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Federalist Society

Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies
A black cameo
The Federalist Society logo, depicting the silhouette of James Madison's bust
Type Legal
Purpose To promote 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.[1]
  • 1776 I Street, NW
    Washington, DC 20066
Eugene B. Meyer[1]
Executive Vice President
Leonard Leo[4]
Revenue: $13,721,279
Expenses: $13,356,819
(FYE September 2013)[5]
Website .org.fed-socwww

The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, most frequently called simply the Federalist Society, is an organization of

External links

  • Fiss, Owen. What is the Federalist Society?. 15 Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy 5 (1992)

Further reading

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See also

Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts was reported to have been a member of the Society, but Roberts's membership status was never definitively established. Deputy White House press secretary Dana Perino said Roberts "has no recollection of ever being a member."[31] The Washington Post later located the Federalist Society Lawyers' Division Leadership Directory, 1997–1998, which listed Roberts as a member of the Washington chapter steering committee.[32] Membership in the Society is not a necessary condition for being listed in the leadership directory.[32]

Notable members of the Society have included:

Notable members

[20] Avery and McLaughlin write that the Federalist Society is primarily a “group of intellectuals.”[8] by The Federalist Society In

Federalist Society members helped to encourage President American Bar Association’s nearly half-century-old practice of rating judicial nominees' qualifications for office. Since the administration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the American Bar Association has provided the service to presidents of both parties and the nation by vetting the qualifications of those under consideration for lifetime appointment to the federal judiciary. The Federalist Society alleged that the ABA showed a liberal bias in its recommendations.[15][16][17] For example, while former Supreme Court clerks nominated to the Court of Appeals by Democrats had an average rating of slightly below "well qualified", similar Republican nominees were rated on average as only "qualified/well qualified." In addition the ABA gave Ronald Reagan's judicial nominees Richard Posner and Frank H. Easterbrook its lowest possible ratings of "qualified/not qualified".[18] Judges Posner and Easterbrook have gone on to become the two most highly cited judges in the federal appellate judiciary.[19]

The Federalist Society holds a national lawyers convention each year in Washington, D.C. It is one of the highest profile conservative legal events of the year.[12][13] Speakers have included former ACLU head Nadine Strossen, business executive Carly Fiorina, former BB&T chairman John Allison, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, and U.S. Senator Mike Lee.[14]


The Society's name is said to have been based on the 18th-century Federalist Party;[11] however, James Madison associated with Thomas Jefferson and the Democratic-Republican Party in opposition to Federalist Party policies borne from a loose interpretation of the Commerce Clause. The Federalist Society's views are more associated with the general meaning of Federalism (particularly the New Federalism) and the content of the Federalist Papers than with the later Federalist Party.

Its logo is a silhouette of former President and Constitution author James Madison, who co-wrote The Federalist Papers. Commissioner Paul S. Atkins of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission considered Federalist Society members "the heirs of James Madison's legacy" in a speech he gave in January 2008 to the Federalist Society Lawyers' Chapter of Dallas, Texas. Madison is generally credited as the father of the Constitution and became the fourth President of the United States.[10]

The Society looks to Federalist Paper Number 78 for an articulation of the virtue of judicial restraint, as written by Alexander Hamilton: "It can be of no weight to say that the courts, on the pretense of a repugnancy, may substitute their own pleasure to the constitutional intentions of the legislature.... The courts must declare the sense of the law; and if they should be disposed to exercise WILL instead of JUDGMENT, the consequence would equally be the substitution of their pleasure to that of the legislative body."

The society was started by a group of people including Edwin Meese, Robert Bork, David M. McIntosh, Lee Liberman Otis, Spence Abraham, and Steven Calabresi. Its membership has since included Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia, John G. Roberts, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.[9]



  • Background 1
  • Activities 2
  • Notable members 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Further reading 6
  • External links 7

The Society is a membership organization that features a Student Division, a Lawyers Division, and a Faculty Division. The Society currently has chapters at over 200 [2] Its headquarters are in Washington, D.C. Through speaking events, lectures, and other activities, the Federalist Society provides a forum for legal experts of opposing views to interact with members of the legal profession, the judiciary, law students, and academics.[2][8]

The Federalist Society began at American liberal ideology found in most law schools. The Society asserts that 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."[1]

[7]. It plays a central role in networking and mentoring young conservative lawyers.Commerce Clause, and the state sovereignty, campaign finance regulation, Second Amendment It has played a significant role in moving the national debate to the right on the [6]

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