Stanford students shout down federal judge; university administration apologizes

U.S. District Judge Stuart Kyle Duncan waits as he is criticized Tirien Steinbeck, left, the Stanford Law School associate dean of diversity, equity and inclusion at a speech Thursday sponsored by the Federalist Society, a conservative campus group.

By the Daily Post staff

Stanford law students shouted down a conservative federal judge who had been invited to campus to give a speech on “Covid, Guns and Twitter.”

On a widely circulated video, students are heard screaming “scumbag” and “you’re a liar” as Stuart Kyle Duncan, a Trump-appointee on the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, stood to give his speech on Thursday.

The shouting became so loud that Duncan asked for an administrator to keep order, according to the video. Tirien Steinbach, the law school’s associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion, took to the microphone and gave a speech that accused Duncan of causing “harm.”

“Do you have something so incredibly important to say,” she asked him, that it is worth the “division of these people?”

Duncan had been invited to campus by the Federalist Society and the audience members were not required to attend the speech.

In the video, Duncan is heard calling Steinbach’s decision to take the podium “a setup.”

Later, the judge said, “I think this entire thing is a joke.”

An apology
In the letter sent to Duncan on Saturday, Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne and Stanford Law School Dean Jenny Martinez apologized.

“What happened was inconsistent with our policies on free speech, and we are very sorry about the experience you had while visiting our campus,” they wrote.

Without mentioning her name, they appeared to accuse Steinbach of allowing things to get out of hand.

“Staff members who should have enforced university policies failed to do so, and instead intervened in inappropriate ways that are not aligned with the university’s commitment to free speech,” the apology letter said.

The letter said Stanford is “taking steps to ensure that something like this does not happen again,” but the letter wasn’s specific about what those steps would be.

Descending into barbarism
Duncan said he was concerned that some of the protesters would become lawyers and judges after graduation.

“If enough of these kids get into the legal profession,” he said, “the rule of law will descend into barbarism.”


  1. From the tactics of the Stanford thuggery, I am afraid that history may repeat itself. The Brownshirts began by shutting down the events of their opposition, before graduating to much more malign activities. These kids don’t seem to have a sufficient moral compass to avoid a similar trajectory, and I am sure that they will always find that any dissenting opinions make them feel “unsafe” and cause them “harm”.

  2. Regarding 3/13/23 story (Stanford Law students shout down U.S. judge)
    Lady justice is blind, and the scales are balanced, but someone forgot to tell a pack of gifted law students, and a professor, that there are usually two sides to a story. It’s too bad that many saw fit to excoriate a federal judge with whom they may disagree with or dislike. All they have done is add fuel to the far right narrative that liberals are trying to erase basic rights and show little respect for the law too. Take a page from the State of the Union Address, in which most attendees behave well even though they don’t meet politically. They sit silent when triggered instead of heckling like fools. Those who shout insults are seen as fools. Why be a fool?
    Authentic and informed debate plus compromise are the foundations of our system. Have been since the Constitution was adopted. Let the federal judge speak, take notes, and then debate the merits with friends and foes. Shout downs are silly, especially when fueled by an educator who really should know better. So much for that high priced education, eh?

    • Thank you for expressing the issues so well. There were far too many fools in attendance, definitely giving fuel to the far right. I hope they grow out of that behavior, including Steinbach.

      • Big law firms aren’t going to hire them. Stanford Law objected to the US News ratings because they took into account the jobs graduates got. Stanford grads didn’t do well in that category, so to hide the truth, Stanford and a number of other “woke” colleges demanded that the magazine change its rating system.

  3. The students who showed up to learn should band together and file ethics complaints against the petty terrorists, including this disgusting dean, who deprived them of this opportunity. And where is HER apology?

  4. The inmates now run the prison. The Associate DEI Dean will not be reprimanded let alone fired. The same for any disruptive students. Anyone who thinks the Stanford administration is going to punish anyone involved is dreaming. The loony bin doesn’t discipline the loony people who work or congregate within the bin. That’s not how it works.

    The students believed they had as much “free speech” rights as the judge at the same time and location…and were offended by the judge’s refusal to use a transgender person’s preferred pronouns in a 2022 written opinion. Next, the students will dictate what case law they accept, which laws they want to study, etc. Stanford is no more.

    A real Board of Trustees would kick the students out. They have a multi-billion dollar endowment. Move forward on principle. Stanford occupied a rare status globally and they have chosen to implode.

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