The only women on the board of NYU’s Federalist Society chapter resigned in protest after the chapter decided to invite a male anti-abortion speaker who doesn’t even bother with fig leaf legal justifications for his opposition to Roe and instead just thinks the courts should embrace theocracy. This prompted the resigning board members to draft a letter outlining their frustrations with the whole process and their systematic marginalization.
Not to belittle the honest concerns of these women, but this letter reads like “we joined the Zombie Cannibalism Club for the camaraderie and we’re shocked and dismayed by all the zombie cannibalism going on around here.”
In a discussion following the second vote, the President admitted that the motivation for this event was to have a pro-life vs. pro-choice debate and express a view of “what the law should be,” admitting his initial reasoning for the event (a discussion of the legal arguments in Dobbs) was pretextual. This runs in direct opposition to one of the primary tenets of the Federalist Society — rule of law, which is for the judiciary to say what the law is” and “not what it should be.”
Oh. No. That’s not the primary tenet of this organization at all. If there is a primary tenet to the Federalist Society it might actually be the word “pretextual.” It’s “just a debate society” to the extent it dupes the occasional moderate lawyer into showing up and lending the organization their credibility. But the core mission is always to cultivate a right-wing legal subculture.
Instead, certain board members have suggested the most polarising Ben Shapiro-esque activist lawyer types to come talk. .
Yeah… that’s the Federalist Society. Chapters of this organization invited anti-gay bigots to rail against Windsor and Obergefell while they were coming up and cultivated a borderline obsession with Chick-fil-A that carries on to this day. Chapters run counter Pride Days! The authors decry their chapter’s antics as if this is some sort of new turn, but this is what the Federalist Society has always been.
Except they used to serve pizza.
Speakers who will alienate female members of the board, will draw a lot of anger from the NYU Law community, and make it clear that NYU Law FedSoc does not stand for the principles it claims it stands for of being a nonpartisan organisation interested in rule of law and individual rights, and instead is an activist conservative Republican organisation disinterested in legitimate legal inquiry.
On the subject of giving out free pizza, there’s always one or two FedSoc members who just stumbled into a classroom looking for a cheap meal and who really don’t care about the club’s ideological mission. But one would hope that by the time a student makes it onto the BOARD they’d figured out what was up. The organization’s leadership was actively moonlighting for the Trump White House. The whole point of the Federalist Society is to identify and nurture right-wing law students so they can become right-wing jurists when they get older. Or maybe they don’t even need to get older first. It’s a purely ideological mission.
Please accept our sincerest apologies for failing to prevent NYU Law’s chapter of the Federalist Society from following the national trend of becoming Turning Point USA, Law School Edition.
I’ll just let the astronauts answer this one.
Giving these women the benefit of the doubt, maybe they’d hoped to make the NYU chapter into a more old-school Ron Paul libertarian sort of thing. But that’s not how these things work. The motivation for most people joining this club will always be to shore up connections with right-wing legal figures and, for better or worse, that favors the most aggressive trolling. There may have been a kernel of a civil, measured Federalist Society at one point, but a civil, measured Federalist Society doesn’t get people plugged in with the power players in the conservative legal movement and those power players are folks like these activist anti-abortion attorneys. The group will always gravitate to the more radical corners of the movement because the people they need to impress to get their clerkships and Jones Day offers and House internships are all firmly ensconced in the more radical corners of the movement.
And so it goes.
Joe Patrice is a senior editor at Above the Law and co-host of Thinking Like A Lawyer. Feel free to email any tips, questions, or comments. Follow him on Twitter if you’re interested in law, politics, and a healthy dose of college sports news. Joe also serves as a Managing Director at RPN Executive Search.