Law Students

Stanford lifts graduation hold on law student who made satirical flyer for fake Federalist Society event

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Stanford Law School

Stanford Law School. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Third-year Stanford Law School student Nicholas Wallace was informed on the last day of classes that the school was placing a hold on his degree as it investigated a complaint about his satirical flyer promoting a fake insurrection event sponsored by the Federalist Society.

On Wednesday, the school ended the investigation and lifted the graduation hold after the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education said the school was violating California law regarding protected speech, Slate reports.

Wallace’s January flyer, emailed to an email discussion list, promoted a fake Stanford Federalist Society event titled, “The Originalist Case for Inciting Insurrection.”

The flyer said guest speakers supporting violent insurrection included Republican U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton.

“Although widely believed to conflict in every way with the rule of law, violent insurrection can be an effective approach to upholding the principle of limited government,” the fake flyer said.

The complaint filed with Stanford said the flyer defamed the Stanford Federalist Society, harming the reputations of the group’s officers. But the school said in a tweet it was ending the investigation and lifting the graduation hold pursuant to California’s Leonard Law, which requires private universities to comply with the First Amendment, according to Slate.

Stanford’s tweet said the university reviewed the facts and consulted with its legal counsel. Caselaw supports the view that Wallace was engaging in protected speech, the university said.

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