Stanford Disputors May Be Denied Admission To Bar In CA And TX

Published on

Stanford Disputors May Be Denied Admission to Bar in CA and TX; Law School Dean Warned of Complaints to Bar Admission Authorities

Stanford Disputors May Encounter Problems In Seeking Admission To The Bar

WASHINGTON D.C. (March 21, 2023) – Law students at Stanford who deliberately prevented a federal judge appearing as a guest lecturer from speaking may encounter delays and problems in seeking admission to the bar, and might even not be able to practice as attorneys, because of their blatant and open defiance of the school’s policies guaranteeing freedom of speech and academic freedom on campus.

Get Our Activist Investing Case Study!

Get The Full Activist Investing Study In PDF

Q4 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more


While some commentators have urged the school to report the conduct of the disruptive students to bar admission authorities so that the officials could determine during the lengthy review process whether or not each student has the character and fitness required of an attorney, and some schools have in fact done so, it appears that Stanford will not make such reports in this situation.

Regarding the process, as the USF School of Law warns its students: "A positive moral character determination is a prerequisite to being admitted to the bar and practicing law in California. The filing of the moral character application begins the process of character investigation which generally takes four to six months to complete, but could possibly take longer."

Because it appears that Stanford will not report or otherwise discipline its own disruptive students, public interest law professor John Banzhaf has put Dean Jenny Martinez on notice that he is planning to advise bar admission authorities of the conduct of the disruptive students, and provide them with video recordings of the disruptions so that the officials can judge this conduct for themselves.

California bar authorities have indicated that they will thoroughly investigate any incident which might reflect on the applicant's "respect for the rights of others and for the judicial process."

One would assume that violating the school's own free speech rules to deliberately disrupt federal judge Kyle Duncan from speaking clearly indicates little respect for the rights of the federal judge to speak, and for interested students to hear him speak. Since he was hoping to discuss the judicial process, such conduct also shows a clear and blatant disregard for that very judicial process, argues Banzhaf.

More precisely, here is how the Bar describes its admission process: "When considering whether an applicant has the good moral character required for admission to practice law in California.

The State Bar evaluates whether the applicant possesses the qualities of honesty, fairness, candor, trustworthiness, observance of fiduciary responsibility, respect for and obedience to the law, and respect for the rights of others and for the judicial process by reviewing past conduct, including: The severity of the issue, length of time since the incident, and the frequency with which an act occurred are all factors that will be taken into consideration."

Banzhaf has filed many successful complaints, including those leading to the ban on cigarette commercials, the current criminal investigation of Trump in Georgia, the House’s reprimand of Barney Frank, the discontinuance of wrongful police prosecutions in Baltimore, a $12 million settlement by McDonald’s, the $300 million settlement which established FAMRI, and more.

He believes that filing legal complaints where justified is an important role which law professors can fill since they do not suffer the worry and concern about offending current clients, and the possibility of discouraging potential clients, by engaging in controversial legal actions which often deters attorneys in private practice.

In a related development, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz told the Texas state bar that there is a "fundamental question" as to whether the protesting students are "fit to practice law," and urged special scrutiny of their applications.

He said the Texas board should "take particular care" for students graduating from Stanford Law School during the next three years, and require them to state in writing - presumably subject to penalties for lying - if they participated in the disruption.

As the senator explained, “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.”

Below is a copy of the letter Prof Banzhaf sent to put Stanford put it on notice of his plan to file complaints with bar admission authorities:

Professor Jenny Martinez

Dean of the Stanford Law School

RE: Complaint to Bar Admission Authorities Regarding Incident With Judge Duncan

I am writing to advise you that I plan to file formal complaints with bar admission authorities opposing the admission of students identified as violating the free speech rights of Judge Duncan and their own fellow students. The complaint will have links to video recordings of the disruption so that bar officials can judge the students’ conduct for themselves.

As you have conceded, the students’ conduct "was inconsistent with our policies on free speech," and "not aligned with our institutional commitment to freedom of speech."

Indeed, the students’ conduct very clearly violated Stanford's official written policy which unequivocally states that "It is a violation of University policy for a member of the faculty, staff, or student body to: Prevent or disrupt the effective carrying out of a University function or approved activity, such as lectures, meetings, interviews, ceremonies, the conduct of University business in a University office, and public events."

I take this action for the reasons stated on the next page because it appears that you have not taken any steps to discipline or otherwise sanction the student violators, nor have you “taking steps to ensure that something like this does not happen again.”

You should know that my prior complaints have led to the ban on cigarette commercials, the current criminal investigation of Trump in Georgia, the House’s reprimand of Barney Frank, the discontinuance of wrongful police prosecutions in Baltimore, a $12 million settlement by McDonald’s, the $300 million settlement which established FAMRI, and more.

Indeed, I’ve been called "a Driving Force Behind the Lawsuits That Have Cost Tobacco Companies Billions of Dollars," and "The Law Professor Who Masterminded Litigation Against the Tobacco Industry," among others.

I look forward to learning through the media of steps you will be taking in response to this incident with the judge, and to “ensure that something like this does not happen again.”

CC: Judge Duncan, President Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Senator Ted Cruz,

Stanford Law School Federalist Society, Stanford Law School National Lawyers Guild

Yours truly,


John F. Banzhaf III

Professor of Public Interest Law Separating the Juice From the Pulp At Stanford * * * How should SLS squeeze out students who violated the code of conduct?

- Reason

The first step would be to identify the students who violated the code of conduct.

The joint statement from the President and the Dean seems to suggest that at least some students crossed the line. The event was recorded from multiple camera angles. It would not require Zapruder-level scrutiny to figure out who was at fault.

After the relevant students are identified, Stanford would have several options.

The college could convey a message to the character & fitness review board of the relevant state.

Now, in California, asking Judge Duncan about the female anatomy may warrant some sort of special commendation from the health law section of the state bar.

But for other, more sane jurisdictions, this sort of conduct should have repercussions.

Stop the Chaos: Law Schools Need to Crack Down on Student Disrupters Now

- National Review

Fortunately, this problem may be surprisingly easy to solve.

Most universities already have rules in place ensuring freedom of speech and prohibiting campus disruptions.

The problem is that the rules aren’t enforced. Law schools know what their options are.

They know they can suspend or expel students for engaging in disruptive tactics, or threaten to report negatively on a student’s character and fitness to state bar examiners.


They know this because schools have done it.

And if schools are unwilling to impose consequences themselves, at a minimum they should identify the disrupters so that future employers know who they are hiring.

Schools issue grades and graduation honors to help employers separate wheat from chaff.

Likewise, schools should inform employers if they’re injecting potentially disruptive forces into their organizations.

At the end of the day, that may be the only way to send a message that will resonate with law schools — judges and other employers imposing consequences on law schools who refuse to impose consequences on their own.

Also see: A Remedy for Stanford Law School’s Free Speech Thugs; Complaints to Bar Admission Authorities About Student Disruptors

US Judge Warns Rule of Law on Track for 'Barbarism' After Stanford Dean Supports Heckling Tantrum 'from Hell'

- CBN News

The judge also noted the Stanford administrators' promise to make sure this doesn't happen to another guest speaker.

"Given the disturbing nature of what happened, clearly concrete and comprehensive steps are necessary.

I look forward to learning what measures Stanford plans to take to restore a culture of intellectual freedom," he said.