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Federalist Society Lawyer's Division Conference:

I hope to see some of our readers — and some of my cobloggers — at the Federalist Society Lawyer's Division Conference in Washington, D.C. (at the Mayflower Hotel) late this week. I'll be there at the Thursday night event and most of the day Friday; I'm sorry that I'll be missing the Saturday events, which also sound great.

From 12 to 1 pm Friday, I'll be on the Free Speech & Election Law panel on Restricting Parental Speech; Judge Michael McConnell, who is one of the nation's two or three top Religion Clauses scholars, will be moderating, and Prof. James Dwyer and Jay Sekulow will be on the panel as well. Co-Conspirators Randy Barnett and Jim Lindgren will be on the Is America Different from Other Major Western Democracies? panel on Friday from 3:15 to 5.

UPDATE: A commenter writes, "I do see that not every single person listed as a panelist is unequivocally of the Federalist persuasion, e.g., a former professor of mine, David Vladek of Georgetown, who is or was Public Citizen's very smart counsel. But it doesn't look like there are many middle-of-the-road, let alone left-leaning types, among them."

Well, try Gordon Wood, Jamie Gorelick, Kent Greenawalt, Deborah Greenfield, Judge Stephen Reinhardt, James Dwyer, Alex Aleinikoff, Akhil Amar, Vicki Jackson, Martha Davis, Shubha Ghosh, Neal Katyal, and Nadine Strossen; possibly also Robert Audi; and David Vladeck, whom the commenter mentioned. Marci Hamilton is conservative on some things, but on the topic that she was invited to discuss she's pretty far from where most conservatives (and likely most libertarians) are. I'm sure there are other liberals and moderates, but these are just the ones I could quickly spot.

Federalist Society conferences are known for having people on both sides of the question (and usually on more than two sides). This is certainly no exception.

neurodoc:
EV, you have given the "when," but I don't see the "where," nor other details. (The first link doesn't work for me.) Is it to be in Washington? [EV: Sorry; changed the post to make this clear.] Open to the unwashed masses, or registration required? [EV: Registration and payment required, but you need not be a member to attend.] Will you be autographing programs?
11.13.2007 5:31pm
MLS (www):
Will there be a VC cheering section?
11.13.2007 6:03pm
CDU (mail):
First link works fine for me. It gives the "where".

Location:
The Mayflower Hotel
1127 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 347-3000
11.13.2007 6:17pm
Cornellian (mail):
Is it just me, or does calling it the "Division Conference" make it sound like the NHL playoffs?
11.13.2007 6:35pm
neurodoc:
OK, the link does work for me now and I am able to see the relevant details.

Boy, the luminaries pictured there are just the ones to raise the other side's blood pressure. I do see that not every single person listed as a panelist is unequivocally of the Federalist persuasion, e.g., a former professor of mine, David Vladek of Georgetown, who is or was Public Citizen's very smart counsel. But it doesn't look like there are many middle-of-the-road, let alone left-leaning types, among them.
11.13.2007 6:59pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
neurodoc: You might not have looked hard enough; I blogged an update to mention quite a few more.
11.13.2007 7:31pm
OrinKerr:
Although I don't agree with neurodoc, I think the Fed Soc does get stuck in a rut when it staffs the lawyer's convention. Many panelists repeat every year, and generally they say the same thing they said the previous year. I suppose some of these panelists draw a crowd, but some are not the most intellectually engaging invitees you could muster. Some new faces would make the conference a lot more interesting.
11.13.2007 9:13pm
neurodoc:
OK, I'm not clear what we disagree on. I simply commented that the luminaries pictured, who I take it are seen as the celebs who will attract the most attention, are just the sort to give the opposition major agita. You don't think otherwise, do you, going from Bush on down (Olson, Ashcroft, Meese, Bork, and the conservative judges)?

And as for those who didn't get the very top billing, with pictures, I didn't recognize many "dissenters" among them. But that no doubt in large part reflects my own limited knowledge of many of the "players" and their ideologic stances. I was stating no position, just observing that this did not appear to be a celebration of intellectual "diversity," but rather a gathering of like-minded members of the legal fraternity.
11.13.2007 9:46pm
theobromophile (www):
35 hours! (Someone suggested a cheering section, but no one has yet to suggest a countdown.)

FYI: on-line registration closes at 8 am tomorrow (Wednesday) morning.

