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2020 National Lawyers Convention

The Rule of Law and the Current Crisis

November 9 — 13, 2020
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The Federalist Society is pleased to announce that its annual National Lawyers Convention will be held virtually during the week of November 9-13, 2020. Distinguished guests and experts will deliver addresses, participate in debates, and contribute to panel discussions focusing on the theme of “The Rule of Law and the Current Crisis.”

These virtual events will be broadcast each weekday from Monday, November 9 to Friday, November 13, with Practice Group Breakout Sessions on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and a mixture of showcase panels, debates, and addresses on Thursday. Registration is free (except for those wishing to register for CLE credit) and all virtual events will be open to the public. You do not need to be a member or have an online account in order to register for any of the sessions.

Click here for CLE Instructions

As always, in keeping with the Federalist Society's long-standing tradition of balanced and spirited debate, we have invited speakers with a wide variety of perspectives to participate in each panel discussion. We aim to make thoughtful, diverse discussions of today's most pressing legal and policy issues accessible and engaging to all.

We hope you will make plans to join us in November. We are excited for this year's virtual Convention, we encourage you to tune in, and we invite you to learn more about the work we do at the Federalist Society.

Further details will be posted on our website and circulated by email as they become available.

2020 NATIONAL LAWYERS CONVENTION SCHEDULE

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 9

Religious Liberties: Religious Liberty and the New Court
11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Environmental Law & Property Rights: EPA Turns 50: A Debate on Environmental Progress and Regulatory Overreach
12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.

Criminal Law: Prosecutorial Discretion, Partisanship, and the Rule of Law
2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Administrative Law & Regulation: Regulatory Practice and Oversight in 2021 and Beyond
3:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 10

Free Speech & Election Law: Rule of Law, or Just Making it Up? First Amendment Tiered Scrutiny
11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Professional Responsibility & Legal Education: Freedom of Association in the Legal Profession
12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.

Corporations, Securities & Antitrust and Telecommunications & Electronic Media: Regulating Social Media
2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Litigation: Are MDL Judges Too Powerful?
3:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 11

International & National Security Law: The Law, China, and the Possible New Cold War
11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Labor & Employment Law: Agency Leaders on Labor Policy
12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.

Intellectual Property: Intellectual Property Rights and the Rule of Law
2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Civil Rights: Modern Quandaries of Law Enforcement
3:45 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 12

Showcase Discussion: A Discussion with Professors Robert George and Cornel West on Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Thought, the Black Lives Matter Movement, and the Cancel Culture
11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Showcase Panel I: Law, Social Justice, Wokeness and the Protests: Where Do We Go From Here?
12:45 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.

Address by Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia
2:45 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.

Showcase Panel II: The Presidency and the Rule of Law
4:15 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.

Address by Judge Janice Rogers Brown
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Address
8:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. 

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 13

Special Session: The Future of the Second Amendment's Right to Keep and Bear Arms: From the Supreme Court to Social Unrest
11:00 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Financial Services & E-Commerce: Agency Leaders on Cryptocurrency, Blockchain, and the Evolution of a Central Bank Digital Currency
12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.

Federalism & Separation of Powers: Emergency Powers and the Rule of Law
2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

 

