When Stanford University law student Nicholas Wallace emailed a satirical flyer to law students pretending it was from the Federalist Society, a conservative and libertarian group with a chapter on campus, he almost missed receiving his diploma to graduate.
A few weeks after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, Wallace emailed a flyer to Stanford law students with the subject line “The Originalist Case for Inciting Insurrection.”
His email promoted a fake event dated for Jan. 6, falsely claiming Missouri Sen.Joshua Hawley and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, both Republicans, would be joining the event to talk about “violent insurrection.”
The email seemed to mock the Federalist Society and conservative politicians who wanted to overturn the Nov. 3, 2020, election results.
“Senator Hawley will argue that the ends justify the means,” Wallace, 33, wrote in the email. “Attorney General Paxton will explain that when the Supreme Court refuses to exercise its Article III authority to overturn the results of a free and fair election, calling on a violent mob to storm the Capitol represents an appropriate alternative remedy.”
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Wallace learned from one of the deans at the law school that the university was holding his diploma after the Federalist Society lodged a complaint.
“I was astounded,” Mr. Wallace, 32, said in an interview on Wednesday with the New York Times. “I couldn’t believe that without any more than this letter of concern they placed my graduation and everything I’ve worked for for the last three years, they’ve placed that under threat.”
USA TODAY published a fact-check confirming the flyer was fake. And Stanford had originally planned to hold an investigation on the email.
However, the university released a statement on Wednesday stating that Wallace’s email was protected speech.
“For that reason, and pursuant to the Leonard Law, the university is not moving forward with the OCS process and the graduation diploma hold has been released,” the university said.