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Monday, October 10, 2005

Roberts, Miers, and the Federalist Society

Back when the nominee du jour was John Roberts, a few liberals expressed concern over his possible membership in the Federalist Society.  Some conservatives were quick to argue that the Federalist Society is not some monolithic conservative brotherhood, but rather a diverse organization representing a wide-range of political, religious, and jurisprudential views.

But now that Miers is the nominee, conservatives seem to be singing a different tune.  Suddenly, the Federalist Society is described as the exemplar of "movement conservatism" and "the most important organization in the legal conservative movement’s history."  In fact, the fact that Miers distances herself from the Federalist Society suggests that she isn't really a conservative at all.

I'll say this much: there is indeed diversity of opinion on the right side of the aisle.

Posted by Hillel Levin on October 10, 2005 at 09:45 AM in Hillel Levin | Permalink


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I was mostly going for the funny. I should add that I have high regard for the Federalist Society.

I mostly agree with you that being *against* the federalist society suggests that one may not be jurisprudentially conservative. I'm not certain that's what Miers said; and even if she said it, I don't know what it means, given that her favorite justice is good ol' "Warren."

But I think that the opposite is also true. That is, if a person does strongly identify with the Federalist Society, it suggests (with the capability of being rebutted, of course) that she is conservative jurisprudentially. If that's right, then it is fair to ask Roberts whether he is/was a member--since he wouldn't tell us anything else about his jurisprudence.

Note: I supported the Roberts nomination, and would have even if he had been the Grand Mufti of the Federalist Society. I don't think the Federalist Society is a fringy/extremist organization. But I think there is some tension in arguing that federalist society-related questions should have been off the table for Roberts; but suddenly they are of vital importance for Miers. Kind of like asking questions about Roerts' religious views was uncouth; whereas for Miers, it appears to be her greatest asset.

Posted by: Hillel Levin | Oct 10, 2005 1:05:34 PM

Funny post, although the two positions aren't inconsistent. The Federalist Society *is* very diverse, and it is very important in the conservative movement as a home to many different types of conservative and libertarian legal ideas. Someone who objects to the Federalist Society therefore would seem to object to the whole group of different conservative ideas, and it's hard to say how such a person could be a conservative.

Posted by: Fed Soc member | Oct 10, 2005 12:54:30 PM

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