The events that have taken place during the past twelve months have only increased the national discussion about the proper role of government within a free society, and the subordinate problem of regulation as it expands or contracts that role. This surge in the national discussion on the nature of government is one of several factors that have made 2012 a good year institutionally for the Federalist Society. In the 2012 academic year the Society’s Student Division once again grew sharply, by over 20%, hosting 1,587 events. At the same time, attendance at Student Division events increased by approximately 10%. Likewise our Lawyers Chapters, Practice Groups, State Courts Project, and Faculty Division have shown solid growth, while retaining their focus on studying core constitutional principles and scrutinizing the role that government plays within a republic.
The Federalist Society’s major conferences stress this focus. The 2012 Student Symposium, held at Stanford Law School on March 2–3, discussed “Bureaucracy Unbound: Can Limited Government and the Administrative State Co-Exist?” and examined the connections between the rule of law, the administrative state, and limited government. The 2012 National Lawyers Convention, held in Washington, D.C. on November 15–17, addressed “The Future of U.S. Constitutional Law in the Supreme Court,” focusing particularly on issues of federalism and separation of powers in relation to Supreme Court jurisprudence historically and in our own time.
During the year ahead the Federalist Society will continue to explore these issues and to further develop the capable group of students and lawyers who, as friends and members of the Society, will persevere in defending and promoting our constitutional principles in the days to come. It is important for us to remember, as we mark 30 years of laboring to improve the state of the legal order, that ideas have a long gestation period, and that to gain ground, we must reinforce and advance them in each new generation of law students and legal scholars.
As economic difficulties persist in the United States, and even more abroad, it is an appropriate time to ask what effect the rule of law manifested in our constitutional structure has on the economy and, even more importantly, on society at large. Mindful of our current circumstances, I want to assure you that the Federalist Society will increase its emphasis on questions in this consequential area during the year ahead—in which task, as always, we look forward to collaborating with our many dedicated volunteers, whose assistance makes our work effective.
Eugene B. Meyer