Mar 27 • 1HR 0M

David Sacks and Spencer Segal – Free Speech and Protest at Stanford Law

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Glenn Loury
Weekly conversations on race, inequality, and more, with Glenn Loury. Bi-weekly appearances by John McWhorter.
Episode details

Earlier this month, Fifth Circuit Judge Kyle Duncan, a religious conservative appointed to the court by Donald Trump, went to Stanford Law School to deliver a speech at the invitation of the school’s student Federalist Society chapter. But when he actually attempted to speak, he was met by disruptions from student protestors who attempted shout him down and interrupt him. After he spoke (or attempted to speak), Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Tirien Steinbach stepped up to, in effect, endorse many of the objections of the protestors. When Stanford Law School President Jenny Martinez released a statement condemning the protestors’ methods and apologizing to Judge Duncan, she was met with another round of protests.

My guests this week, David Sacks and Spencer Segal, are Stanford Law students and Federalist Society members who witnessed the event and its aftermath. I invited them on the show to get their view on what looks to me like yet another instance of student protest squelching free speech on campus. In this episode, they offer their account of what happened and an eminently reasonable defense of free speech on campus, which, as they emphasize, includes the right to protest. But they also emphasize that protest does not include the right to prevent others from speaking. Support for free speech is waning in the very quarters where it should be most vociferously defended: law schools whose students will one day be responsible for upholding and interpreting the constitution. Free speech is not, however, without its defenders, and I’m proud to have two of them on the show with me.

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0:00 The disruption of Judge Kyle Duncan’s speech at Stanford Law School

9:33 Why did people have a problem with Duncan?

13:51 Will the current Supreme Court overturn Obergefell v. Hodges

16:37 The necessity of free inquiry and reasoned discourse

26:44 What it’s like being a FedSoc conservative at Stanford Law

34:30 The fallout from the Duncan protests

41:30 The vulgarity of the insults hurled at Duncan

50:00 The role of conservatives at Stanford

Recorded March 26, 2022

Links and Readings

Video of Stanford Law School Associate Dean Tirien Steinbach responding to Judge Duncan

Stanford Law School Dean Jenny Martinez’s letter about the Duncan event

John Stuart Mill’s book, On Liberty