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an endless succession of beans and nuts.

Judge Duncan's Wall Street Journal column: "My Struggle Session at Stanford Law School."

Stanford Law School’s website touts its “collegial culture” in which “collaboration and the open exchange of ideas are essential to life and learning.” Then there’s the culture I experienced when I visited Stanford last week.... 
When I arrived, the walls were festooned with posters denouncing me for crimes against women, gays, blacks and “trans people.” Plastered everywhere were photos of the students who had invited me and fliers declaring “You should be ASHAMED,” with the last word in large red capital letters and a horror-movie font. This didn’t seem “collegial.” Walking to the building where I would deliver my talk, I could hear loud chanting a good 50 yards away, reminiscent of a tent revival in its intensity. Some 100 students were massed outside the classroom as I entered, faces painted every color of the rainbow, waving signs and banners, jeering and stamping and howling.  As I entered the classroom, one protester screamed: “We hope your daughters get raped!”

It was a big protest, generated by the real human beings the law school had assembled as its student body, not propaganda on the institution's website. It's real life, like the life experienced beyond the courthouse and beyond the law school, and it's not that polite. You know, it's also not polite to put "trans people" in quotation marks. It's a more polished form of incivility, but law students have long protested about the way law dresses up and glosses over injustice.

Of course, “We hope your daughters get raped!” is crude and ugly, but the right to defend one's own body has been taken away by the judges, and now, in America, a woman who has been raped may be forced to endure a pregnancy from that rape. In that context, “We hope your daughters get raped!” means: You might feel some empathy for us if it happened to someone close to you.

I had been warned a few days before about a possible protest. But Stanford administrators assured me they were “on top of it,” that Stanford’s policies permitted “protest but not disruption.” They weren’t “on top of it.”

Yes. The school failed him. Not only did the website promise collegiality, administrators, it seems, directly promised conditions that he relied on. You could parse their promise. What does it mean to be "on top of it"? What is "it"? They didn't say they would stop the protest. The students had a right to protest. The line was drawn at disruption, and where's the line between protest and disruption? Can we have a collegial debate about that? I'll bet we can't!

Before my talk started, the mob flooded the room. Banners unfurled. Signs brandished: “FED SUCK,” “Trans Lives Matter” (this one upside down), and others that can’t be quoted in a family newspaper. A nervous dog—literally, a canine—was in the front row, fur striped with paint....

Speaking of empathy... don't bring a dog into a noisy, chaotic scene. And don't paint your dog. I wonder what size and breed. It is dangerous to everyone to have a "nervous dog" in a place like that, and it's cruel to the dog.

When the Federalist Society president tried to introduce me, the heckling began.... Try delivering a speech while being jeered at every third word. This was an utter farce, a staged public shaming. I stopped, pleaded with the students to stop the stream of insults (which only made them louder), and asked if administrators were present. Enter Tirien Steinbach, associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion. 
Ms. Steinbach and (I later learned) other administrators were watching from the periphery. She hadn’t introduced herself to me. She asked to address the students. Something felt off. I asked her to tell the students their infantile behavior was inappropriate.

One could hardly expect the dean for diversity, equity and inclusion to take the judge's instruction and call the students babies. She had a lot of interests to mediate and an important, ongoing relationship with the students. 

She insisted she wanted to talk to all of us. Students began screaming, and I reluctantly gave way. Whereupon Ms. Steinbach opened a folio, took out a printed sheaf of papers, and delivered a six-minute speech addressing the question: “Is the juice worth the squeeze?” What could that mean?

It's impossible for Wall Street Journal readers to guess what that could mean. It's out of context. Metaphors look weird when you don't know what they refer to. Clearly, it's questioning whether some effort is worth what you get from it. It's not that weird.

While the students rhythmically snapped, Ms. Steinbach attempted to explain. My “work,” she said, “has caused harm.” It “feels abhorrent” and “literally denies the humanity of people.” My presence put Ms. Steinbach in a tough spot, she said, because her job “is to create a space of belonging for all people” at Stanford. She assured me I was “absolutely welcome in this space” because “me and many people in this administration do absolutely believe in free speech.” 
I didn’t feel welcome—who would? And she repeated the cryptic question: “Is the juice worth the squeeze?”

It's not that hard to understand, and you've deprived readers of the context. Steinbach's remarks made sense and dealt with the relationship between the speaker and the protesters that she needed to manage. She told him he was "absolutely welcome in this space," but he wants us to care about his feelings — he didn't feel welcome — but the students had their feelings too. Steinbach stood in a crossfire of feelings, and she did well enough.

