tv U.S. Appeals Court Judge Remarks at Federalist Society Conference CSPAN November 10, 2022 10:57pm-11:32pm EST
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centers to get their tools needed to be ready for anything. comcast supports c-span as a public service along with these other television providers, giving you a front row seat to democracy. >> up next, the chief judge for the u.s. appeals court for the 11th circuit talks about the mission of the federalist society in his address at the 202 two national lawyers convention. he also spoke about the federalist society and its role in the conservative agenda and the courts there this is about half an hour. [indiscernible]
i am vice president and general counsel of the federal society. my pleasure to welcome you here. if you're in the room or watching on a lives stream or c-span or later in video,. while and thank you for being here. welcome as we mark the 40th denver -- anniversary of the federal society. [applause] -- federalist society. >> i say the word mark purposefully. rather than celebrate. i think some celebration is appropriate. i am less interested in pats on the back and accolades. i am more interested in looking to the future. my prediction as a veteran of
the federalist society as the federalist society is poised to accomplish more in the next 10 years than in the past 40. that depends on you. not only is this organization yours, but you are the organization. in my humble analysis. you are the federalist society. in the federalist society is nothing more than its volunteer leadership and membership. well maybe the donors too. the donors. [laughter] the donors are important. we are nonprofit organization and we are good at being nonprofit. the donors are important. [laughter] the theme for this year's convention is particularly topical. the current state of the legal profession. our profession is an example to the rest of the country. our adversarial system that
heidi's are debatable -- ideas are debatable and leads to truth. our profession should be heralded as an example. i am not claiming attorneys are held in lofty esteem by our fellow americans. i really like the snarky line that is the unprincipled and disreputable lawyers that are ruining it for the rest of us. -- 98% of lawyers running it for us. [laughter] to get to the convention with a first-class event over the next three days. that is the first class reminds me of a brief story i told before. somebody asked me to iterate this. on first class. the story goes back to my early days and career and concerns to back-to-back business trips i was taking. at the beginning of my career, there were airlines and air travel is involved. i was working for the federal
government. because travel complications, my return flight on my first trip landed after midnight. i only got a few hours of sleep. at the first flight out across the country in california. in the morning i went back to the airport, still dark outside, standing in line at the check in counter looking ahead. i was flying on a budget rate, cut rate, no-frills startup airline. it does not exist, i am sure. on taxpayer dollars. as i got to front, i could see the eager young man, look like a teenager. even though i was young. behind the counter dressed in a bright company colors. like fast food restaurant employee. as i approached, he said, i am not kidding. is this your first time flying? >> i was young, but just like a businessman, had a carry-on bag and. because i landed earlier that morning i was able to respond, and this is not my first time flying today.
[laughter] that went over his head. i assume he asked if his -- it is my first time on that airline. i was away in the back of the plane. probably was a smoking section. if you folks can remember that. i was thinking about upgrading to first-class. even though i was making a paltry amount of money. i would have to do at my expense. i said to this man, do you have any first-class seats available. i was hopeful. i had my fingers crossed. he looked me in the eye and said sir, all our seats are first-class. [laughter] of course they are and i charged to my flight. i had this convention will be first-class. a quick housekeeping thing and get to our opening address. the qr code is circulated.
if you want to see credit. you need to check in every day for the qr code to get that credit. if you do not sign in, you will not get credit. when you leave, you need to check out with the credit, qr code. otherwise next week you will be claiming with your barber and hundred 70 hours of credit. they will deny you. i want to take one moment to thank the jack north center for sponsoring something new. a road document exhibit. the remnant trust for bringing it here for your viewing. it is the the south carolina room on the second floor. for the duration of the convention. do not wait too long to see it. you can see and hold original copies of blackstone commentaries, the 1780 seven pamphlet of the u.s. constitution. a first edition of the federalist papers, first official publication of the bill of rights. of the 1770 six addition of
thomas payne's common sense and more. that is in the south carolina room. you will love it. if you drop your business card there, you can win this. this is a leaf are the federalist papers. this is 46. an original first edition. the front and back of the page. we have never done a drawing of the federalist society. it is not our thing, but we never had the federalist paper first edition. [laughter] i am looking forward to that. turning to the business of the convention. for our opening, we recruited a long federal society leader. someone who can speak to 40 years of the organization to this moment. he asked me to be brief in my introduction. i am helped you already know him. chief judge william pryor sits on the 11th circuit. for now year -- nearly 20 years. importantly, he started and ran the two lane law school chapter
the federalist society. he had a chapter. please. [applause] he has a clerk for judge meyer wisdom here he served as deputy and alabama attorney general for years. you might not know he served on the set -- sentencing commission. he has been in private practice and taught in law schools. i would say if he touches the law, he is pretty much in there. the concerns the federalist society, he has done that. please welcome me in joining -- please join me in welcoming chief judge prior. [applause] mr. sullivan: -- william: good morning. thank you for that introduction. it is a pleasure be here with you and with his great society.
