Passing the bar in Texas could become that much more difficult for the Stanford Law School students who shouted down a conservative federal judge.
Two days after calling for Stanford officials to discipline the students, Sen. Ted Cruz urged the Texas bar association to require applicants who graduated from Stanford from 2023-25 to answer in writing “whether they participated in the shameful harassment of Judge Duncan on March 9, 2023.”
“I would leave it to the considered judgment of the Texas Supreme Court and the Texas Board of Bar Examiners what the proper remedy should be — a remedial training course, a letter of apology, or the like — for those that respond in the affirmative,” said the Texas Republican in a Thursday letter.
U.S. District Judge Kyle Duncan was unable to deliver his remarks at the campus event hosted by the Stanford Federalist Society after it was overrun by dozens of student protesters who interrupted and heckled him as he tried to speak. He ultimately left, escorted by federal marshals.
Mr. Cruz, a Harvard Law School graduate, asked in his letter “whether these students are fit to practice law in the State of 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,” said the senator. “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.”
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Stanford President Marc Tessier-Lavigne and Stanford Law School Dean Jenny Martinez apologized in a Friday letter to Judge Duncan, saying they were “taking steps to ensure that something like this does not happen again,” although they have not said whether the students will be disciplined.
The senator’s letter comes with conservative judges and lawyers increasingly pushing back on law schools and students that censor speech based on viewpoint disagreements. Several federal judges have said they will no longer accept clerks from Yale Law School over free-speech issues.
Mr. Cruz said those seeking to join the Texas bar “should likewise be respectful of their fellow legal practitioners and the opinions they hold; ideological differences are neither repugnant nor dangerous and should not be treated as such.”
“For the above reasons, I ask you that, in discharging your duties in assessing the character and fitness of new members of the bar, that you exercise particular care and caution in regard to those that engaged in the harassment of Judge Duncan,” said Mr. Cruz. “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.”
The senator previously called for the school to discipline the students as well as fire Tieren Steinbach, the associate dean of diversity, equity and inclusion, who intervened by telling Judge Duncan he was welcome but then urged him to forgo giving his remarks.