Agree with Prof. Kerr; however, if you aren't able to make it out every year, the repeatability is not nearly as vexing as it is to those who make the annual pilgrimage.
11.13.2007 9:53pm
Anon123:
Orin: You've definitely hit on something -- I remember discussing a year or two ago (whenever Romney gave a speech) the ratio of network/schmooze to scholarship at this event, and we concluded it was 3:1 or 4:1. The student conventions always seem more intellectually interesting...

Not sure how much is the names on the invite list vs. the perception of the invite. Worth remembering that the roster of notable Federalist academic types is not *that* deep. Nor is the roster of legal liberals who are gracious enough to share a stage with them in front of a hostile audience, which is why Strossen, Katyal, and some of the others show up frequently.
11.13.2007 10:13pm
Tim Dowling (mail):
Why no breakout session on federalism (which could address the pending S. Ct. cases on preemption, Cal.'s greenhouse gas limits on cars, State AG initiatives, and myriad other pressing topics)? Do we need to start another society?
11.13.2007 10:52pm
OrinKerr:
Agree with Prof. Kerr; however, if you aren't able to make it out every year, the repeatability is not nearly as vexing as it is to those who make the annual pilgrimage.

Fair point. The hosting hotel is a 10 minute walk from my office; making it over there isn't such a burden.

Orin: You've definitely hit on something -- I remember discussing a year or two ago (whenever Romney gave a speech) the ratio of network/schmooze to scholarship at this event, and we concluded it was 3:1 or 4:1. The student conventions always seem more intellectually interesting...

I agree -- the student conventions usually are much more intellectually interesting. They pick a single topic and run with it, and the speakers usually end up publishing their remarks in the JLPP. It's a very different type of event, and a much more academic one.

Not sure how much is the names on the invite list vs. the perception of the invite. Worth remembering that the roster of notable Federalist academic types is not *that* deep. Nor is the roster of legal liberals who are gracious enough to share a stage with them in front of a hostile audience, which is why Strossen, Katyal, and some of the others show up frequently.

I disagree. There are a ton of interesting people who don't get invited to speak, and I don't think there are many liberal speakers who would turn down the invitation. I think the real issue is that the organizers of the conference try to feature the same set of bigwigs every year. Many of the bigwigs are great, but some aren't really all that interesting. Or so it seems to me.
11.13.2007 10:58pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
Jeez, neurodoc, don't you think it's a little much to ask that a conservative-libertarian group be balanced in its invitation of honored luminaries, not just panelists? We do a good job of covering the substance from many perspectives. But when we invite someone to give the Barbara Olson Memorial Lecture, we invite someone who was roughly on Barbara Olson's ideological side; likewise for our Thursday banquet. I'd guess that liberal groups, even those who are committed (as we are) to put on serious debates, are the same way.
11.14.2007 12:09am
Future Clerk:
Eugene, why did Fed Soc schedule your panel at the same time as Judge Kozinski's panel? It makes things very difficult!
11.14.2007 8:55am
Patrick216:
Eugene:

I believe a vast left wing conspiracy has formed at the Federalist Society. Your panel conflicts with the Environmental Panel featuring Judges Kozinski and Reinhardt. This is truly outrageous. Obviously there are efforts afoot to silence conservative thought.

P.S. On the larger point of the Federalist Society declining to give a forum to liberals, I note that at a lunch panel two years ago, Nadine Strossen was asked a very rude question by some fringey audience member. The entire audience booed the questioner and clapped for Strossen when she politely handled the questioner's hat to him. In the 6 years I've been active with the Federalist Society, I have been uniformly impressed with its willingness to put on "real" debates between conservative, libertarian, and liberal viewpoints.
11.14.2007 11:06am
Cornellian (mail):
Obviously there are efforts afoot to silence conservative thought.

Well strictly speaking, all thought is silent whether conservative, liberal or otherwise . . .
11.14.2007 1:56pm
Cornellian (mail):
Are these things always in D.C. or do they pick different locations every year? D.C. is too far for me but I'd go to one on the West Coast.
11.14.2007 1:59pm
theobromophile (www):

all thought is silent whether conservative, liberal or otherwise . . .

Then how can one think out loud?
11.14.2007 2:09pm
neurodoc:
Jeez neurodoc...

Jeez EV, I never expected my lighthearted remarks to be taken so seriously. All I meant was that no one looking at that array of honored luminaries would mistake this Federalist Society Lawyers convocation for one put on by the National Lawyers Guild.
11.15.2007 2:42pm
Eugene Volokh (www):
Sorry to have misunderstood -- and on your last comment, I would agree entirely.
11.16.2007 1:56am