as always, i am looking forward to the addresses, debates, and discussions for this convention. this year, we celebrate an important anniversary, as dean mentioned. four years ago stephen, who is a law student at yale university, planned with his friends lieberman and mcintosh, who are law students at the university of chicago a three-day symposium in new haven on an academic topic. federalism, legal and political ramifications. among the speakers for that symposium, were robert borg, anthony sleep -- glia and ted olson. president reagan appointed its on the court of appeals for the district of columbia that same year.
ted olson served in the office of legal counsel and department of justice. about 200 people attended the symposium. so began at the federalist society for law and public policy studies. what started as an organization for law students, grew quickly. for my part, i arrived as a first-year student in two lane law school, in the fall of 1984. two years after the society's first symposium, at the orientation for first-year students representatives of the student organization spoke and encouraged us to become involved in extracurricular activities. most of the students, student groups like the law review or student bar association had no ideological agenda. one student group clearly did. the president of the new chapter
of the national lawyers guild, explained its history as a liberal counterweight to what he called the conservative american bar association. [applause] that presentation made me think that they needed a student organization. one dedicated to traditional anglo-american ideas about the rule of law. there was no internet to search yet. none of us students could yet afford personal computers. nor did we have cell phones. we at buckley junior was publishing national review. which had covered the formation of the federalist society. i searched my back issues and found an advertisement for the society, with a phone number for an office in washington d.c. i called the number, which in
those days was a big deal for a poor law student on a tight budget because the call was long-distance. [laughter] the societies first and then only employee, eugene meyer answered the call. [laughter] with his guidance i worked afterward with another student to plan our first event. as similar efforts happened all over the country. today the federalist society sponsors thousands of programs with tens of thousands of participants and attendees. it has chapters at more than 200 american law schools, with more than 10,000 student members. annually at host national symposium for hundreds of students, law professors, judges, public officials and policy experts. it has chapters for lawyers in about 100 cities, with more than 65,000 members. it has a faculty division that
sponsors programs for current and aspiring law professors. for decades it held this national lawyers convention in our capital. we have a lot to celebrate. what is our mission? name for the founders who favored the ratification of our constitution and sporting a logo with the best of the father of the constitution, james madison. the society is founded on the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom. the separation of powers is central to our constitution, and it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be. through programs, publications, videos and podcasts, it seeks to promote awareness of these principles and further their application. from the start, the federal society has promoted rigorous and open debate as the best way
to ensure the founding principles of our constitution receive a fair hearing. the results speak for themselves. once again, thousands of lawyers, judges, academics, public officials and students have gathered for this convention to hear public speeches and debates about the rule of law covered by a free press. in many ways, it is as if we are holding the yale symposium again for a bigger crowd, at a fancier venue, with better food. [laughter] on the surface, not much else has changed. on this happy occasion i must ask, is there more to this story ? are we ready to consider the tough questions? do we care about debate as we say we do? if so, what are the critical things?
or is there more to the federalist society the meets the eye? what do we really do? after four years, i decided it was time to look harder. and investigate the secretive and mysterious network that critics charge has captured the federal judiciary. including the supreme court of the united states. i researched the topic, and odyssey itself. when i found exceeded even my wildest expectations. i quickly discovered that i should not waste my time attending the thousands of public events at hundred of student lawyers chapters, nor sure -- should i bother with the harvard journal of law and public policy, back issues of engage or federalist society review. the youtube videos and podcasts, the pages of information on the website. the critics explain that the public operation provides only
camouflage. as the riders at slate and rick katzen explained. the federalist society has styled itself a debating society long after it ceased being to be anything of the source. as intellectual luminary, ellie missed all -- mistol, had said they are able to operate in relative anonymity. quietly working to destroy the equal protection rights of women and minorities. to get to the truth, i had to go to the shadows. where the real operation of the society happens. wait a minute. there we go. [laughter] my odyssey began by consulting the work of a longtime critic.