I asked again what she meant, and she finally put the question plainly: Was my talk “worth the pain that this causes and the division that this causes?” 
Again she asserted her belief in free speech before equivocating: “I understand why people feel like the harm is so great that we might need to reconsider those policies, and luckily, they’re in a school where they can learn the advocacy skills to advocate for those changes.”

That is, Steinbach acknowledged that there are different legal positions that are taken about free speech and this, too, is a subject for debate in law school. That is certainly true. Free speech rights could be lost if people don't believe in their value. It's not that difficult to articulate the arguments for limitations on free speech. Those of us who care about free speech rights need to be vigilant. They've been under attack for centuries, and they are under attack right now, from people, like those students, who would characterize some spoken words as a physical injury.

Then she turned the floor back over to me, while hoping I could “learn too” and “listen through your partisan lens, the hyperpolitical lens.”

That sentence needs editing to put "hoping" closer to "she," but you can figure it out. She told him that she hoped he could not just talk to the students and teach them but listen to them and learn from them. She accused him of being political — hyperpolitical

In closing, she said: “I look out and I don’t ask, ‘What’s going on here?’ I look out and I say, ‘I’m glad this is going on here.’ ”

She was suggesting that protesting be seen in a positive light. Perhaps somehow the judge could have taken a lighthearted tone — I love protests! I was a student protester myself and I know how it feels to be righteously angry, etc. etc. — and connected it back to the things he came prepared to say. There was a path in that direction, but it was a road not taken.

This is on video, and the entire event is on audio, in case you’re wondering....

I've heard the audio. The judge becomes impassioned, and he expresses a good amount of hostility toward the students. As a law professor (retired), I can't imagine openly expressing hostility toward students who were aiming hostility at me. I lock into professor mode, mostly because I believe I have a duty to care for the students but also because I think a dispassionate, professional demeanor is more effective — especially when your interlocutors are highly emotional. Set the right example, and maybe they will meet you where you can coexist in something approaching conversation. 

Two days later, Jenny Martinez and Marc Tessier-Lavinge, respectively the law school’s dean and the university’s president, formally apologized, confirming that protesters and administrators had violated Stanford policy. I’m grateful and I accepted. 
The matter hasn’t dropped, though. This week, nearly one-third of Stanford law students continued the protest—donning masks, wearing black, and forming a “human corridor” inside the school... protesting Ms. Martinez for having apologized to me....

I don't think it was right to apologize for what Steinbach did. And I think the students had the right to protest. If they crossed the line into disruption, Martinez (and Tessier-Lavinge) should specify exactly where that happened. And they ought to apologize for the institution's failure to do enough to prevent the disruption or to deal with it quickly. 

The protesters showed not the foggiest grasp of the basic concepts of legal discourse: That one must meet reason with reason, not power. That jeering contempt is the opposite of persuasion.

I don't think the students needed to limit themselves to "legal discourse." This wasn't the courtroom or the classroom. They were protesting, going outside of the "legal discourse" that the judge would have preferred. Protesting is an old tradition, and it's important, though sometimes rude and ugly. The students seem to have thought — with some reason — that judges like Duncan deserve to be made to feel ashamed of themselves and they went into the familiar theatrical protest style we Americans have loved and hated for so many years.  

That the law protects the speaker from the mob, not the mob from the speaker.

He keeps calling students "the mob." Where's the love? These are our young people. They did not commit violence or threaten imminent violence, so there was no occasion to protect him, as First Amendment law is traditionally understood. There's no First Amendment right not to be heckled! And calling the speaks "the mob" doesn't take away their rights. 

Worst of all, Ms. Steinbach’s remarks made clear she is proud that Stanford students are being taught this is the way law should be.

She wanted the students to know that the First Amendment — which Stanford, though private, is bound to follow —  is subject to interpretation and they may apply their legal skills to working to develop strong exceptions to free speech. Ironically, Duncan is arguing for a strong exception to free speech if he means to say that the students may not shout him down. 

I have been criticized in the media for getting angry at the protesters. It’s true I called them “appalling idiots,” “bullies” and “hypocrites.” They are, and I won’t apologize for saying so. Sometimes anger is the proper response to vicious behavior.

