Friday, October 28, 2005

What is the Federalist Society?

There have been some bizarre and amusing descriptions of the Federalist Society in the national press (PDF), especially lately with the recent Supreme Court nominations. The stories describe us as anywhere between the legal Samuris of the Bush Administration to a Skull & Bones-esque secret society that colludes with the Freemasons, Knights Templar, Stonecutters, Evil Corporations, and probably Elvis in his secret hideout with the aliens at Area 51. The Society and its members have been called dangerous, out-of-the-mainstream, and have been accused of trying to "bring down America from the inside." (For more links to various articles in the press, see the main Federalist Society webpage.) The truth (PDF) is far simpler.

This is the official mission statement of the Federalist Society:

"The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies is a group of conservatives and libertarians interested in the current state of the legal order. It is founded on the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be. The Society seeks both to promote an awareness of these principles and to further their application through its activities."
Here at UW, those "activities" involve sponsoring formal debates, encouraging student discussion, and working with other chapters and the Puget Sound Lawyers' Chapter to make it clear that the principles we stand behind are taken seriously, and that the consequences of non-principled jurispurudence are laid bare. (Just ask Connecticut homeowners.) This blog is the latest effort in our work to foster healthy debate within our local legal community.

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