a leader of the world's greatest deliberative body, the u.s. senate. they are doing deep thoughtful and insightful research has been a form of federal prosecutor. my former colleague as a state attorney general, and delete lawyer seasoned investigator i speak of sheldon whitehouse of rhode island. we decided to meet at a private beach club. [laughter] or as he calls it, a long tradition on the coast of rhode island. where he insisted we would find no operatives in the shadows. truth be told, what senator whitehouse has discovered is more startling than anything i could've imagined. according to the senator, for years "dark money operatives, looking from the shadows have installed supreme court justices, handpicked by the
minions of far right denizens. at --. ". millions of american voters, past presidents of the u.s., and united states senators only provided camouflage for the real operation. at the center of that stealth operation has been a reclusive leader of this society. the cochair of the border directions. leonard leo, senator has put it, leonard leo is the little spider that you find at the center of the dark money web. [laughter] his spiderweb extends to state courts, city councils, and even local schools. to subvert democracy with dark money. the senator has also explained that all of you in attendance
for this convention has one thing in common. you all know leonard. he knows all of you. [laughter] as commentator tripp brennan of u.s. puts it, dark money conservative groups represent the death star of the conservative legal movement. leonard leo is darth vader and the emperor rolled into one. [laughter] that democratic policy and communications committee has even provided an illustration of the spiderweb to identify the power players in the society. this illustrator -- illustration helps you understand how the power players do the real work in the shadows. let's take a look. i start with what they call the audiological brain trust. ideological brain trust. they doubt the influence of
contemporary legal scholarship up on american law. i said to the brain trust, do not work. your place is secure. senator explains, if you are out to deconstruct american law and replace it with what the big donors went, you need some intellectual weaponry. you do not just need justices who will do what you ask. you need legal theories. you need to get the justices you put on the court the intellectual artillery, demolition theories that will help them destroy the presidents -- presidents and deconstruct our legal system. you need at the brain trust to systematically cheerlead for cultivated fringe ideas. for young and aspiring law professors worried about a topic for your next law review article, i say be not afraid. the senator explains the legal theories are easy to come up
with. [laughter] you reverse engineer, you start with what they want and work backwards. there you have it. you need legal theories, intellectual artillery to deconstruct our legal system. but these theories are easy to come up with through reverse engineering. everybody got that? let's turn to the law clerks and the students. if you are new to the federalist society, find its mission statement obscure. what are the great journalists of our tribe had a venerable institution for investigative journalism. i speak of joe patrice on above the law. as the state of the work of the society into three steps. three steps.
first, lay the pseudo-academic table for the maca movement. the pseudo-agate table for the maga movement. whatever that means. second, recruit students to indulge their controllers in paul -- impulses while putting them on greased rails to the bench. [laughter] that sounds painful. [laughter] regardless of actual qualifications,". third, most of all, this is key. serve chick-fil-a. [laughter] i suspect many law students are here for one day -- think, the food. as fox always attended the
federalist society events because they have the best food. and to the best alcohol. students angelo clerks have a great weekend, and enjoy the food. -- students and law clerks, have agreed weekend and food. students dreaming of becoming judges, i would've advise you to study hard, get good grades, become an editor, get a clerkship to start your career, practice at a law firm and perform public service. catherine rubino tells us that thanks to the society, ideological purity and pursuit of a far right agenda is the single most important to feed a four conservative nominees. no less than authority than mark joseph stern. is there less of an authority? [laughter] he has explained that federalist society judges tend to hire federalist society clerks and
conservative legal movement rock -- endless line of young lawyers more extreme than their predecessors. over the past half-century, each generation of conservative attorneys, particularly with judicial ambition have become more radical than the last. now to the finest product of the radel -- radicalization. my people. the judges. judges, if you are wearing a hearing aid you might want to turn it up. the senator says although money talks, dark money whispers. [laughter] rick helpfully explained that the ostensible neutrality of the ferret are lost society provides cover so sitting judges and justices can speak at federalist society events and use the network to recruit judicial clerks who can come into the
pipeline to further -- help conservative ideas without running afoul of rules barring judges from engaging in partisan political activities. they say it is also a showcase to a vat and prep future judges. if i understand them, the federalist society is a combined lecture circuit, and career placement service for a law school, but a sensible neutrality. i think they may have us confused with leo -- yale. i will ask the judge hope. [laughter] what about the educational program? above the law explains recent decisions by the supreme court on abortion, establishment clause, the second amendment and administrative state have created eight health scape -- created a health scape.
