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US Circuit judge denounces 'cancel culture,' vows not to hire Yale law clerks: 'Yale not only tolerates the cancellation of views — it actively practices it'

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Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

A federal appeals judge has decided to take action against so-called "cancel culture" by denying clerkships to those educated by a place he considers to be a major cancel culture supply line: Yale Law School.

Judge James C. Ho of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, based in New Orleans, recently spoke to the Kentucky Chapters Conference of the Federalist Society and openly castigated the intolerant practices promulgated by Yale Law and its graduates.

"Yale not only tolerates the cancellation of views — it actively practices it," he said.

To illustrate his point, Ho cited several recent examples that have affected the legal community. Back in late January, a would-be Georgetown Law senior lecturer, Ilya Shapiro, was placed on administrative leave after he tweeted criticism of President Joe Biden for selecting a candidate for the U.S. Supreme Court based on the immutable characteristics of race and sex. Ketanji Brown Jackson, a black woman, was sworn in to the Court last week, but Shapiro ultimately resigned his position at Georgetown back in June because he said that he could not abide a "place that excludes dissenting voices." Shapiro did not work one official day on the job.

For more evidence of the intolerance propagated at Yale Law, Ho also pointed to an event held at Yale itself. Back in March, more than 100 Yale Law students loudly disrupted a free speech presentation headlined by Kristen Waggoner of the Alliance Defending Freedom and Monica Miller of the American Humanist Association. The activist students caused such a disturbance that nearby classes complained, and police had to escort the speakers safely out of the building and into a police vehicle after it was over.

Ellen Cosgrove, an associate dean at Yale Law, attended the entire event, Ho noted, but "did nothing" to punish the petulant protestors for their behavior.

"It turns out that, when elite law schools like Yale teach their students that there are no consequences to their intolerance and illiberalism," Ho said, "the message sticks with them."

However, in addition to referencing numerous examples of intolerant bullying perpetrated by Yale Law students, Ho also suggested that judges have in their control one possible solution to the problem: Refuse to hire these same students as law clerks.

"We’re not just citizens," Ho reminded his audience. "We’re also customers. Customers can boycott entities that practice cancel culture. ... I wonder how a law school would feel, if my fellow federal judges and I stopped being its customers."

He added that his intention is not to participate in cancel culture per se, but to give cancel culture participants a taste of their own medicine.

"I don't want to cancel Yale," Ho insisted. "I want Yale to stop canceling people like me."

Even a Mother Jones writer agreed with the premise of Ho's new policy, if not with Ho's reasons. "The highest levels of the federal judiciary have for too long been dominated by graduates of the same handful of select law schools," wrote senior reporter Tim Murphy, "and it’d be a mistake to say we’re better for it."

Former President Donald Trump nominated Ho, who graduated from the University of Chicago School of Law, to the federal bench in 2018. According to Reuters, Yale declined to comment on this story.

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