”

“I have long believed that one important role law professors can play is to file legal complaints where appropriate since doing so effectively often requires being a lawyer; yet many lawyers in private practice are reluctant to take controversial actions for fear of losing existing clients or alienating prospective ones – a risk law professors do not face,” he told the DCNF. “That’s why I have over some 50 years of public interest practice filed many complaints, including those which have led to the ban on cigarette commercials, the current criminal investigation of Trump in Georgia, the House’s reprimand of Barney Frank, the discontinuance of wrongful police prosecutions in Baltimore, a $12 million settlement by McDonald’s, the $300 million settlement which established FAMRI, and more.”

Martinez did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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