Alabama Judge Boycotting Yale Clerks
Judge won’t use clerks from Yale (Birmingham News)
An Alabama federal judge has told Yale Law School he won’t accept its graduates for clerkships because the school blocks military recruiters from campus. Senior U.S. District Judge William Acker Jr., a Yale graduate, explained his decision in a Monday letter to the law school’s Dean Harold Koh.
Acker wrote that he was exercising the same freedom of speech that U.S. District Judge Janet C. Hall supported when she ruled Jan. 31. She backed the faculty’s claim that their rights to free speech were violated by enforcement of the Solomon amendment, which requires schools to provide access to military recruiters or lose federal funding, including student loans.
In response, Acker said Yale Law School students need not apply. “Some of my very best law clerks have been from the law school from which I proudly graduated,” Acker said. “I therefore recognize that this publicly announced decision will hurt me more than the allowing of military recruiters would hurt YLS.”
While I agree with Eugene Volokh that making students suffer for the actions of the school’s administration is problematic, Acker’s options are somewhat limited. Presumably, he’s already withholding whatever donations he would otherwise have been making. Further, one could argue that the students are somewhat complicit in the policy since, one suspects, it would be overturned if enough students raised a fuss.