All right, then. He stands by his angry expressions. As I said, I would not, as a law professor, talk to students that way. But he wants the freedom to lean into anger. That puts him on the same page with them. Whatever happened to "the foggiest grasp of the basic concepts of legal discourse."

There's a lot of fog here!

"Until about a decade ago, though, elections for state supreme courts were usually only the province of wonky election nerds and those in the legal profession."

"But things changed in the early 2010s. 'There was a recognition, especially on the right, that these courts were major players in high-profile policy fights,' said Douglas Keith, an expert on state courts at the Brennan Center. Republicans had tremendous success in gubernatorial and state-legislative elections, but the laws they passed still encountered obstacles in state courts. As a result, outside groups like the Republican State Leadership Committee started spending serious money on judicial elections.... As the 2020 redistricting cycle loomed, conservative and, increasingly, liberal groups zeroed in on state supreme courts as a key battleground.... The U.S. Supreme Court has also raised the stakes of state supreme court elections by delegating major legal questions to the states over the past few years. For instance, the 2019 case Rucho v. Common Cause declared that only state, not federal, courts could decide partisan gerrymandering questions. And now that Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization has ended the national right to abortion, the power to re-legalize abortion in states that have banned it ultimately rests with state supreme courts. Indeed, abortion and redistricting are both at stake in this year’s Wisconsin Supreme Court election...."

The Supreme Court is not "delegating major legal questions to the states." The delegating is done by the Constitution, and "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." The Court is merely — officially — only figuring out what questions are determined by federal law and declining to exercise power it doesn't have. That's either judicial restraint or judicial activism, depending on some mysterious blend of your political predilections, credulity, and hopes and dreams.

"The federal judge in a closely watched lawsuit that seeks to overturn federal approval of a widely used abortion pill has scheduled the first hearing in the case for this week..."

"... but he planned to delay making the public aware of it, according to people familiar with the case.... Judge [Matthew J.] Kacsmaryk, a Trump appointee who has written critically about Roe v. Wade and previously worked for a Christian conservative legal organization, told lawyers in a conference call Friday that he did not want the March 15 hearing to be 'disrupted'.... In asking the lawyers to keep quiet about the hearing, the judge did not issue a gag order, which would bar the participants on the call from sharing the information. Rather, he asked them to keep the information secret 'as a courtesy.' He said that the court would provide seating for the public and the press, but his plan to provide little advance notice seemed likely to have the practical effect of minimizing the number of people who would attend, according to people familiar with the discussion. Amarillo, in the Texas Panhandle, is several hours’ drive from other major Texas cities, and only a couple of those cities provide direct flights."

"Lauren Boebert will be a grandmother at 36. This is what conservatives want for us."

That's the headline of a column at The Guardian by Arwa Mahdawi.
I want to stress that the only reason her growing family is at all newsworthy is because Boebert decided to turn a private affair into a big public statement about how the rest of us should live.... 
“There’s something special about rural conservative communities,” Boebert effused. “They value life. If you look at teen pregnancy rates throughout the nation, well, they’re the same, [in] rural and urban areas. However, abortion rates are higher in urban areas. Teen moms’ rates are higher in rural conservative areas, because they understand the preciousness of a life that it’s about to be born.”

Boebert's son, the father-to-be, is 17.

"I asked what can be done to ensure the respectful passing of our baby, and what could protect me from a deadly infection, now that my body was unprotected and vulnerable."

"They explained there was nothing they could do."
Her cervix had dilated prematurely, and not long after, her water broke. Without amniotic fluid to protect her, Zurawski and her husband were informed Willow would not survive.... Because Willow’s heart was still beating, the Zurawskis were told they had to wait until she could get treatment. Three days later, she was checked into an intensive care unit with sepsis — an infection that nearly killed her....

The doctor’s fears was well-founded: In addition to facing steep penalties — up to 99 years in prison, $100,000 in fines — for providing abortion care, health care providers (or anyone for that matter: friends, family members, uber drivers, TSA agents) can open themselves up to lawsuits if they help a Texan obtain an abortion....

"The general election for the swing seat on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court, a momentous contest that will determine whether Republicans maintain or lose their iron grip on the state’s politics..."

"... will feature a liberal Milwaukee County judge against a conservative former justice of the state’s high court. Janet Protasiewicz, a liberal from the Milwaukee suburbs, and Daniel Kelly, a former Supreme Court justice who lost his seat in a 2020 election, advanced in a Tuesday primary to the April 4 general election.... If Judge Protasiewicz prevails in six weeks, it would tip the balance of the state’s seven-member Supreme Court, which has been controlled by conservatives since 2008. The court would have a four-member liberal majority that would be likely to overturn the state’s 1849 law forbidding abortion in nearly all cases, redraw Wisconsin’s heavily gerrymandered legislative and congressional maps, and influence how the state’s 10 electoral votes are awarded after the 2024 presidential election."

