The Federalist Society was founded in 1982 by conservative law students. I attended one meeting as a student at Tulane Law just for the hell of it. I was immediately outed as a pro-Brennan, anti-Bork type. That branch thought it was funny for a liberal law student to attend one of its meetings. The Stanford Law Federalist Society does NOT have a sense of humor. And that is why it is malaka of the week.
On Jan. 25, Nicholas Wallace, a third-year student at Stanford Law School, sent a satirical flyer to a student listserv reserved for debate and political commentary. The flyer promoted a fake event, “The Originalist Case for Inciting Insurrection,” ostensibly sponsored by the Stanford Federalist Society. It advertised the participation of two politicians who tried to overturn the 2020 election, Missouri Sen. Joshua Hawley and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. “Violent insurrection, also known as doing a coup, is a classical system of installing a government,” the flyer read, adding that insurrection “can be an effective approach to upholding the principle of limited government.”
Wallace’s email was designed to mock the Stanford Federalist Society for refusing to disavow the many Federalist Society luminaries who fomented the storming of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, including Hawley and Paxton. It worked: The flyer went viral, prompting USA Today to confirm that it was, indeed, satire. But the Stanford Federalist Society was not amused. In March, one of the group’s top officers filed a complaint against Wallace with Stanford’s Office of Community Standards. (This person’s name has been redacted from all documents.) The student alleged that Wallace’s satire “defamed” the Stanford Federalist Society, causing “harm” to the student group and to the “individual reputations” of the officers.
Wallace’s graduation was placed on hold for 11 days. The hold was lifted by Stanford Law after it determined that the email was protected speech under the First Amendment and that the Stanford Federalists were a bunch of humorless silly billies.
I feel Nick Wallace’s pain. He was notified of the hold on the last day of classes. It hung over his head like a Scalia dissent during exams. Finals are bad enough without dealing with that sort of bullshit, especially for a 3L. I’m not speaking for Wallace but in my third year of law school, I was not as diligent a student as in previous years, so I had to cram for finals.
I slapped the Federalist Society logo on the post because of the ironic 3 words thereon. Uh oh, that’s a lawyer word. I’m relapsing…
Debate: There seems to have been none.
Discuss: Like a bunch of rich entitled preppies, the Stanford Feds got all whiny and went to daddy. Nobody likes a tattletale.
Decide: Mercifully, the decision went against them, but it shouldn’t have taken that long since it didn’t pass the either the laugh or smell test. Malakatude is stinky.
They should change that slogan to Denounce. Defame. Deny.
That’s James Madison’s silhouette on the Federalist Society logo. I seem to recall Little Jemmy being in favor of free speech in between fleeing the White House in terror. I’ve always found it odd that a slave owner who opposed the Federalist Party is on this logo. I guess that qualifies as originalist humor. They couldn’t very well use Hamilton or John Marshall since they favored a robust central government. So did Madison until his mentor Jefferson returned home from France.
I’m about to use a term that I vowed never to use but it fits the egregious malakatude displayed by the Stanford Federalist Society. Who knew it favored cancel culture?
The Federalist malaka’s informal faculty advisor is Michael McConnell who defended the flyer posted in this stern Stern tweet:
For example, in 2018, Michael McConnell vigorously defended a conservative Stanford student who put up these flyers to mock classmates who opposed ICE immigration raids. https://t.co/luE4w6xPHL pic.twitter.com/Uwzh5eknBN
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) June 3, 2021
I guess it only qualifies as satire if you agree with it. Some call that cancel culture. I call it malakatude.
This incident shows the creeping authoritarianism of today’s right even among the educated and privileged. That’s why I stopped calling them conservatives. Suppression of free speech, especially in an academic setting, is as radical as it gets. And that is why the Stanford Law Federalist Society is malaka of the week.
The last word goes to Graham Parker: