New England Law | Boston Federalist Society
Who We Are:
The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies is a group of conservatives and libertarians dedicated to reforming the current legal order. We are committed to 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's main purpose is to sponsor fair, serious, and open debate about these principles and the many issues which affect them and are affected by them. We believe that debate is the best way to ensure that legal principles which have not been the subject of sufficient attention receive a fair hearing.
The Society prides itself on a strong reputation for hosting speakers on all sides of the ideological spectrum and fostering dialogue between opposing political philosophies. A number of the Society's most frequent and prominent speakers attest to the fact that the Society has contributed a great deal to free speech, free debate, and the public understanding of the Constitution.
In the spirit of its goal to foster fair and open dialogue on legal issues, the Society does not take money from any political party or group affiliated with a political party or from the federal government. Nor does it lobby for legislation, take policy positions, or sponsor or endorse nominees and candidates for public service.
The Society is about ideas, and we feel that our unique position in advocating a forum for the discussion of ideas, free from political advocacy, has helped us redefine the terms of legal debate over the years.
Executive Board 2014-2015:
- President: Donald Elliott '15
- Vice President of Speakers: Kathryn Lavelle '16
- Treasurer: Alex Kerr '15
- Evening Liaison: Richard Shiller '17
Jeff Johnson, Ben Dexter, Jordan Baumer, John Keeney, Nicole Melman, Chris Chadzutko, Megan Mitchell, Joseph VanDaniker
The Society is a membership organization that features a Student Division, a Lawyers Division, and a Faculty Division. The Student Division includes more than 10,000 law students at all of the 196 ABA-accredited law schools as well as 24 additional chapters based at international law schools, non-accredited law schools, satellite campuses for ABA-accredited schools, and a few undergraduate institutions. The Lawyers Division is comprised of over 30,000 legal professionals and others interested in current intellectual and practical developments in the law. It has active chapters in 60 cities, including Washington, New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, San Francisco, Denver, Atlanta, Houston, Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Indianapolis. Activities include the annual National Lawyers Convention, a Speakers Bureau for organizing lectures and debates, and 15 Practice Groups.
The New England Law | Boston Chapter:
The New England Law chapter contributes towards the Society’s goals mainly by hosting several speaker events on campus each semester. Many of these events are panel discussions, often held in collaboration with other student groups to formulate a cross section of opinions and ideas, thus enriching the dialogue. Our past guests have included academics, reform advocates, litigators before the Supreme Court, JAGs from several branches of the military, and grassroots activists for many causes.
All we ask of new members is that you join the national Federalist Society (a mere $5 per year for students… see link below) and that you make an effort to attend the events that are held on campus. To join, or for more information please contact us at the address listed below.
Quotes about the Federalist Society:
The Federalist Society has developed a reputation for being a lively and open forum for serious discussion about important legal topics. Liberals and conservatives are regularly brought together to debate and exchange views… I wish every legal group welcomed such a broad array of speakers. – Richard Thornburgh, Former U.S. Attorney General
The Federalist Society is changing the culture of our nation's law schools. You are returning the values and concepts of law as our founders understood them to scholarly dialogue, and through that dialogue, to our legal institutions. – President Ronald Reagan
This organization has played an important part in sparking a dialogue between lawyers and judges, and even at times amongst judges themselves... by assiduously avoiding the temptation to take positions, or to lobby and engage in political advocacy. Resisting that temptation takes discipline, I am sure, but rest assured that you have made the right choice and are providing a genuine and unique service in so doing. – Justice Clarence Thomas, U.S. Supreme Court
I am a tremendous admirer of this organization. I agree completely that it has served an enormously valuable function, in getting the debate going about the meaning of the constitution. The fact that there are two sides to the debate is evidenced by my presence here, today, but your contribution to stimulating a debate, to getting us on the other side to think more clearly about our issues, and to presenting to the American public issues… has performed an enormously useful function. – Alan Dershowitz, Harvard Law School
I've done a lot of academic conferences in my career, and I always find the Federalist Society the most enjoyable because the Federalist Society is the organization that is least afraid of inviting people whom they know seriously disagree with them. – Professor William Marshall, Northwestern University and Associate White House Counsel under President Bill Clinton