The NYT reports.

"Even though medical experts expect their baby to survive only 20 minutes to a couple of hours, the Dorberts say their doctors told them that because of the new legislation...

"... they could not terminate the pregnancy.... 'The doctors already told me, no matter what, at 24 weeks or full term, the outcome for the baby is going to be the same.' Florida’s H.B. 5 — Reducing Fetal and Infant Mortality... bans abortion after 15 weeks with a couple of exceptions, including one that permits a later termination if 'two physicians certify in writing that, in reasonable medical judgment, the fetus has a fatal fetal abnormality' and has not reached viability. It is not clear how the Dorberts’ doctors applied the law in this situation. Their baby has a condition long considered lethal that is now the subject of clinical trials to assess a potential treatment. Neither Dorbert’s obstetrician nor the maternal fetal medicine specialist she consulted responded to multiple requests for comment...."

I'm reading "Her baby has a deadly diagnosis. Her Florida doctors refused an abortion. Florida abortion ban includes exception for fatal fetal abnormalities. But her doctors told her they could not act" (WaPo).

I wonder... are the doctors interested in getting the chance to figure out how to treat the condition, which is Potter syndrome?

Without working kidneys, newborns are unable to rid their bodies of deadly toxins and go into renal failure. Without amniotic fluid in the womb, they are born unable to breathe.

The article describes the woman's psychological suffering as people talk to her about her visible pregnancy and assume good fortune. There is physical suffering as the baby's movement lacks the "fluid cushioning" of amniotic fluid — suffering of both the mother and the doomed child.

The doctors may simply fear that the law will apply to them and choose to interpret it expansively to protect themselves rather than to do what they and the woman feel is best for her. That choice may be augmented by the prediction that the story of this case will strengthen political opposition to the new law.

I have noticed how few stories like this have appeared in the press. I tend to think there will be political acceptance of the new statutes unless there is a constant stream of reports about suffering like what we are seeing here.

The woman's father, a Catholic, is quoted, saying, "I asked her, ‘Would you mind if I put my hand on your stomach?’ I wanted to feel the life. It’s hard to comprehend there won’t be life.” And: "I believe in life and all that. But [when] two doctors, three doctors say this is this, they should be able to terminate early to save the mental life of the mother."

The ambiguity about the law lies in the language about viability. Does viablity refer to the number of weeks that marks the viability point in a healthy fetus or can you say that a baby with a lethal defect never reaches viability and therefore fits within the exception for the entire length of the pregnancy?

Here's the relevant statutory text: "the fetus has not achieved viability under s. 390.01112 and two physicians certify in writing that, in reasonable medical judgment, the fetus has a fatal fetal abnormality."

If you have trouble reading that — which requires click through to the other statute — then you should see why the doctors are so cautious.

The NYT focuses on the Wisconsin Supreme Court election.

I'm reading "2023’s Biggest, Most Unusual Race Centers on Abortion and Democracy/The election for a swing seat on Wisconsin’s Supreme Court has huge policy stakes for the battleground state. Cash is pouring in, and some of the candidates have shed any pretense of judicial neutrality" by Reid J. Epstein.
The seat is nonpartisan in name only, with officials from both parties lining up behind chosen candidates. Indeed, the clash for the court is striking because of how nakedly political it is. ...
Janet Protasiewicz, a liberal county judge from a Milwaukee suburb, is leading the charge on both fund-raising and the new approach to judicial campaigning, shedding the pretense that she does not hold firm positions on the hottest-button issues. She turned heads this month at a candidate forum when she declared the state’s gerrymandered legislative maps “rigged.” 
In an interview last week, Judge Protasiewicz argued that abortion should be “a woman’s right to choose”; said that Gov. Scott Walker’s 2011 law effectively ending collective bargaining rights for most public employees was unconstitutional; and predicted that, if she won, the court would take up a case seeking to invalidate the Republican-drawn state legislative and congressional maps put in place last year. 
“Obviously, if we have a four-to-three majority, it is highly likely that we would be revisiting the maps,” she said. 
The other liberal candidate, Judge Everett Mitchell of Dane County, which includes Madison, the state capital, said in an interview that “the map lines are not fair.” Both candidates have also expressed full-throated support for the right to an abortion....

