Outraged Columbia University students attempt to deplatform a photo

I guess this is what progressives mean by progress. In the past a judge had to actually show up at a school in order to be berated, shouted down and deplatformed. We saw that happen at Stanford Law just three weeks ago. But now, thanks to advances in social justice illiberalism, students can flip out and attempt to cancel people who never even visited the school. That’s what happened this month at Columbia University.


A group of Federalist Society members from the school traveled to Washington DC and were able to meet with Justice Kavanaugh at the Supreme Court. They took a photo and two weeks ago Columbia posted the photo on its Instagram account along with the following caption:

On February 23, members of the Columbia Federalist Society (@clsfedsoc) visited the Supreme Court of the United States to engage in conversation with Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh. During the visit, they learned about the human side of being a justice, the Court’s deliberation process, and how to be an effective advocate. Justice Kavanaugh also answered questions about a few of his most famous opinions.

So unlike what happened at Stanford where the Federalist Society invited a judge to campus, in this case the Federalist Society went to the judge. And still progressives went into full freak out mode over the Instagram post.

Columbia student groups responded with vitriol aimed at the university for daring to “uplift” what they considered an offensive and “hurtful” image—and at the students who met the Justice.

On Columbia’s Instagram account, students and alumni called the meeting “embarrassing,” “disgusting” and “disrespectful” and expressed outrage that the school had posted the picture during Women’s History Month. Justice Kavanaugh was part of the majority who overturned Roe v. Wade last year.

Student organizations, including the Black Law Students Association of Columbia and the reproductive rights group If/When/How, have written letters demanding that the school remove the social-media post. The American Constitution Society chapter noted that “at a time when the rights of vulnerable people are under attack, CLS used their platform to uplift a radical jurist who has consistently voted to take away those rights.”


How dare Columbia humanize someone who was targeted for assassination by a deranged man last year. Jonathan Turley delves in to some of the reactions from student groups:

The Black Law Students Association wrote on behalf of a large number of groups to oppose the posting and to “put the administration on notice” that it is unacceptable for law students to meet with the justice — or for the law school to support it.

“We believe that our school’s choice to platform Justice Kavanaugh is symbolic of a pattern of behavior that our organization does not and will not support and will not be affiliated with. We thank LALSA, NALSA, EWOC, OutLaws, QTPOC, IfWhenHow, APALSA, SALSA, and others, for joining us in this advocacy and struggle. We look forward to continued collaboration. By joining us in this effort, you have all helped put the administration on notice that we have a strong and growing collective.”…

However, it is the posting of the Center, as an official office of Columbia University, that is most alarming. The Center account was used to object: “WTF is wrong with you. Ah yes. Every day I wake up wondering what is the day in the life of someone who strips people’s rights away.”

Turley notes that students have the right to protest (even a photo) but the statement by The Center, aka The Center for Engaged Pedagogy, is an official communication of the school and in this case the statement is not in keeping with the value of free speech. The Daily Wire’s Luke Rosiak contacted The Center to ask about their statement:


The Daily Wire sent an email to Melissa Wright, the Center’s interim executive director, asking about the propriety of an academic institution asking “wtf is wrong with you” of a law school for posting a picture of a Supreme Court justice.

She did not respond, but appeared to forward the email to a group of people who used it to target a journalist. The email was opened 68 times all over the country, while during the same period, the email address and phone number in the request was signed up for hundreds of spam email accounts.

The whole thing is clarifying about the incident with Judge Duncan at Stanford. In that case, supporters of the student deplatformers argued that Judge Duncan was rude and that his only point in showing up was to rile up students. They literally claimed he got what he wanted at Stanford, contrary to all the evidence including the Judge’s own words.

At Columbia no one was rude. No one can be accused of coming to campus as a publicity stunt because no one came to campus. A group of fellow students took a photo with a SCOTUS Justice at the Supreme Court and the school posted it. That’s all. And still, the progressives react with outrage and demand the photo be deplatformed and the judge denounced. Let me suggest, that’s all they wanted at Stanford too. It never had anything to do with what Judge Duncan said or even the fact that he came to campus. Those were just excuses offered after-the-fact for the behavior of the student mob.


Give Columbia credit for not pulling the photo down in response to the demands. What these students need more than anything is to be told no.

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