Fifth Circuit Judge James Ho has a modest proposal to resist the cancel culture of legal education. Commencing with next year’s incoming class at Yale Law School, he is adopting a Yale boycott. He declines to hire YLS graduates as law clerks. I drew on the text of his keynote speech to the Federalist Society Kentucky Chapters Conference to flesh it out here. Toward the end of his talk Judge Ho addressed his focus on Yale:
[W]hy Yale? And why only Yale?
Simple: Yale presents itself as the best, most elite institution of legal education. Yet it’s the worst when it comes to legal cancellation. As one of its own professors admits, it’s in “crisis.”
Moreover, Yale sets the tone for other law schools, and for the legal profession at large.
I certainly reserve the right to add other schools in the future. But my sincere hope is that I won’t have to. My sincere hope is that, if nothing else, my colleagues and I will at least send the message that other schools should not follow in Yale’s footsteps.
Digging around in the aftermath of Judge Ho’s talk, the Washington Free Beacon’s Aaron Sibarium found 12 federal judges saying they are no longer hiring clerks from Yale.
The idea here is to deter the top-flight students whom Yale covets from attending the law school. I would guess that Yale feels the heat and is pushing back behind the scenes among its sympathetic media friends. For public purposes, however, Sibarium relates: “A spokeswoman for the law school did not respond to a request for comment.”
Sibarium also found one prominent court of appeals judge who is on the fence. However, he gave Sibarium this quotable quote:
…he was “torn” on whether to participate in the boycott, but that the case for it had “gotten stronger” over the past year. “I’ve hired a bunch of great Yale Law clerks,” the judge said. But “at some point, the institution becomes so worthless and degenerate that you wonder what conservative would want to be a part of it.”
The Free Beacon endorses Judge Ho’s modest proposal in the excellent editorial “A boycott we can get behind.”