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Hon. Paul S. Atkins, Chief Executive Officer, Patomak Global Partners, LLC; Former Commissioner, United States Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Prof. Stephanie Barclay, Associate Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame Law School
  • Prof. Randy E. Barnett, Patrick Hotung Professor of Constitutional Law, Georgetown University Law Center
  • Hon. Duane Benton, United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • Prof. Ashutosh Bhagwat, Boochever and Bird Endowed Chair for the Study and Teaching of Freedom and Equality; Martin Luther King Jr. Professor of Law, University of California, Davis School of Law
  • Ms. Susan Bodine, Assistant Administrator, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, United States Environmental Protection Agency
  • Mrs. Jennifer C. Braceras, Director, Independent Woman's Law Center
  • Prof. Gerard V. Bradley, Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame Law School
  • Hon. Elizabeth "Lisa" Branch, United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  • Mr. Brian P. Brooks, Acting Comptroller of the Currency, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, United States Department of the Treasury
  • Hon. Janice Rogers Brown, United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit (ret.); Former Associate Judge, California Supreme Court
  • Hon. Patrick J. Bumatay, United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • Prof. Elizabeth Chamblee Burch, Fuller E. Callaway Chair of Law, University of Georgia School of Law
  • Hon. Brendan Carr, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission
  • Hon. Ronald A. Cass, Dean Emeritus, Boston University School Law; President, Cass & Associates 
  • Prof. Jorge Contreras, Professor of Law, University of Utah School of Law 
  • Dr. John Eastman, Professor of Law, Dave E. Fowler Law School, Chapman University
  • Mr. W. Neil Eggleston, Partner, Kirkland & Ellis, LLP, Former White House Counsel
  • Prof. Richard Epstein, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law and Director, Classical Liberal Institute, New York University School of Law; Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution
  • Mr. Harold Feld, Senior Vice President, Public Knowledge
  • Prof. Brian T. Fitzpatrick, Milton R. Underwood Chair in Free Enterprise, Vanderbilt University Law School
  • Mr. Scott Fulton, President, Environmental Law Institute; Former General Counsel, United States Environmental Protection Agency
  • Prof. Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director, James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, Princeton University 
  • Hon. Jack L. Goldsmith, Professor of Law, Harvard University; Former Assistant Attorney General, United States Department of Justice
  • Hon. Britt C. Grant, United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  • Amb. C. Boyden Gray, Founding Partner, Boyden Gray & Associates; Former White House Counsel; Former Ambassador to the European Union
  • Hon. Thomas B. Griffith, United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit (ret.)
  • Mr. Gary G. Grindler, Retired Partner, King & Spalding; Former, Acting Deputy Attorney General, United States Department of Justice
  • Mr. Deepak Gupta, Founding Principal, Gupta Wessler PLLC
  • Hon. Sharon Fast Gustafson, General Counsel, United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • Amb. Richard Haass, President, Council of Foreign Relations; Former Director of Policy Planning, United States Department of State
  • Hon. F. Henry “Hank” Habicht, Principal, Global Water 2020; Managing Director, United States Water Partnership; Managing Partner, SAIL Capital Partners
  • Ms. Kathleen Ham, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, T-Mobile
  • Hon. Thomas M. Hardiman, United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit
  • Prof. Lisa Heinzerling, Justice William J. Brennan Jr., Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
  • Hon. James C. Ho, United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • Mr. W. William Hodes, Owner and President, The William Hodes Law Firm
  • Hon. Ryan T. Holte, United States Court of Federal Claims
  • Mr. Phil Johnson, Founder and Principal, Johnson-IP Strategy and Policy Consulting; Former Senior Vice President and Chief Intellectual Property Counsel, Johnson & Johnson
  • Hon. Edith H. Jones, Chief Judge, United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
  • Hon. Gregory G. Katsas, United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
  • Hon. Sally Katzen, Professor of Practice and Distinguished Scholar in Resident; Co-Director, Legislative and Regulatory Process Clinic, New York University School of Law
  • Prof. Randall Kennedy, Michael R. Klein Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
  • Prof. Julian Ku, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Faculty Director, International Programs, Maurice A. Deane School of Law, Hofstra University
  • Ms. Genevieve Lakier, Assistant Professor of Law, Herbert and Marjorie Fried Teaching Scholar, University of Chicago Law School
  • Hon. Barbara Lagoa, United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  • Hon. Kenneth K. Lee, United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • Ms. Heather Mac Donald, Contributing Editor, City Journal, Manhattan Institute
  • Mr. Andrew C. McCarthy, Contributing Editor, National Review; Senior Fellow, National Review Institute: Contributor, Fox News; Former Chief Assistant United States Attorney, Southern District of New York
  • Mr. Robert McNamara, Senior Attorney, Institute for Justice
  • Hon. Brent J. McIntosh, Undersecretary for International Affairs, United States Department of the Treasury
  • Prof. John O. McGinnis, George C. Dix Professor of Constitutional Law, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
  • Hon. Michael B. Mukasey, Of Counsel, Debevoise & Plimpton; Former United States Attorney General; Former Chief Judge, United States District Court, Southern District of New York
  • Hon. Ryan D. Nelson, United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • Mr. John Ohlendorf, Associate, Cooper & Kirk, PLLC
  • Hon. Theodore B. Olson, Partner, Gibson Dunn; Former United States Solicitor General
  • Hon. Hester M. Peirce, Commissioner, United States Securities and Exchange Commission 
  • Hon. William H. Pryor Jr., United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  • Hon. Neomi Rao, United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
  • Hon. Mike Rogers, Board of Trustees, Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress; Former United States Representative; Former Chairman, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
  • Hon. Peter B. Robb, General Counsel, United States National Labor Relations Board
  • Prof. Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
  • Hon. Eugene Scalia, Secretary of Labor, United States Department of Labor 
  • Mr. Christopher A. Seeger, Partner, Seeger Weiss LLP
  • Mr. Ilya Shapiro, Director, Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies, The CATO Institute 
  • Prof. Mark W. Smith, Senior Fellow in Law and Public Policy: Presidential Scholar, The King's College
  • Hon. Cheryl Stanton, Administrator, Wage and Hour Division, United States Department of Labor
  • Mr. Charles “Cully” Stimson, Senior Legal Fellow and Manager, National Security Law Program, The Heritage Foundation
  • Hon. David R. Stras, United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit
  • Prof. Nadine Strossen, John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law Emerita, New York Law School; Former President, American Civil Liberties Union
  • Hon. Karyn A. Temple, Senior Executive Vice President and Global General Counsel, Motion Picture Association; Former Register of Copyrights, United States Copyright Office
  • Hon. Amul R. Thapar, United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit
  • Hon. Lawrence Van Dyke, United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • Prof. Eugene Volokh, Gary T. Schwartz Distinguished Professor of Law, University of California, Los Angeles School of Law
  • Hon. Kenneth L. Wainstein, Partner, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP; Former, United States Homeland Security Advisor; Former Assistant Attorney General, National Security, United States Department of Justice; Former United States Attorney, Washington D.C. 
  • Prof. Cornel R. West, Professor of Public Philosophy, Harvard University; Professor Emeritus, Princeton University 
  • Prof. Adam J. White, Assistant Professor of Law, Director, C. Boyden Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University; Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute
  • Hon. Christine Wilson, Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission 
  • Ms. Lori Windham, Senior Counsel, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty
  • Ms. Elizabeth B. Wydra, President, Constitutional Accountability Center
  • Prof. John C. Yoo, Emanuel S. Heller Professor of Law; Co-Faculty Director, Korea Law Center; Director, Public Law & Policy Program, University of California, Berkeley School of Law
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11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Religious Liberties: Religious Liberty and the New Court

