Federal judges agree to speak at Yale following boycott

The invitation came from the Dean of Yale law school requesting that the judges come to discuss their free speech concerns.

The judge said in a Sept. 29 speech that he would cease hiring Yale law clerks stating, 'I want Yale to stop canceling people like me.'

Earlier this month, Yale Law School (YLS) in Connecticut invited two U.S. Circuit Judges James Ho and Elizabeth Branch to speak at the law school after over a dozen prominent federal judges announced that they would be boycotting Yale law clerks due to free speech concerns. 

The invitation came via Dean Heather Gerken requesting that the judges come to Yale to discuss their free speech concerns. 

Both Ho and Branch stated in an Oct. 13 letter obtained by Original Jurisdiction that “[they] would love nothing more for…restoration of free speech and the rigorous exchange of ideas.”

The judges even suggested scheduling an earlier date for the panel.

“We accept and look forward to scheduling the panel discussion at your earliest convenience,” they wrote. “In particular, we ask that the event take place sooner than the proposed date of January 17, 2023.”

[RELATED: Republican congressmen investigate Department of Education for failure to promote free speech]

Ho announced in a speech at a Federalist Society event on Sept. 29 that he would cease hiring Yale law clerks stating, “I don’t want to cancel Yale. I want Yale to stop canceling people like me,” according to an article by Reuters

Branch was the most recent judge to join the boycott movement and in an article for National Review she said there were “legitimate concerns. . . about the lack of free speech on law school campuses, Yale in particular.”

Prior to the judges’ Oct. 13 response, Gerken made an announcement defending the law school’s commitment to free speech.

“Yale Law School is dedicated to building a vibrant intellectual environment where ideas flourish. To foster free speech and engagement, we emphasize the core values of professionalism, integrity, and respect. These foundational values guide everything we do,” the statement read. 

[RELATED: UPDATE: Free speech watchdog sends letter to medical school challenging woke white coat ceremony oath]

The announcement also listed several initiatives that the school had undertaken in the name of protecting First Amendment rights on campus. 

The list included revisions to the disciplinary code, a statement condemning disruption of events on campus, online resources outlining YLS’s free speech policies, as well as “welcom[ing] a new Dean of Students…focused on ensuring students learn to resolve disagreements among themselves…rather than reflexively looking to the institution to serve as a referee.”

Gerken’s announcement did not address the growing boycott of Yale law clerks.

Campus Reform contacted Ho, Branch, Gerken, and YLS for comment and will update this article accordingly. 

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