"Some anti-abortion advocates say that if doctors believe the exceptions are too ambiguous, they should suggest fixes rather than criticize the laws."

"'They’re not trying to fix the problem,' said [James Bopp, the general counsel for the National Right to Life Committee, who writes model legislation for states]. 'I would be screaming from the housetops, "We better amend this law to make it clear that this can be done because this is wrong."' But abortion-rights advocates have warned for decades that exceptions would not work in practice. They point to the rare instances of patients being granted exceptions to the Hyde Amendment, which blocks federal Medicaid funding for abortion services. And those on both sides of the issue say there may be no middle ground. Mary Ziegler, a law professor at the University of California, Davis, who specializes in the history of abortion, said, 'What would seem workable to a lot of physicians or reproductive-rights supporters would look like a loophole to the pro-life movement.'"

"Perhaps no single male fashion accessory provokes as much emotion as the bow tie."

"People who wear them fall in and out of love with them or bear them as a burden for life. People who have to look at them can find them irritating or worse. The presence of a bow tie always seems to draw comment and the phrase 'bow tie-wearing' in certain contexts can sound like a slur.... To its devotees the bow tie suggests iconoclasm of an Old World sort, a fusty adherence to a contrarian point of view. The bow tie hints at intellectualism, real or feigned, and sometimes suggests technical acumen, perhaps because it is so hard to tie. Bow ties are worn by magicians, country doctors, lawyers and professors and by people hoping to look like the above. But perhaps most of all, wearing a bow tie is a way of broadcasting an aggressive lack of concern for what other people think.... Another class of bow-tied men is comprised of comedians who wear them ironically, like Mark Russell [and] Pee-wee Herman.... [George] Will said he started wearing a bow tie in the 1960's as a statement 'when things started going crazy.'..."

From a 2005 NYT article by Warren St. John: "A Red Flag That Comes in Many Colors."

1. Much of that article is about Tucker Carlson, who is, like the bow tie, considered annoying. But he doesn't wear a bow tie anymore. 

2. Wikipedia has a long list of bow tie wearers — Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Albert Einstein, Sigmund Freud, FDR, "devil-may-care characters portrayed in films by actors like Humphrey Bogart and Frank Sinatra, and — later, to the discredit of the tie — "nerds and geeks, such as... Barney Fife...."

3. I ran into this topic Bob-Dylan-style, that is, by wandering about intuitively. Bob got me listening to an obscure Frank Sinatra song — "Whatever Happened to Christmas" — and then I was reading about Sinatra, mainly because commenter Lurker21 said "Whoever made the video apparently thinks that Christmas went away when Frank left his wife and kids for Ava Gardner" and I needed an answer to the question how long did Frank Sinatra stay with Ava Gardner? At some point, Wikipedia's bio of Sinatra has this: "Such was the bobby-soxer devotion to Sinatra that they were known to write Sinatra's song titles on their clothing, bribe hotel maids for an opportunity to touch his bed, and accost his person in the form of stealing clothing he was wearing, most commonly his bow-tie."

4. Did you ever wear a bow tie? I'm not just talking to the male readers. I'm talking to the female readers too. I graduated from law school in 1981, which seemed to be about the peak of the "Dress For Success" craze. The man's version of the book said not to wear a bow tie unless "you are a clown, a college professor, or a social commentator." But the women's book had us wearing floppy silk bow ties. Here's a 1989 Chicago Tribune article reporting that the magazine Mirabella had marked the death of the ''brief flirtation with laughable dress-for-success suits-and even more laughable floppy bow ties.'' The new approach was, ''a woman flies her own personal flag.''

5. Now, I'm reading about Tucker Carlson. Who were his parents? Was he some kind of rich kid? His mother was an artist, and his father, Dick Carlson, a journalist, "was born the son of college student Richard Boynton and Dorothy Anderson, 18 and 15 years old, respectively. He was born with rickets and mildly bent legs, as Anderson had starved herself to keep the pregnancy a secret. In 1943, Richard Boynton attempted to persuade Dorothy to accompany him in stealing their baby and get[ing] married; when she refused on the grounds that she was a junior in high school and nobody but her parents knew about the baby, he shot and killed himself two blocks from her house." 

6. There are people in this world — perhaps you know one or are one — whose life story inspires them to represent the aborted.

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