2020 National Lawyers Convention

Topics: Constitution • Culture • First Amendment • Religious Liberty • Religious Liberties • Supreme Court
Zoom Webinar

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Description

 

Religious liberty and religious free exercise in the modern era often involve the question of when religious exemptions are appropriate or required. A well-trodden debate asks whether the Free Exercise Clause provides relief only from laws that target religion, or whether it also requires courts to grant exemptions from generally applicable laws that happen to burden religion.  But much less has been said about how courts should implement either of these two readings.  First, how can courts tell if a law is truly general in application?  If religious entities must be treated as well as secular analogues, what makes a secular entity "analogous"?  Second, if the Free Exercise Clause requires something more than even-handed treatment of religious entities, what more is needed?  What sort of test should be used to determine when to grant exemptions from a general law?  The first question came up repeatedly in cases challenging the shutdown orders prompted by COVID-19, and is also at issue in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. Depending on how the Court decides that case, it may address the second question as well. This panel explores both questions.

Featuring:

  • Prof. Stephanie Barclay, Associate Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame Law School
  • Prof. Gerard V. Bradley, Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame Law School
  • Prof. Eugene Volokh, Gary T. Schwartz Distinguished Professor of Law, University of California, Los Angeles School of Law 
  • Ms. Lori Windham, Senior Counsel, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty
  • Moderator: Hon. Neomi Rao, United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

Speakers

12:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.
Environmental Law & Property Rights: EPA Turns 50: A Debate on Environmental Progress and Regulatory Overreach

2020 National Lawyers Convention

Topics: Administrative Law & Regulation • Environmental & Energy Law • Separation of Powers • Federalism & Separation of Powers • Environmental Law & Property Rights
Zoom Webinar

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Description

 

Since 1970, the United States has made significant progress in protecting the nation’s water, cleaning up our air and land, and safeguarding human health.  Harmful air emissions have declined almost 80%, while the U.S. economy has grown by 275% over the same timeframe.  Drinking water in America is safer and better than ever in most communities. And through EPA programs like Superfund, contaminated lands are being remediated. Though some challenges persist, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is credited by many as being the primary driver of dramatic environmental progress in the United States over the last half-century.  The current EPA Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, recently remarked: “ America is – and will remain— the gold standard for environmental protection.” Nevertheless, EPA has remained at the forefront of public controversy since it was created by executive order by President Nixon in 1970, and it is more true now than ever before. Environmental activists continue to press the agency to regulate further afield of EPA’s statutory mandates while regulated industries perceive systematic regulatory overreach.  States, too, have raised concerns about EPA’s adherence to cooperative federalism principles. Some claim EPA has fallen behind on environmental enforcement, while others contend that enforcement declines reflect greater environmental compliance and progress.  Marking EPA’s Golden Anniversary, this convention panel will reflect on EPA’s past and present, while also looking ahead to EPA’s future.  What can we expect from the EPA over the next 50 years?  What role should the agency continue to play in environmental protection and what should be its focus?  Are reforms necessary to increase accountability and transparency at EPA?  Is EPA ignoring the true costs and benefits of its regulations? Will EPA ever reach an enduring regulatory approach to topics like “Waters of the United States” and climate change? What steps should Congress take to ensure that EPA is right-sized with the resources needed to tackle the environmental challenges of the next 50 years? Should some of EPA’s powers and programs be returned to the States? Moderated by one of the newest judges on the Ninth Circuit, our panel of experts – with current and former EPA leaders from both sides of the aisle – will provide crucial insights into these and other questions.

Featuring:

  • Ms. Susan Bodine, Assistant Administrator, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, United States Environmental Protection Agency
  • Mr. Scott Fulton, President, Environmental Law Institute; Former General Counsel, United States 
  • Environmental Protection Agency
  • Hon. F. Henry “Hank” Habicht, Principal, Global Water 2020; Managing Director, United States Water Partnership; Managing Partner, SAIL Capital Partners
  • Prof. Lisa Heinzerling, Justice William J. Brennan Jr., Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
  • Moderator: Hon. Lawrence VanDyke, United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Speakers

2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Criminal Law: Prosecutorial Discretion, Partisanship, and the Rule of Law

2020 National Lawyers Convention

Topics: Criminal Law & Procedure • Politics
Zoom Webinar

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Description

 

In recent years, politically controversial criminal investigations have occupied an enormous part of our national discussion.  The Special Counsel investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election, the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email practices, and other high-profile investigation have caused many elected officials and other commentators to raise concerns about the influence political partisanship and institutional hubris may be playing in prosecutorial decision-making and the potential effects on the rule of law.  Leaders in both the major political parties have accused the other side of abrogating or undermining the rule of law for polar-opposite reasons in the same investigations and cases.  This panel will assess this debate and attempt to shed light on the dynamics at play and examine what the rule of law at the federal level means today, including:

  • the roles and responsibilities of political and career officials in federal law enforcement and the implications for inappropriate partisan influence;
  • the legal and prudential limits of influence on the Department of Justice by the President and other actors in the Executive Branch;
  • the lawful and appropriate scope of prosecutorial discretion;
  • the role that the growth in the breadth and coverage of federal criminal statutes has played in the present circumstances; and
  • the implications these actions are having on the confidence in and reputation of the Department of Justice and the rule of law.

