Free speech is under fire in America again after a federal judge was shouted down and heckled during his speech at Stanford Law School.
U.S. Federal Circuit Court Judge Kyle Duncan was invited to speak at the university about COVID, Twitter and Guns – instead, he described the free-for-all that ensued as a "bizarre therapy session from hell."
LISTEN as Students Scream Non-Stop to Shout Down Duncan:
"So, you've invited me to speak here and I'm getting heckled non-stop," said Judge Duncan. "And I'm just asking for an administrator."
One of more surprising moments came as the law school's Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion, Tirien Steinbach, joined in with her own condescending rebuke of the judge. Steinbach had prepared a roughly 6-minute speech in opposition of the Judge's appearance at the university, before turning over the lectern to Duncan.
"Your advocacy and opinions from the bench land as absolute disenfranchisement of their rights," Steinbach said.
The judge and others have called for the associate dean's removal. That hasn't happened, but the law school's dean and the university president did apologize for the incident – which led to another student protest, this time inside the law dean's classroom. Their message: "Counter-speech is free speech."
Alex Morey with Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression calls the incident concerning and worries about the future of free speech in America.
"Of course, protestors are always able to peacefully protest other places on campus – but when you are at a speaking event, it's effectively a closed forum," Morey said. "You cannot be shouting someone down and just saying, as the protestors here are doing, that it's 'counter speech.' It's censorship."
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Prior to the judge's appearance, Steinbach sent an email to Stanford students attacking Duncan, stating in-part: "As an attorney and judge, (he) has 'Repeatedly and proudly threatened healthcare and basic rights for marginalized communities, including LGBTQ+ people, Native Americans, immigrants, prisoners, Black voters, and women,' and his presence on campus represents a significant hit to their sense of belonging."
However, this threat to free speech on college campuses is not an isolated event. Last March, future attorneys at Yale disrupted a panel that ironically was discussing a case on free speech – shouting down Alliance Defending Freedom's CEO, Kristen Waggoner.
"They were pounding on the walls, blocking the exit, and disrupting the event throughout," said Waggoner on Fox News. "It was very unfortunate, alarming, and volatile."
Alex Morey told CBN News free speech is not a right-wing or leftist value, rather it's a tool that belongs to everyone, one we can use to work together and see the changes that we want to see in society.
"We want people to understand that free speech is something that can work for them, whatever their values are," Morey said. "My specialty on college campuses, we are working hard to get students on college campuses – some of them are future leaders, and we want them to bring those values into society when they graduate."
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