Communist Front Group Organized Shout-Down of Conservative Judge at Stanford

Mary Altaffer

The main organizers of the Stanford shout-down of the conservative judge Stuart Kyle Duncan last week were associated with the National Lawyers Guild, a Communist front group with its roots in the 1930s radical left.


Alan Dershowitz gives a brief history of the NLG and how they have been trying to stifle conservative viewpoints at university law schools. They have chapters at more than 100 schools, and their plans to disrupt the speech of conservatives have only just started.

According to Dershowitz, the NLG tries to create the impression that the shout-downs are spontaneous expressions of anger. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here’s the attempt to silence Judge Duncan, and you might note how some in the audience were doing their best to goad Duncan to make intemperate remarks.

Dershowitz points out that getting schools to not invite conservative speakers because of the outbursts they deliberately incite is their goal.

Demonstrations and protests are protected by the First Amendment and by the principles of free speech. Preventing speakers from addressing willing listeners is not. Nor is harassing students who invite conservative speakers, as the National Lawyers Guild has done. They violate not only the rights of the speakers they disrupt, but also of those students who came to hear them. As the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall observed: “The freedom to speak and the freedom to hear are inseparable; they are two sides of the same coin.” These disrupters violated both rights.

Thus far disruptions have occurred at Yale, Stanford and Georgetown law schools. But you can be sure that they are coming to a law school near you. The NLG will not be satisfied until no conservative speaker is allowed to speak at any law school. That is its objective, and it may well succeed, because cowardly administrators — especially deans of diversity, in order to avoid the embarrassment of what happened at Stanford, Yale and Georgetown — will try to make sure that conservative speakers are not invited. They understand that it is much harder to object to the less visible non-invitation of conservative speakers than to publicly disrupting them.


And Dershowitz himself weighs in on the freedom to speak and the inevitable consequences of giving the government the power to censor.

Many decent people question whether hateful, offensive and even speech deemed “dangerous” by some, should be protected. The answer resides in history. Whenever governments are empowered to ban such expression, they use that power expansively, to censor speech critical of their leaders or partisans. The appetite of the censor is voracious. What are seen as legitimate opinions by dissenters are deemed by others — especially those in power — as hateful, offensive or dangerous. Freedom of speech for all is anything but free. It can be hurtful and risky. But in the end, it is worth the costs.

Give the government an inch, and they take a moonshot. That should be a lesson drummed into students of all ages, all the time.

It’s clear from reading the Federalist Papers that the founders felt the same way. They had seen during the Revolution how easy it was to lose the right to speak, to write, to worship. It’s no accident that the Bill of Rights had to be approved before the Constitution was ratified.

How did we lose that reverence for our most fundamental rights?


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