Featuring:

  • Mr. Gary G. Grindler, Retired Partner, King & Spalding; Former Acting Deputy Attorney General, United States Department of Justice 
  • Mr. Andrew C. McCarthy, Contributing Editor, National Review; Senior Fellow, National Review Institute: Contributor, Fox News; Former Chief Assistant United States Attorney, Southern District of New York
  • Hon. Michael B. Mukasey, Of Counsel, Debevoise & Plimpton; Former United States Attorney General; Former Chief Judge, United States District Court, Southern District of New York
  • Hon. Kenneth L. Wainstein, Partner, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP; Former United States Homeland Security Advisor; Former Assistant Attorney General, National Security, United States Department of Justice; Former United States Attorney, Washington D.C.
  • Moderator: Hon. Barbara Lagoa, United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

Speakers

3:45 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Administrative Law & Regulation: Regulatory Practice and Oversight in 2021 and Beyond

2020 National Lawyers Convention

Topics: Administrative Law & Regulation • Separation of Powers • Federalism & Separation of Powers
Zoom Webinar

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While we think of “The Administrative State” as the relatively permanent apparatus of government, it has no lawful powers beyond those vested in officials the voters have chosen.  “[T]he Constitution presumes that lesser executive officers will assist the President in discharging his duties.”  (Seila Law)  Those duties are, for the most part, implementing, administering, and enforcing the provisions of the laws Congress has enacted.  What, then, are the implications of the 2020 elections for regulatory policy?

From the earliest days of his Administration, President Trump made it a priority to cut back on the regulations he believed were impeding American economic success.  Among other things, he instructed agencies to drop two regulations for each one added, and to comply with all procedural requirements in issuing guidance, and the Department of Justice announced it would not defend “subregulatory guidance.”  In response to the arrival and spread of the contagious and deadly novel coronavirus, additional regulatory streamlining accelerated the approval of vaccines and other medical technologies, and of federally funded or permitted projects. Where do these initiatives stand?  What will a second term/new administration bring? What will the 117th Congress do?  Will it give early attention to administrative rules under the Congressional Review Act?  

Recent Supreme Court decisions on delegation (Gundy), on deference (Kisor), and on presidential authority (Seila Law) mean that Congressional oversight, and the President’s management, of the administrative state will play out on an evolving landscape of administrative law.

This panel will discuss the likely consequences of the post-election prevailing winds.

Featuring:

  • Hon. Ronald A. Cass, Dean Emeritus, Boston University School Law; President, Cass & Associates 
  • Hon. Sally Katzen, Professor of Practice and Distinguished Scholar in Resident; Co-Director, Legislative and Regulatory Process Clinic, New York University School of Law
  • Prof. Adam J. White, Assistant Professor of Law, Director, C. Boyden Gray Center for the Study of the Administrative State, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University; Resident Scholar, American Enterprise Institute
  • Moderator: Hon. Ryan D. Nelson, United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Speakers

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11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Free Speech & Election Law: Rule of Law, or Just Making it Up? First Amendment Tiered Scrutiny

2020 National Lawyers Convention

Topics: Constitution • First Amendment • Free Speech & Election Law
Zoom Webinar

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Description

 

Different levels of Scrutiny are a staple of First Amendment Jurisprudence.  Strict scrutiny for viewpoint-based restrictions, intermediate scrutiny for restrictions on commercial speech, and, over the years, amorphously defined other types of “heightened” scrutiny for restrictions on association, campaign-related speech, public vs. private figure defamation, and purportedly incidental speech restrictions.  In recent years, however, various judges and justices have called for revisiting ahistorical or a-textual approaches constitutional analysis, in both the First Amendment and other contexts.  And many scholars have long questioned whether tiered scrutiny is just a smoke-screen for ad hoc balancing, allowing judges to impose their own preferred outcomes in any given case. 

This panel will explore both the theory and practice of tiered scrutiny in First Amendment analysis.  Is there a textual or historical basis for creating such differential levels of scrutiny?  Is a more historical or absolutist approach more faithful to the constitutional text?  Is it even possible to avoid creating such judicial doctrines at the margins where the application of First Amendment principles to moderns circumstances can be challenging at best?  As for the practical application of tiered scrutiny, how does one distinguish between important or compelling interests versus valid but otherwise ordinary interests?  How does one determine a less restrictive means of accomplishing a governmental goal, and how much loss of efficiency is too much to ask to preserve some additional amount of speech?  Are courts even remotely capable of providing consistent answers to such questions across a range of cases, or is it inevitable that the answer to any such questions will be entirely a function of the judge’s policy preferences?

If our judicial system is meant to be based on the rule of law rather than the rule of judges, does tiered scrutiny advance or hinder that ideal?  Does the “rule of law” allow any degree of judicial discretion or judgment and, if so, is there any textual basis for deciding how much judgment is allowed and how much effectively eliminates any “rule” at all.

