by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Stanford Law School has tapped a student involved in the successful effort to shout down a federal judge to serve on a search committee for the law school’s next dean, raising questions about the school’s stated commitment to free speech.
The only student on the law school’s search committee, Matthew Coffin is the co-president of Stanford OutLaw, the LGBT student group that led efforts last March to disrupt a Federalist Society event featuring Fifth Circuit appellate judge Kyle Duncan. Along with nearly a dozen faculty members, Coffin will help identify candidates to replace former Stanford Law dean Jenny Martinez, who was named provost of the university in August.
It is not clear how Stanford chose the committee—the school did not respond to a request for comment—but its members were announced in an October 4 email to the school.
Students say Coffin’s appointment is a betrayal of the promise, made by Martinez in a 10-page memo about the Duncan brouhaha, that the law school would recommit itself to free expression. “It’s really disappointing and seemingly rewards the behavior that the law school rightly rebuked last year,” one Stanford Law student said. “It’s like the moment Dean Martinez got one foot out the door, Stanford stopped trying to hide its antipathy to the Federalist Society.”
The committee, which also includes the left-wing Pamela Karlan, who served as a Democratic impeachment witness against then-president Donald Trump, will present a list of candidates to Martinez and Richard Saller, the university’s interim president, who will then make a final decision about the next dean. Coffin and Martinez did not respond to requests for comment.
Coffin’s elevation comes as universities across the country are facing renewed scrutiny for their response to the October 7 Hamas terrorist attacks against Israel. …