Stanford Federalist Society Tries To 'Cancel' Law Student For Satirical Email About Josh Hawley
from the free-speech-except-when-our-feels-are-hurt dept
Update: Perhaps due to all of the negative publicity this received, Stanford agreed to drop the investigation, and allow Wallace to go on with graduating. The original story remains below.
Ah, the Federalist Society. It makes a big deal about how “cancel culture” is supposedly a “threat to liberty” but apparently that doesn’t apply when someone makes fun of them. Nicholas Wallace is a 3rd year law student at Stanford Law, and a few weeks after the January 6th insurrection at the Capitol, Wallace decided to highlight that some prominent FedSoc members who were seen to have cheered on the riot at the Capitol. So he created an obviously satirical email mocking the Federalist Society and the types of events it normally holds and sent it to a Stanford Law listserv. In this case, Wallace made an invite for a fake FedSoc event, parodying standard FedSoc events, entitled: “The Originalist Case for Inciting Insurrection” and claimed that the main speakers at the event would be insurrectionist fist bumper Senator Josh Hawley and still under indictment for felony fraud Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton.
The invite goes on to note:
Violent insurrection, also known as doing a coup, is a classical system of installing a government. Although widely believed to conflict in every way with the rule of law, violent insurrection can be an effective approach to upholding the principle of limited government. Senator Hawley will argue that the ends justify the means. Attorney General Paxton will explain that when the Supreme Court refuses to exercise its Article III authority to overturn the results of a free and fair election, calling on a violent mob to storm the Capitol represents an appropriate alternative remedy.
I mean, it may not be the funniest bit of satire ever, but it’s pretty clearly satire. But the good old Stanford chapter of the Federalist Society completely flipped out about it. The organization filed an actual complaint with Stanford Law. The complaint itself speaks extremely poorly to whatever it is they’re teaching future lawyers at Stanford Law these days.
On January 25, 2021, at 8:38 a.m., Nicholas Wallace sent an email to Stanford Law School?s ?Law Talk? email list-serv, where he impersonated the Stanford Federalist Society, a student group, through a false event flyer and attributed false and defamatory beliefs to persons he listed on the event flyer.
Do they not teach Stanford Law students how defamation works these days? Do they not teach what satire is? Or how the 1st Amendment works? I mean, you can just hear the whiny petulance of students who feel they should never ever be mocked.
Wallace defamed the student group, its officers, Senator Josh Hawley, and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Wallace, impersonating the Stanford Federalist Society, wrote on the flyer that ?Riot information will be emailed the morning of the event,? insinuating that the student group was encouraging and hosting a riot. He also wrote that Attorney General Paxton advocates for ?overturn[ing] the results of a free and fair election? by ?calling on a violent mob to storm the Capitol.? And he wrote that Senator Hawley believes that violent insurrections are justified.
That’s not how defamation works, guys. The complaint whines that many people believed the event was real, which seems to say a hell of a lot more about the kinds of events the Federalist Society normally puts on, than on anything Wallace did.
However, in the last few weeks, Stanford Law school has somehow decided to treat this obviously bad faith whining about an obvious satire as a legitimate complaint and has put Wallace’s graduation in doubt, just to appease the censorial crybabies of the Stanford Federalist Society:
After the Federalist Society officer confirmed to Stanford administrators on May 22 that he wanted to proceed with his complaint, Stanford initiated an investigation into Wallace and put a hold on his diploma two weeks before his law school graduation. If the hold is not released, Wallace will not receive his degree as planned on June 12.
?The timing of all of this could not be worse,? said Wallace. ?Instead of focusing on my finals and celebrating graduation with my classmates, I am navigating a confusing judicial process and trying to convince Stanford to lift the hold on my degree.?
As the link above notes, the organization FIRE, which protects free speech on campus, is calling on Stanford to drop this silly investigation, let Wallace graduate, and not to give in to this obviously bad faith attempt to punish someone for some light mockery.