Featuring:

  • Prof. Ashutosh Bhagwat, Boochever and Bird Endowed Chair for the Study and Teaching of Freedom and Equality; Martin Luther King Jr. Professor of Law, University of California, Davis School of Law
  • Ms. Genevieve Lakier, Assistant Professor of Law, Herbert and Marjorie Fried Teaching Scholar, University of Chicago Law School 
  • Prof. Nicholas Quinn Rosenkranz, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
  • Prof. Eugene Volokh, Gary T. Schwartz Distinguished Professor of Law, University of California, Los Angeles School of Law
  • Moderator: Hon. David R. Stras, United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

Speakers

12:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.
Professional Responsibility & Legal Education: Freedom of Association in the Legal Profession

2020 National Lawyers Convention

Topics: Constitution • First Amendment • Professional Responsibility & Legal Education
Zoom Webinar

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Description

 

The Code of Judicial Conduct for federal judges and the Code of Judicial Conduct template for state judges, as modified by the States, both recognize the propriety of judges engaging in extrajudicial activities that are consistent with their role as judges, and counsel judges to avoid impropriety and the appearance of impropriety in those activities. The federal and state templates differ, at least in part, because federal and state judges are selected in different ways. Put simply, we do not want our judges to hide in an ivory tower, but we also want them to behave as judges when providing the benefit of their experience. And, while we want judges to interact with the bar and the public, lawyers must be aware on the limitations on such judicial contacts.  As a result, the notion of maintaining public confidence in the judiciary will be evaluated and enforced in different ways in each arena.

In January 2020, a draft advisory opinion from the Judicial Conference’s Committee on Codes of Conduct suggesting that federal judges ought not to be members of the Federalist Society or the American Constitution Society, but may be members of the American Bar Association, became public. That draft advisory opinion was based less on the actual activities of those organizations than on a belief that the public participation of judges in those organizations would further contribute to a public perception that judges are not non-partisan actors. The draft opinion was withdrawn, but its effects have lingered as lawyers, judges, law clerks, and law students have had to tiptoe around its implications.

This panel will consider some fundamental questions that swirl around the extrajudicial activities of judges, including those raised by the now withdrawn draft advisory opinion. For example, what are the core values that support the federal and state rules, and how do they differ? To the extent that we focus on public confidence in the judiciary, how should we evaluate it? Is public confidence in the judiciary capable of empirical evaluation or a matter of a priori judgment? Whose judgment matters: That of an average person? A reasonable person? A reasonable lawyer? A regulator applying one of those artificial constructs? What rules apply to a judge’s membership, holding office in, or participation in an organization, or writing and speaking?

Featuring:

  • Hon. Thomas B. Griffith, United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit (ret.)
  • Mr. W. William Hodes, Owner and President, The William Hodes Law Firm
  • Hon. William H. Pryor Jr., United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit
  • Moderator: Hon. Gregory G. Katsas, United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

Speakers

2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Corporations, Securities & Antitrust and Telecommunications & Electronic Media: Regulating Social Media

2020 National Lawyers Convention

Topics: Corporations, Securities & Antitrust • Culture • Telecommunications & Electronic Media
Zoom Webinar

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Description

 

Federal statutes, like the Communications Decency Act (and its Section 230), as well as more federal common-law disciplines, like antitrust laws, have played a role in the development and evolution of modern technology and online platforms we use every day. What role will or should federal law play in protecting future innovation, growth, and competition in today’s fast-changing online era in which massive data sets are the most precious commodity, the next generation of innovators are often acquired before they turn their first profit, and online ecosystems often have the freedom to make their own rules? In light of recent public policy debates and investigations by federal and state antitrust enforcers, this panel takes stock of where communications and antitrust law stand and where they may go following the 2020 elections.

Featuring:

  • Hon. Brendan Carr, Commissioner, Federal Communications Commission
  • Mr. Harold Feld, Senior Vice President, Public Knowledge
  • Ms. Kathleen Ham, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, T-Mobile 
  • Hon. Christine Wilson, Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission
  • Moderator: Hon. Duane Benton, United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

Speakers

3:45 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Litigation: Are MDL Judges Too Powerful?

2020 National Lawyers Convention

Topics: Federal Courts • Litigation
Zoom Webinar

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Description

 

Nearly half of all federal civil cases are now consolidated in a few handfuls of so-called MDLs (multi-district litigations). Each MDL is overseen by a single federal district judge even though it can comprise tens of thousands of individual cases and involve dozens of different defendants. Some MDLs are so big they can threaten entire industries, including perhaps the biggest of them all, the Opioid MDL pending in the Northern District of Ohio.  In theory the individual cases in an MDL can return to their original courts once all pretrial proceedings are completed, but in reality the litigants almost always feel compelled to settle before that happens. In light of the bar on interlocutory appeals, this means that the single MDL judge has vast authority to decide what happens to all these cases, from how much discovery is exchanged, to whether motions to dismiss and summary judgment are granted, to whether experts should be disqualified, to whether a class action should be certified. When it comes to MDLs, have we placed too much power in the hands of one judge? Are more options needed? Even more dramatic structural reforms?

