Yale Law School has long been a disgrace. I was surprised, when I searched for YLS on our site, at how often we have commented on farcical events there. Way back in 2003, we wrote about Yale Law School’s disgusting treatment of military recruiters. That was followed by Yale’s lawsuit trying to have the Solomon Amendment declared unconstitutional. The Solomon Amendment provides that universities that receive federal funding must treat military recruiters in non-discriminatory fashion. The horror! Yale and its fellow left-wing institutions lost 8-0 in the Supreme Court. Elena Kagan was among those leading the anti-military charge.
In 2014, we commented on a pitifully weak op-ed co-authored by the Dean of Harvard Law School and the Provost of Yale Law School complaining about the fact that police officers were not charged with homicide in the Michael Brown (a clear case of self-defense) and Eric Garner cases.
Then there was the hysterical anti-Brett Kavanaugh letter signed by YLS students, alumni and professors. (“Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination presents an emergency — for democratic life, for our safety and freedom, for the future of our country. … He is a threat to many of us, despite the privilege bestowed by our education, simply because of who we are. . . people will die if he is confirmed.”)
In 2021, we wrote about a controversy over whether the Yale Law Journal is “racist,” even though it accepts black and Hispanic students at rates far greater than whites. Later last year, Scott covered in a series of posts the story of Trent Colbert, a YLS student who apparently didn’t get the memo. After sending classmates a jocular email inviting them to a party at his “trap house,” he was subjected to Kafkaesque torment by the law school’s administration–torment that he resisted, ultimately successfully.
Finally, last month, a group of fascist Yale Law students successfully shouted down a Federalist Society program that featured a dialogue between a leftist and a representative of the Alliance Defending Freedom. The protest was rowdy enough that police were summoned to maintain order.
Now, more than 400 Yale Law students, representing over 60 percent of the student body, have signed a pathetically weak letter to the law school’s administration protesting the fact that law enforcement was called to keep the peace. The letter would be dumb if it came from a group of 7th graders. The fact that it comes from law students reflects the catastrophic decline of education in America.
The letter isn’t worth a lengthy deconstruction, but here are a few observations:
We write as a coalition of queer students and allies deeply concerned with the presence of armed police at a peaceful protest of law students on campus this past Thursday.
Right. 60 percent of the student body.
Understandably, a large swath of YLS students felt that FedSoc’s decision to lend legitimacy to this hate group by inviting its general counsel to speak at YLS profoundly undermined our community’s values of equity and inclusivity at a time when LGBTQ youth are actively under attack in Texas, Florida, and other states.
Not sure what is going on in Texas, but in Florida “LGBTQ youth are actively under attack” because teachers can’t talk about sex–any sex–in the classroom until the kids are 9 years old. Which any sane person would say is way too soon. This is the kind of “cause” that left-wing students gravitate toward nowadays. And in any event, inviting speakers you disagree with hardly undermines any community’s “values.” This is what, in the old days, was known as free speech.
Lawyers need to be good at evaluating evidence. These law students are terrible at it. For example:
It is important to recognize that, nationwide, LGBTQ people are six times more likely to be stopped by the police than non-LGBTQ people….
I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I would say that the gays I know are less likely than most to be stopped by the police. So what gives? The students’ “open letter” includes a link for this purported statistic that takes you to a publication by a gay-oriented group called the Williams Institute. So how did the Williams Institute conclude that gays are six times as likely to be stopped by police as non-gays? By comparing two completely different surveys. One was a survey of gays by a gay organization–“a national probability sample of LGBQ people (Generations study).” The other was a survey of all Americans: “We compare these findings to results from the Police-Public Contact Survey (PPCS)—a survey of the U.S. general population conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics.”
You don’t have to be an elite law student to understand that you can’t compare findings from two completely different surveys of two different populations, using completely different methodologies. But these Yale Law School students are babes in the woods, intellectually. I find this statement from the Williams Institute post they rely on to be risible:
Compared with the general population, almost six times as many LGBQ people were stopped by the police in a public space (6% vs. 1%)…
Really? How does that work? “Hey, partner, the woman driving that minivan at 50 mph in a 35 zone looks like a lesbian to me. Let’s pull her over.” How dumb can a law student be?
Pretty dumb. More from the open letter:
The safety of a large contingent of YLS students—a group of largely LGBTQ and BIPOC students—was put at risk, possibly by our own administration. The risk was not just hypothetical: one of the officers called into SLB went as far as to try to move a trans student by physically pushing against them [sic] with his much larger body, despite the fact that the student was standing where OSA representatives had asked them [sic] to stand.
The concept of “safety” has been distorted beyond all bounds by the Left. Generally it now means that leftists must be “safe” from learning that anyone disagrees with them. Here, “safety” means not being moved by a police officer when (s)he was disrupting a scheduled event.
More to the point, though, what is striking is the complete disassociation of these law students from the justice system. Lawyers–some of them, anyway–and police officers are part of a unified system that tries to maintain order and protect normal citizens from predators. But these law students don’t see it that way. They see police officers as alien beings who have no role in their weird universe.
This would not bode well if we assume, as many do, that these Yale Law School students are among America’s future leaders. I question that premise. These kids are not smart enough, nor do they have the requisite character, to lead anyone. And Yale Law School has always been an odd outlier. When I was a law student, the conventional wisdom was that Harvard Law School was where you wanted to go if you intended to be a lawyer. Yale was a much smaller law school, attended mostly by people who wanted a nice-sounding degree but didn’t actually want to practice law. Bill Clinton is a good example. Of course there are a few honorable exceptions; Glenn Reynolds stands out as a Yale Law School grad. But in general, Yale Law School grads have had little impact on the legal profession. My old law firm hired lots of Harvard grads, but only a handful of Yale students, if that.
The dim-witted kids who signed the open letter protesting the maintenance of order at YLS may think they are on top of the world, but most of them will need to earn a living before long. That may prove harder than they expect. DC Circuit Court Judge Laurence Silberman has called for his fellow Article III judges to consider denying clerkships to those who participated in the YLS protest, and Steve has documented the fact that Yale law grads are losing out, already, on federal judicial clerkships.
But the real action, of course, is in the law firms and in-house legal positions. I don’t think Yale grads have ever been highly valued among practicing lawyers, for the reason stated above. My old law firm hired lots of Harvard Law graduates, but only a handful, at most, of Yale grads. I think that is pretty typical. The current generation of low-standards, high-self image Yale Law students may be in for a rude awakening when they go out into the marketplace and try to earn a living. Because bullying doesn’t work well in a free market environment.