The Volokh Conspiracy

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More Judicial Clerk Fallout from Campus Protests

Supporting Hamas butchery of Israeli civilians is beyond the pale


The extraordinary outpouring of support on American university campuses for the events of October 7th has, unsurprisingly, led to some backlash from alumni, donors, and future employers. Big donors to elite institutions are realizing that something has gone terribly wrong on college campuses and have reconsidered their support. Big law firms have questioned whether students involved in such political activities would be acceptable employees.

Judges are reassessing as well. Judge James Ho became the face of a threatened conservative judicial boycott of hiring Yale law students as clerks after some high-profile assaults on conservative student speech. Yale Law School took steps to try to improve the situation.

Judges are looking at student actions in the wake of October 7th and drawing a line in the sand  for those who would want to clerk for them. Judge Matthew Solomson said,

To me, it's a simple proposition that just like no judge would hire anyone who endorsed the KKK or the Nazis, anyone who endorses or approves or otherwise gives comfort to — in writing — Hamas, should not be hired.

Sarah Isgur reports on the Advisory Opinions podcast that Judge Lee Rudofsky has written to his own future clerks asking them to confirm that they have not condoned the October 7th massacre or engaged in acts of antisemitism or Islamophobia. He, quite appropriately, added that he had no problem with his future clerks holding or expressing a wide range of views about the Israeli-Palestinian situation and the current war, so long as they stopped short celebrating or advocating the targeting of civilians for abduction, torture, or death.

I would expect that other judges are contemplating similar steps in light of what we have seen over the past month.