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Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) urged the Texas state bar to carefully consider the fitness of certain Stanford University law school graduates after a protest over a conservative judge’s speaking engagement on the campus.
Cruz in a letter to Texas officials said there is a “fundamental” question over whether the students who protested the appearance by Kyle Duncan, a circuit judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, are “fit to practice law” in Texas.
“The idea that these future lawyers would find it acceptable to harass and insult a sitting judge boggles the mind, and seriously calls into question whether these students have the proper respect for the role of a judge, or the temperament to practice law,” he said in a Thursday letter to Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht and Augustin Rivera, the chair of the Texas Board of Law Examiners.
“Indeed, these students’ tantrum raises a fair question as to whether they can be trusted to dispassionately defend clients that might have ideological opinions different from their own,” Cruz wrote.
Duncan has visited Stanford Law School to participate in an event called “The Fifth Circuit in Conversation with the Supreme Court: COVID, Guns, and Twitter.”
Cruz said Duncan did not have the opportunity to “meaningfully speak” as he was “shouted down” by Stanford students.
Stanford’s student newspaper, The Stanford Daily, reported that audience members protested Duncan’s appearance before and during his lecture. The paper reported that opponents protesting Duncan’s appearance put up fliers throughout the campus arguing that Duncan has pushed for laws that have harmed women, immigrants and LGBTQ individuals.
Cruz said the protesters continuously interrupted Duncan, called him racist and yelled “crude sexual slurs.”
The Stanford Daily reported that the law school’s dean denounced the protest in an email to the school community, saying that what happened did not align with the institution’s “commitment to free speech.”
“The school is reviewing what transpired and will work to ensure protocols are in place so that disruptions of this nature do not occur again, and is committed to the conduct of events on terms that are consistent with the disruption policy and the principles of free speech and critical inquiry they support,” Dean Jenny Martinez said.
Cruz said the Texas board should “take particular care” for students graduating from Stanford law school in 2023, 2024 and 2025. He said these students should be forced to state in writing if they participated in the protest, and the Texas Supreme Court and the board should decide what the “proper remedy” should be.
“Texans deserve only the finest advocates as their counsel, and those that engage in screaming and name-calling to make their case, are far from the finest,” he said.
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Cruz urges Texas bar for careful consideration of Stanford graduates following campus protests
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