JUDGE ROBERTS & THE FEDERALIST SOCIETY--SO WHAT?
Some folks have been making an issue of Judge John Roberts’ ties—if any—to the Federalist Society. One minute, I hear he was a member. The next minute I hear he never paid any dues. Another minute I hear he was listed in an old directory of members. To this, I say BIG DEAL
Many opponents of Judge Roberts simply don’t like the Federalist Society. In fact, some on the Left see the Federalist Society in black helicopter conspiracy theory-like terms. So it wouldn’t surprise me that those same persons on the Left who have long decried the Federalist Society would want to tie Judge Roberts to the group. The Federalist Society for Law & Public Policy Studies
is a group of lawyers, legal scholars, law students and other persons who are interested in our legal order and who have a respect for the rule of law, federalism, the separation of powers, the role of the judiciary, and individual rights. It’s a big tent group, comprised of conservatives and libertarians of various stripes—most of whom are at least committed in some way to a view that the original understanding of the Constitution of the United States is important. Quite often, members within the Federalist Society disagree with one another in their viewpoints, with many prominent members holding to strongly divergent conclusions on numerous legal issues. The Federalist Society has student chapters at law schools and attorney chapters in many cities. They put on scholarly debates and panel discussions (which often include left-of-center speakers) on legal issues, publish articles and white papers, and even publish a law journal.
Which of the above-mentioned items are hauntingly scary and the stuff of spooky conspiracy theories? Zero. I all but have to keep from laughing when I hear the Federalist Society described as a guarded and secret cabal worthy of our fear and distrust.
If anything, being a participating member in the Federalist Society has been incredibly FUN. As someone who loves law, interesting legal discussions, listening to legal experts discuss issues, or talking over law with friends over drinnks, the Federalist Society is a cool thing to be a part of. True, one can meet other attorneys through the Federalist Society and do some networking—but just about every legal organization does that. To be sure, as a member I might like the idea of having a fellow member appointed to the Supreme Court. After all, it would bring additional credit to the Federalist Society. And membership might give some hint as to a nominee’s views about the law. But given the range of views represented in the group, membership can only give some general hints, at best.
So I expect to keep hearing mention of the Federalist Society come up throughout Judge Roberts’ confirmation process. Given the characters weighing in for the Senate Democrats’ and the looney Left interest-group leaders, it could come up a lot. After all, the Federalist Society has flourished because of the important contributions that its members have made to legal scholarship and public understanding of the law—and the Left doesn’t like that.
A good read on this subject is Nick Gillespie’s recent Reason
article, “Making a Federalist Case: Does it matter whether John Roberts was a member of the Federalist Society?”
It’s a well written, spot-on article.(Blue Ash, OH)