Featuring:

  • Prof. Elizabeth Chamblee Burch, Fuller E. Callaway Chair of Law, University of Georgia School of Law
  • Prof. Brian T. Fitzpatrick, Milton R. Underwood Chair in Free Enterprise, Vanderbilt University Law School
  • Mr. Christopher A. Seeger, Partner, Seeger Weiss LLP
  • Moderator: Hon. Britt C. Grant, United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

Speakers

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11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
International & National Security Law: The Law, China, and the Possible New Cold War

2020 National Lawyers Convention

Topics: Foreign Policy • International Law & Trade • International & National Security Law
Zoom Webinar

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The rule of law is a cornerstone of American democracy as it is for many other democracies.  China has laws and courts, but there is little to no “rule of law” like that practiced in established democracies.  What does this mean for China as a powerful global actor?  What does it mean for the United States?  If the rule of law operated in China as it does in the United States, would there be less tension in the U.S.-China relationship?  Our panel of experts will address these themes during its discussion.

Featuring:

  • Amb. Richard Haass, President, Council on Foreign Relations; Former Director of Policy Planning, United States Department of State
  • Prof. Julian Ku, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Faculty Director, International Programs, Maurice A. Deane School of Law, Hofstra University
  • Hon. Mike Rogers, Board of Trustees, Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress; Former United States Representative; Former Chairman, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
  • Moderator: Hon. Elizabeth “Lisa” Branch, United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

Speakers

12:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.
Labor & Employment Law: Agency Leaders on Labor Policy

2020 National Lawyers Convention

Topics: Labor & Employment Law
Zoom Webinar

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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, National Labor Relations Board and U.S. Department of Labor can have a significant negative or positive impact on the American economy and on Americans’ liberties.  With almost four years behind them, how have these agencies done? Slowed down perhaps by delayed Senate confirmations and personnel changes, they certainly have been active with new regulations, new guidance, and responding to Pandemic challenges.  What did they barrel-up and what did they whiff? We will ask senior leaders from the EEOC, NLRB, and DOL for their assessments.

Featuring:

  • Hon. Sharon Fast Gustafson, General Counsel, United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
  • Hon. Peter B. Robb, General Counsel, United States National Labor Relations Board
  • Hon. Cheryl Stanton, Administrator, Wage and Hour Division, United States Department of Labor
  • Moderator: Hon. Amul R. Thapar, United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

Speakers

2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Intellectual Property: Intellectual Property Rights and the Rule of Law

2020 National Lawyers Convention

Topics: Intellectual Property
Zoom Webinar

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The world’s first democratized intellectual-property legal system, initiated by Art. I, Sec. 8, Cl. 8 of the U.S. Constitution, is intended, per Federalist #43, to: provide uniformity for the protection of IP rights; secure those rights for the individual rather than the state; and incentivize innovation and creative aspirations. Predictability, rooted in uniform application of the rule of law, is essential for property rights and economically sustainable growth. This is especially true in the context of intellectual property and the tremendous investments required for innovation and creative expression. These intended goals can be jeopardized in times of crisis if they are seen as being pitted against health, safety, security, and humanitarian needs that arise during actual or perceived crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

How can private IP rights be achieved and maintained in a manner that genuinely promotes public good without capture issues? Does a crisis necessitate a suspension or weakening of intellectual and/or other property rights –– or is it in times of crisis that rule of law and its attendant stability/predictability are most crucially needed? What we can learn for IP from how the rule of law has been affected by national crises in the past? This panel will discuss IP law in the 21st century and especially in 2020, considering court decisions, public advocacy, and data-driven lessons of history and how they should be applied to ideas for reforms that would weaken IP and rule of law versus those that may construct and restore predictable rights in support of vibrant and productive innovation and creative output.

Featuring:

  • Prof. Jorge Contreras, Professor of Law, University of Utah School of Law
  • Prof. Richard Epstein, Laurence A. Tisch Professor of Law and Director, Classical Liberal Institute, New York University School of Law; Peter and Kirsten Bedford Senior Fellow, Hoover Institution
  • Mr. Phil Johnson, Founder and Principal, Johnson-IP Strategy and Policy Consulting; Former, Senior Vice President and Chief Intellectual Property Counsel, Johnson & Johnson
  • Hon. Karyn A. Temple, Senior Executive Vice President and Global General Counsel, Motion Picture Association; Former Register of Copyrights, United States Copyright Office
  • Moderator: Hon. Ryan T. Holte, United States Court of Federal Claims

Speakers

3:45 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Civil Rights: Modern Quandaries of Law Enforcement

2020 National Lawyers Convention

Topics: Civil Rights • Criminal Law & Procedure
Zoom Webinar

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The debates surrounding the doctrine of qualified immunity and cultural impact of law enforcement have seen renewed vigor in past months, as citizens across the country question how reform, if appropriate, is best implemented. While qualified immunity finds its roots in the common law practice of extending protections to state actors performing their legal duty, its American origins are less definitive, which prompted Justice Thomas to comment “qualified immunity doctrine appears to stray from the statutory text” in late June. 

Some scholars have suggested modifying policing strategies (i.e. “defund”) or doing away with the doctrine of qualified immunity will protect the rights of individuals against corrupt or prejudiced law enforcement officials, but there is significant pushback from everyday citizens, judges, and Presidents alike. Our panel of policy and legal experts will debate the pros and cons of both topics in this 75-minute virtual presentation.

