Dear Friends and Supporters:
America is in the middle of a momentous national discussion about the size and role of the federal government and, correspondingly, about the role of the regulatory state in that government. The investigation of questions regarding the government’s size, scope, and regulatory activity is intimately connected to our mission of promoting the principles of freedom, the separation of governmental powers, and the rule of law. In consequence, the country’s increasingly keen sense of the significance of these principles has been evident in a growing demand for our programming, especially among those still in law school. In 2010-11 our Student Division had its most productive year ever, hosting over 1,280 events at law schools across the country—12.3% more than in the previous year. Attendance at individual events also increased, indicating that students’ interest in our programming is stronger than ever.
All the Federalist Society’s formal programs advance and clarify the rule of law debate in various ways. In November our 2011 National Lawyers Convention called upon its attendees to consider whether our Constitution is “The Constitution of Small Government?” Our March 2012 Student Symposium will reflect on “Bureaucracy Unbound: Can Limited Government and the Administrative State Co-Exist?” These recent conferences maintain a theme which the Society has addressed frequently over the past four years. The 2010 National Lawyers Convention, “Controlling Government: The Framers, the Tea Parties and the Constitution,” also dealt with the size and scope of government. The 2011 Student Symposium, “Capitalism, Markets, and the Constitution,” involved a similar examination of regulatory activity, its effects on our economic life, and the economic system implied by our Constitution. Indeed, much of our programming over the years has centered on this subject.
In 2011 the Federalist Society focused on the relation between government and a free society and the role that the law, our courts, and our judicial system play in preserving and defining that relation. We will continue this focus in 2012. As always, we seek to foster a civil, energetic, and issue-oriented debate.
If public discussions are any indication, our country is more preoccupied by these principles now than at any time since its early days. Although this preoccupation has arisen largely from the current climate of widespread frustration with the political process, we find it heartening, because we believe that the principles considered in these discussions are critical to preserving a free society. It is at times of public stress and distress that people are driven to contemplate the ideas upon which our republic stands. We are striving to contribute to this discussion, so that in the end it will lead to a strengthening of our constitutional republic and of the free society which that republic has protected for more than two centuries. We are grateful to many of you for having been part of our efforts, and we look forward to working with you in the years to come.
Eugene B. Meyer