Kansas Supreme Court Justice Caleb Stegall resigns teaching position over free speech issues

Patrick Richardson:

Just over a month after an associate dean at the University of Kansas School of Law labeled a speechthat had yet to be given “hate speech,” Justice Caleb Stegall resigned from his teaching position at KU Law over the controversy.

On Oct. 19, the KU student chapter of the Federalist Society (FedSoc) invited Jordan Lorence, the senior counsel and director of strategic engagement at the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), to speak to KU Law students about the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.

Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs Leah Terranova fired off an email to the entire staff and student body of the law school, decrying the talk as “hate speech” 90 minutes before the start of Lorence’s talk.

On November 25, Kansas Supreme Court Justice Caleb Stegall, who has been teaching appellate advocacy at KU Law as a member of the adjunct faculty, submitted a scathing, six-page resignation letter to Dean Stephen Mazza, head of the law school.

Stegall wrote that he had sensed “a dampening of the spirit of open inquiry I have so loved and benefited from at KU Law. A spirit that — going all the way back to my days as a law student — always existed within Green Hall. But events this fall have brought an unwelcome clarity to what before was only a vague and foreboding feeling. So I write to let you know that, as a result, I will not be renewing my teaching relationship with KU Law next fall.”

The Sentinel reached out to several members of the KU Law faculty, including Mazza, the communications department of the school of law, as well as members of the school’s Federalist Society chapter for comment, but as of publication, had received a response only from Mazza.