Featuring:

  • Ms. Heather Mac Donald, Contributing Editor, City Journal, Manhattan Institute
  • Mr. Robert McNamara, Senior Attorney, Institute for Justice
  • Mr. Charles “Cully” Stimson, Senior Legal Fellow and Manager, National Security Law Program, The Heritage Foundation
  • Moderator: Hon. Patrick J. Bumatay, United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

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11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Showcase Discussion: A Discussion with Professors Robert George and Cornel West on Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Thought, the Black Lives Matter Movement, and the Cancel Culture

2020 National Lawyers Convention

Topics: Civil Rights • Constitution • Culture • Philosophy • Politics • Free Speech & Election Law
Zoom Webinar

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A discussion about freedom of speech, freedom of thought, the Black Lives Matter movement, and the cancel culture with Professors Robert George of Princeton and Cornel West of Harvard:

In the aftermath of George Floyd's killing, the country is re-examining fundamental aspects both of our society and how we talk about changing it. In order to undertake that examination in a spirit of honesty and free inquiry, one view holds that participants need to feel free from the danger, and sometimes, as we have seen, the reality, of punishment or intimidation for taking an unpopular point of view. Those holding this view are concerned that we seem to be entering an era of enforced conformity to a new norm—that America is systemically racist, and that a failure to accept and acknowledge this fact is disqualifying from having a place in academia, in public life, or even in the private sector. They are concerned that the radical changes being called for ignore the pillars of the successful American experiment that ultimately led from slavery to the outlawing of racial segregation, and that these changes will do grave harm both to American society as a whole and to the radical changes’ intended beneficiaries.

On the other hand, some believe that our society is so inherently degraded by racism that a fundamental change is justified from the old ways of how we have felt we can think and speak about these issues. The thought is that the traditional notions of free speech and free thought are themselves devices that support oppression, and inevitably are employed to prop up  established practices and ways of thinking that have created, and perpetuate, racial inequity.  This view holds that those who have been harmed by  racism are only further harmed by a so-called “balanced” discussion of their grievances.

Professors George and West will address whether both society, and the ways in which we can discuss its virtues and its deficiencies, are in need of fundamental change.

Featuring:

  • Prof. Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence; Director, James Madison Program, Pinceton University
  • Prof. Cornel West, Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy, Harvard University
  • Moderator: Mrs. Jennifer C. Braceras, Director, Independent Woman’s Law Center

Speakers

12:45 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.
Showcase Panel I: Law, Social Justice, Wokeness and the Protests: Where Do We Go From Here?

2020 National Lawyers Convention

Topics: Politics • Civil Rights • Criminal Law & Procedure • Culture
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Historically, the rule of law and the concept of justice it represents supply two key roots of the American experiment. Some think the ideology underlying many of the recent protests challenges this experiment at its core and that its concept of justice arguably differs from that of our Framers. Indeed for some social justice advocates the concepts of the rule of law, justice, reason and discussion all are suspect at best and tools of oppression at worst. Are the protesters who hold this ideology reform minded or revolutionary? Do the critics of this movement underestimate the powerful currents behind the protests? What are possible or desirable responses to this challenge?

Featuring:

  • Prof. Randy E. Barnett, Patrick Hotung Professor of Constitutional Law, Georgetown University Law Center 
  • Prof. Randall Kennedy, Michael R. Klein Professor of Law, Harvard Law School 
  • Prof. John O. McGinnis, George C. Dix Professor of Constitutional Law, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
  • Prof. Nadine Strossen, John Marshall Harlan II Professor of Law Emerita, New York Law School; Former President, American Civil Liberties Union
  • Moderator: Hon. Kenneth K. Lee, United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Speakers

2:45 p.m. - 3:45 p.m.
Address by Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia

2020 National Lawyers Convention

Topics: Labor & Employment Law
Zoom Webinar

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Featuring:

  • Hon. Eugene Scalia, Secretary of Labor, United States Department of Labor

Speakers

4:15 p.m. - 5:45 p.m.
Showcase Panel II: The Presidency and the Rule of Law

2020 National Lawyers Convention

Topics: Politics • Constitution • Federalism • Federalism & Separation of Powers
Zoom Webinar

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The U.S. Constitution states that the president “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”  It also requires the President, before taking office, to swear (or affirm) that he or she will “faithfully execute the office of President of the United States.”   Many believe that the Constitution, in creating a Presidency with sufficient energy to lead the country, contemplates that the President will have considerable discretion in how to go about this.  At the same time, over the years, norms have developed to reinforce the idea that in the United States, executive power is to be exercised pursuant to law, and not as a tool to punish political enemies or to protect friends.  

How does the rule of law both constrain and protect the Presidency? What role do norms play?  Have the norms surrounding the President’s exercise of executive power eroded, and if so, why?  What role have Congress, the media, social media, and other factors played? The panel will discuss these and other matters including possible reforms.

