Federal Judge Blames Universities for Ideals ‘Antithetical to America’
A federal judge is slamming elite colleges and universities as a threat to American principles. In an interview with the Washington Examiner published on Friday, U.S. Circuit Court judge James Ho faulted colleges and universities for allowing and promoting ideals that are “antithetical to America.”
The Trump-appointed judge has staunchly refused to hire law clerks from the law schools at Yale and Stanford, citing the weaponization of on-campus cancel culture against conservative guests and speakers. Ho said, “I’m not interested in hiring from schools that indoctrinate rather than educate. Students need to be aware of the kinds of schools they’re considering. Judges look to law schools to train lawyers, not activists.” He further explained:
“The real problem with the academy is not disruption but discrimination. Rampant discrimination against mainstream views held by millions of Americans but disfavored by the cultural elites who control the national discourse. … The intolerance we’re seeing on campus is antithetical to America, and it’s especially antithetical to the academy. They need to put an end not only to the disruption but also to the discrimination. Otherwise, I have no choice but to change how I hire.”
Ho spoke at the Heritage Foundation’s 16th Joseph Story Distinguished Lecture on Wednesday evening, addressing issues of free speech and encouraging conservative jurists and lawyers to hold to their principles. Ho said that too many judges in the U.S. are “gold star” judges seeking popularity or “fair weather originalists” who uphold conservative principles in court unless doing so becomes unpopular. Ho stated, “If your whole life’s purpose is to wear black robes, then maybe you shouldn’t. … No one forced you to become a judge. You agreed to become a judge. Some people even lobby and campaign for it. And you can quit anytime you want.” He added, “If you’re an originalist only when elites won’t be upset with you, if you’re an originalist only when it’s easy, that’s not principled judging.”
Ho related a conversation he had once with Eugene Scalia, a fellow lawyer and the son of conservative U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. The two were attending a party hosted by a law firm and discussing how some lawyers weren’t invited to special events due to media coverage of their unpopular arguments in court. The younger Scalia asked Ho if he was enjoying the party. When he said yes, Scalia asked, “Do you want to be invited back?” Ho said that exchange always “stuck with” him.
The judge drew a parallel between cancel culture in the legal field and cancel culture on college campuses, quipping, “Speech is violence — unless it’s speech that cultural elites like.” He expounded, “Expressing religious viewpoints gets you vilified. But claiming a right to eliminate a religious group gets you the benefit of the doubt,” referring to pro-Hamas and anti-Israel rallies and incidents spreading across universities all over the U.S. He continued, “Voicing traditional values makes people feel unsafe. But supporting terrorism against innocent civilians doesn’t.”
In comments to The Washington Stand, Meg Kilgannon, senior fellow for Education Studies at Family Research Council, agreed with Ho, noting, “The supposedly elite universities in the U.S. have been captured by the Left. Evolutionary theory is for practical purposes an established Law of Science. Intellectual elites in universities were among the first to support communism and Marxist thought in the U.S. Universities theorized and still support eugenics. Many if not all of the Ivy League colleges are populated with students who support anti-Semitism and endorse terrorism to end Israel. All of these errors are only possible when Christians abandon or are driven out of the faculty and administration of these places, or when Christians are too timid to speak up in defense of Christ and biblical truths.”
She added, “This is why consequences like Judge Ho’s refusal to hire clerks from certain law schools are important and powerful. It is only when the credentialling process for the elite is interrupted that we can begin to address this situation with our own ‘long march’ through the institutions.”
Ho and fellow Circuit Court judge Elizabeth Branch announced in April that they would be boycotting hiring law clerks from Stanford after students at the school protested a speech delivered by conservative Circuit Court judge Stuart Kyle Duncan. The protests singled out Duncan’s stances on LGBT issues and abortion, with protestors using slogans like, “Respect trans rights” and “We hope your daughters get raped.” Faculty and administrators stood by and watched.
Ho reported that law students at Stanford and Yale have asked him not to end his boycott, telling him it’s bringing about “genuine change” as far as how conservatives are treated on campus.
S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.