so, if you are a judge, this convention offers you a unique educational opportunity. to get ahead of the curve and to start work on the sequel he health scape two. -- health scape 2. not all critics are on the left. consider harvard law professor adrian who published an op-ed in the washington post entitled there is no conservative legal movement. there is no conservative legal movement. what a coincidence to run into all of you here this morning. [laughter] for the last three years the professor has been composing a requiem for what he calls originalism inc. and touting a better originalism he calls common good constitutionalism. what i call his living common
good is in. he might have heard i am a skeptic. after reading the professor's op-ed and watching the recent term of the supreme court. jean meyer feels like president truman holding the newspaper with the headline dewey defeats truman. [laughter] if you are a practitioner at the supreme court, you might not recognize the next time you visit. brooks of democracy docket warns that they have sought to make the federal court unrecognizable and when supreme court term seems to have accomplished that. perhaps we should hold a convention there next year. no, the rooms are too small and the food is better here. [laughter] we could never leave the mayflower hotel. too many special memories at this hotel.
for those of you who are attending the convention for the first time. the critics have special insights about this event. jay willis of ballston strikes calls this convention a three-day festival of conservative legal movement luminaires explaining the correct schools of jurisprudential thought are those that yield the conservative legal movements preferred policy outcomes. he describes the society as win of the most powerful reactionary forces in the legal universe. begrudgingly admits, makes the participation of many non-reactionaries and its fancy events parts baffling and alarming. a more objective source, professor stephen tells us describes us as a network to give conservatives a chance to meet one another and check one
another out. his words. [laughter] i suspect many have been looking forward to checking each other out. [laughter] perhaps now is a good time to announce the launch of the new dating up. swipe right. [laughter] [applause] -- are excited about its release. this week. i hear next year they will launch another dating app or the national student symposium. they will call it legal tender. [laughter] the society will hold its annual antonin scalia at memorial dinner. or what vox.com describes as a ball for the who's who in the legal movement -- conservative legal movement.
i guess we are like back tests. -- baptist. we dress up and eat great food and drink. they tell me about 2000 people have tickets for the inter-. in fact we are sold out. those of you who made the cut, congratulations. tonight, take a selfie. posted on social media, put it on the front bio. you are now listed in who's who and the conservative legal movement. for those of you on the waiting list, keep trying. better luck next year. [laughter] to sum things up per vox.com. you can make a real case that the federalist society is the most influential advocacy organization in washington and its through begin with a small startup grant from the ohman foundation. it is just another way america's
philanthropic system which rich donors get lavish tax breaks for donations that can, if used properly profoundly alter public policy, can class with norms of democracy. -- clash with norms of democracy. i do not know about you. i would stop -- call a student group starting with a grant for an academic conference and grown to one of the most influential organizations in the u.s., permitting the constitution and to the rule of law and organizational example of the american dream. may god bless america, and may god bless this federalist society. enjoy the food. [laughter] [applause]
arlington national cemetery for the national veterans day observance. at 1 p.m., the vietnam veterans memorial fund holds its 2022 veterans day ceremony to mark the 40th in verse three of the dedication of the vietnam veterans memorial. at 4:30 p.m., liz cheney speaks about her time in congress, the future of the gop and what is next for her as she finishes out her term. u will find our live coverage streaming at c-span.org, or on c-span now, our free video app. >> sunday on q and a. former boston globe reporter and biographer and author of ted kennedy of le. it looked at the life of political career of the senator from massachusetts. he talked about the clinic -- kennedy dynasty and the tragedies around ted kennedy. including the 1959 car accident. >> he was a cousin and a
fountain the following martin -- morning he was having breakfast in riata. he said no i will tell. we will go with the story that mary jo was driving. they said you cannot do that. you cannot do that. still did not go to the police. they went to the phone so he can talk to other advisors. and while they were doing that, they saw the ambulance and hirsch -- hers go to chappaquiddick, and they had about 15 minutes to get to the police and make some kind of report. which in its own way with candid and said i w the driver of that car. >> john and his book had kennedy, sendak a eastern on q&a you can listen to queuing day and all our past costs on our c-span now