Stanford Law School—EXPOSED


Stanford Law School—EXPOSED

Mar 31, 2023 6 min read
Hans A. von Spakovsky

Election Law Reform Initiative Manager, Senior Legal Fellow

Hans von Spakovsky is an authority on a wide range of issues—including civil rights, civil justice, the First Amendment, immigration.
Protesters rally ahead of former Vice President Mike Pence speaking at Stanford University on Thursday, Feb. 17, 2022, in Stanford, California. Santiago Mejia/The San Francisco Chronicle/Getty Images

Key Takeaways

It is no wonder that Stanford Law School is producing such boorish students, with no understanding of the First Amendment, when you examine the curriculum.

The false narrative running through the whole curriculum is obvious: that we are a systematically racist, gender-biased, environmentally poisonous society.

Clients may be better off hiring lawyers from a Southeastern Conference law school like the University of Tennessee or Alabama.

On March 20, my friend and former Justice Department colleague J. Christian Adams published the first article in our series of exposés, “Do They Teach Law?” We examine what’s actually being taught at the top 10 law schools, as ranked by U.S. News and World Report.

The Yale University Law School is ranked No. 1 in the nation. Yet, as Christian illustrated by describing its bizarre curriculum, Yale has become a training camp designed to produce social justice “warriors” who will push the radical Left’s legal and cultural agenda. So much for training aspiring lawyers to work objectively and competently on behalf of their clients—regardless of their clients’ political views.

Next up, number two: Stanford University’s School of Law.

Unfortunately, Stanford is no different. That should surprise no one, given the recent front page coverage of, as Christian succinctly put it, “rude, belligerent proto-totalitarian students shouting down” Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Kyle Duncan. Their noxious behavior came with the assistance and approval of Stanford’s associate dean for diversity, equity, and inclusion, Tirien Steinbach. And none of the other four Stanford administrators present intervened to stop the disruption, either.

Judge Duncan described how the students, ill-trained and ill-mannered future professionals in our legal system, “hurled abuse, including vile sexual inuendo; some filed past me spitting insults.” One of them expressed the hope that his “daughters get raped!” Clearly, the mindset of “tolerant” liberals was on full display.

>>> That Tantrum at Stanford Law School and What to Do About It

I could probably end this article right here because what more needs to be said about a law school that is attended by such vulgar, foul-mouthed students and has administrators such as Dean Steinbach who encourage chaos and astonishing disrespect for judges? 

To be fair, Steinbach has been placed on leave and law school Dean Jenny Martinez sent a letter to students telling them their disruption violated university policies and they will have to undergo a half day of “First Amendment training.” 

But will that be enough to convince those students that lawyers should be civil to each other and to judges? As Judge Duncan recently stated, an effective advocate must “understand your client’s position”—something that requires one “to listen sympathetically to the other side, so that you understand what the potential weaknesses of the position are.”

It is no wonder that Stanford Law School is producing such boorish students, with no understanding of the First Amendment, when you examine the curriculum of the law school. Its website says that it is “committed to enhancing its focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion” but it is obvious that “diversity” does not include diversity of thought or hearing from anyone who disagrees with the prevailing political orthodoxy of the law school. 

The so-called discussion courses required of first-year students read like something out of a Franz Kafka novel. For example, “In Search of Climate Justice (241P)” tells students that “our rapidly changing climate demands that we act quickly and robustly to decarbonize the economy.” But how do we implement a “just transition” that does not “exacerbate the inequities of the past” and “navigates the path forward to an ecologically sustainable future?” Is Stanford a law school training future lawyers who will represent a wide array of clients or the training facility for the Earth Liberation Front?

Another required course, “Race and Technology (240T),” teaches that technology is not race neutral, but “shaped by historical prejudices, biases, and inequalities” and thus is “no less biased and racist than the underlying society in which they exist.” Who knew that the development of the ubiquitous mobile phone was racist? Or that facial recognition systems used to identify criminals—regardless of their race—need to be examined within a “framework” that recognizes their “explicit and subtle anti-black and other biases”?

How about this one: “Rationalism, Contrarianism, and Bayesian Thinking in Politics.” This mandatory 1L course plunges headlong into emerging California philosophies rather than teaching law. It examines how the Bay Area “spawned” a “movement of thinkers obsessed with cognitive biases and ‘Bayesian reasoning.’” It analyzes the “rationalist movement” and “effective altruism,” as well as the movement’s fear of “AI Armageddon, polyamory, and group living.” It even examines how “polyamory” can play an important role among these new thinkers. Not taught: anything that would help a Stanford student pass the bar exam, much less practice law.

If a student doesn’t have enough personal time for Netflix entertainment, fear not. All first-year students are required to take “Representations of Criminal Lawyers in Popular Culture Through the Lens of Bias.” There a student will learn how our society’s “biases against women, people of color and the poor are amplified on the big screen.” 

Students who want to make sure that they are wearing the right type of black clothing and masks when they line the halls to protest the apology letter of Dean Martinez or future speakers whom they wish to heckle can  take another “law” class, “Dress Codes: Race, Identity and Personal Appearance (240F).”  No mention of simply watching the movie “Legally Blonde” as a substitute for class credit to learn how to dress for success as a lawyer. 

I have to wonder—did all of the students who participated in the mob event against Judge Duncan get a failing grade in “The State of Democratic Discourse (241J)?” The course is “devoted to candid discussion about the current state of public discourse both nationally and in universities, focusing especially on misinformation and intimidation.” No doubt they all got top grades in “Violence, Resistance, and the Law (240Y),” which teaches the ways the law “suppresses and invites resistance” and identifies the “subjects against whom legal violence is deployed.” 

>>> The University of Michigan Is in a DEI Mess. Frederick Douglass Could Help Them Out of It

The false narrative running through the whole curriculum is obvious: that we are a systematically racist, gender-biased, environmentally poisonous society and culture, whose legal system perpetuates injustice that Stanford Law grads must address on their way toward ushering in a socialist utopia.

According to the law school’s own calculation, tuition, living, and all other costs for this sort of education will total $105,000 a year. So, either someone’s parents will be paying or a law student will be going into horrendous debt in the staggering amount of $315,000 to attend a school that will teach those students to be the best Marxist agitators that money can buy. 

As for whether Stanford Law School grads will actually be able to conduct unbiased, objective legal research, draft a complaint or the many other pleadings involved in litigation, comply with the rules of civil and criminal procedure, and act professionally, ethically, and civilly… that’s another matter entirely. 

Given the very public misconduct of its students, it’s a very doubtful one. 

As Christian Adams noted in his article about Yale, clients may be better off hiring lawyers from a Southeastern Conference law school like the University of Tennessee or Alabama. Those students will certainly be paying a lot less and are far more likely to have learned how to be competent lawyers instead of emerging as the brainwashed graduates of a California reeducation camp that would make Joseph Stalin and Chairman Mao proud.

This piece originally appeared in PJ Media