Featuring:

  • Mr. W. Neil Eggleston, Partner, Kirkland & Ellis, LLP, Former White House Counsel
  • Hon. Jack L. Goldsmith, Professor of Law, Harvard University; Former Assistant Attorney General, United States Department of Justice
  • Amb. C. Boyden Gray, Founding Partner, Boyden Gray & Associates; Former White House Counsel; Former Ambassador to the European Union
  • Hon. Theodore B. Olson, Partner, Gibson Dunn; Former United States Solicitor General
  • Moderator: Hon. Edith H. Jones, Chief Judge, United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

Speakers

6:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Address by Judge Janice Rogers Brown

2020 National Lawyers Convention

Zoom Webinar

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Featuring:

  • Hon. Janice Rogers Brown, United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit (ret.); Former Associate Judge, California Supreme Court

Speakers

8:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Address

2020 National Lawyers Convention

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11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Special Session: The Future of the Second Amendment's Right to Keep and Bear Arms: From the Supreme Court to Social Unrest in the Streets‎

2020 National Lawyers Convention

Topics: Civil Rights • Constitution • Second Amendment
Zoom Webinar

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With contrasting views from the two Presidential candidates, as well as the nomination of Judge Amy Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Second Amendment has once again become one of the foremost topics of discussion in the legal and political world.

Second Amendment issues have arisen in 2020 like never before. ‎The year started with “Second Amendment sanctuaries” in which almost all counties in Virginia, and many in other states, declared that proposed infringements on the right to keep and bear arms would not be enforced. The Virginia governor declared a state of emergency because of a planned protest in Richmond by gun owners, and although 22,000 protesters, many of them legally armed, attended, there was no reported violence. More recently, rioting and civil unrest have raised questions about citizens arming themselves and the use of potentially deadly force.

What constitutional protections, if any, are available to property owners wishing to protect their lives, livelihood, property, and communities? What is the correct constitutional analysis of restrictions on fundamental rights, including the Second Amendment, enacted in the midst of a nationwide pandemic and what role, if any, do traditional “police powers” play in analyzing those restrictions?  What are the constitutional implications, if any, of criminal cases capturing headlines concerning the use of firearms by individual Americans such as Mark and Patricia McClosky, and Kyle Rittenhouse? The panel will discuss the Second Amendment implications of these timely issues.

Featuring:

  • Mr. Deepak Gupta, Founding Principal, Gupta Wessler PLLC
  • Mr. John Ohlendorf, Associate, Cooper & Kirk, PLLC
  • Prof. Mark W. Smith, Senior Fellow in Law and Public Policy: Presidential Scholar, The King’s College
  • Moderator: Hon. Thomas M. Hardiman, United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

Speakers

12:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.
Financial Services & E-Commerce: Agency Leaders on Cryptocurrency, Blockchain, and the Evolution of a Central Bank Digital Currency

2020 National Lawyers Convention

Topics: Financial Services • Financial Services & E-Commerce
Zoom Webinar

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The pandemic has accelerated the establishment of digital currencies, including central bank digital currencies (CBDC). One of the biggest draws of cryptocurrency and even the blockchain, in general, is its leaning towards decentralization. Even so, CBDCs are now in active pilot programs across the world with the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank and the People’s Bank of China all exploring the technology.

Proponents of CBDCs argue they will bring multiple advantages for an average consumer, including fast and cheap cross-border transactions, pseudo-anonymity, personal data protection, and international operability. However, Alexander Hamilton might ask if it is tendency of CBDCs to increase public and private credit. “The former gives power to the state, for the protection of its rights and interests; and the latter facilitates and extends the operations of commerce among individuals. Industry is increased, commodities are multiplied, agriculture and manufacturers flourish: and herein consists the true wealth and prosperity of a state."

Featuring:

  • Mr. Brian P. Brooks, Acting Comptroller of the Currency, Office of the Comptroller of the 
  • Currency, United States Department of the Treasury
  • Hon. Brent J. McIntosh, Undersecretary for International Affairs, United States Department of the Treasury
  • Hon. Hester M. Peirce, Commissioner, United States Securities and Exchange Commission
  • Moderator: Hon. Paul S. Atkins, Chief Executive Officer, Patomak Global Partners, LLC; Former Commissioner, United States Securities and Exchange Commission

Speakers

2:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Federalism & Separation of Powers: Emergency Powers and the Rule of Law

2020 National Lawyers Convention

Topics: Constitution • Federalism • Separation of Powers • Federalism & Separation of Powers
Zoom Webinar

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The coronavirus pandemic spotlighted an issue that’s been increasingly relevant the last few years: the extra powers that government gets in emergencies. At the federal level, presidents have been declaring emergencies under the Watergate-era National Emergencies Act—which doesn’t itself grants powers but triggers over a thousand statutes—in a host of circumstances, sometimes controversial (like President Trump’s southern-border declaration in February 2019), others barely noticed (assorted economic sanctions under various presidents). Many of these seem to be permanent; we’re still living under declarations responding to the 1979 Iranian hostage-taking and 2006 Belarusian election fraud. At the state level, the police power to govern for the public health, safety, welfare, and morals has run into legitimacy problems, both as legislatures grumble that they’re not consulted for months on end and as citizens question seemingly arbitrary lines drawn around “essential” services that interfere with both enumerated and unenumerated constitutional rights. How do we reconcile the need for governments at all levels to move quickly with both federalism and the separation of powers?

Featuring:

  • Dr. John Eastman, Professor of Law, Dave E. Fowler Law School, Chapman University
  • Mr. Ilya Shapiro, Director, Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies, The CATO Institute
  • Ms. Elizabeth B. Wydra, President, Constitutional Accountability Center
  • Prof. John C. Yoo, Emanuel S. Heller Professor of Law; Co-Faculty Director, Korea Law Center; Director, Public Law & Policy Program, University of California, Berkeley School of Law
  • Moderator: Hon. James C. Ho, United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

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