2012 Annual Student SymposiumStanford Law School hosted the 2012 Federalist Society National Student Symposium on March 2nd and 3rd, 2012. The theme for the symposium was "Bureaucracy Unbound: Can Limited Government and the Administrative State Co-Exist?".

Featuring a Keynote Address by:

Mike S. Lee
The Honorable Michael S. Lee,
United States Senator, Utah


Introductory Remarks - Audio/Video
6:45 p.m.
Cemex Auditorium

  • Dean Larry Kramer, Stanford Law School
  • Mr. Michael Reynolds, Co-Chair, 2012 Annual Student Symposium
  • Mr. Ilan Wurman, Co-Chair, 2012 Annual Student Symposium

Panel 1: The Rule of Law and the Administrative State - Audio/Video
7:00 p.m. - 8:45 p.m.
Cemex Auditorium

The rule of law, whatever that term describes, is one of the central concepts in Anglo-American jurisprudence. Does the administrative state, either in its operation or in the legal moves necessary for its validation, undermine or support the rule of law? Does modern governmental administration, and modern conditions of life, require some redefinition of the rule of law? Is there a relationship between the rule of law and the separation of powers, and if so, how does the administrative state affect that relationship? This panel, in short, will explore how the administrative state relates to fundamental jurisprudential principles.


  • Prof. David Barron, Harvard Law School
  • Prof. Richard Epstein, New York University School of Law
  • Hon. Brett Kavanaugh, U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
  • Prof. Peter Shane, The Ohio State University Law School
  • Moderator: Hon. Carlos Bea, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit


Writing Law Review Articles - Audio/Video
8:00 a.m.- 9:00 a.m.
Cemex Auditorium

  • Prof. Eugene Volokh, UCLA School of Law

Panel 2: Congress vs. Agencies: Balancing Checks and Efficiency: Gridlock, Organized Interests, and Regulatory Capture - Audio/Video
9:00 a.m.- 10:45 a.m.
Cemex Auditorium

The administrative state is often defended as a necessary response to modern conditions that make governance through ordinary legislation virtually impossible. Is the administrative process in fact more efficient than legislation (and what is meant in this context by “efficient”)? Do any benefits from the administrative process come at the expense of other values? If the legislative process is subject to gridlock, is gridlock all bad? If capture or influence by interest groups is a problem, is it likely to be a worse problem in agency or legislative settings?

Does congressional abdication contribute to bureaucratic sclerosis, which makes it difficult to start and maintain businesses? Finally, what role do the Court's doctrines play at the intersection of these questions? Is Chevron deference to agencies good? Does the president's control make the administrative state better or worse? Do the Court's doctrines in Bowsher and Chadha give agencies too much power?


  • Prof. David Engstrom, Stanford Law School
  • Hon. C. Boyden Gray, Former White House Counsel 
  • Prof. Lisa Heinzerling, Georgetown University School of Law
  • Prof. Michael W. McConnell, Stanford Law School
  • Moderator: Hon. Lois Haight, Superior Court of California

Panel 3: Perspectives on Executive Power: Czars, Libya, and Recent Developments - Audio/Video
11:00 a.m.- 12:45 p.m.
Cemex Auditorium

This panel will address the role of Executive branch officials in making high-level policy decisions, and their relationship to Congress. This is particularly relevant in the context of two recent debates: can the President ignore congressional attempts to strip funding from high-level officials who are not confirmed by the Senate? Is the Obama administration’s use of “czars” constitutional? Moreover, what is the power of the Executive branch to start a war without any authorization from Congress?


  • Prof. Mariano-Florentino Cuellar, Stanford Law School
  • Prof. John Harrison, University of Virginia Law School
  • Prof. Sandy Levinson, University of Texas Law School
  • Prof. John Yoo, Berkeley Law School
  • Moderator: Hon. Thomas Griffith, U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

Debate: The Constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act - Audio/Video
2:00 p.m. -3:30 p.m.
Cemex Auditorium

This debate will focus on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. While specific attention will be given to administrative law issues, including the constitutionality of giving out compliance waivers and of medical expert boards, the discussion will be free-ranging and address all constitutional questions of interest.


  • Prof. Randy Barnett, Georgetown University School of Law
  • Prof. Pamela Karlan, Stanford Law School
  • Moderator: Hon. Sandra Ikuta, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Panel 4: Technology and Regulation - Audio/Video
3:45 p.m. - 5:45 p.m.
Cemex Auditorium

Being in Silicon Valley, Stanford is known for its strong focus on intellectual property law and technology more broadly. This panel seeks to ask: what is the relationship between technology and the administrative state? Does technological progress require regulatory guidance? This panel will also consider to what degree development in technology in recent years has been slower than anticipated and whether the administrative state has been an asset or a hindrance to the effective utilization of technology.


  • Prof. Richard Epstein, New York University School of Law
  • Prof. Anthony Falzone, Stanford Center for Internet and Society
  • Prof. Mark Lemley, Stanford Law School
  • Mr. Peter Thiel, President, Clarium Capital
  • Hon. Ted Ullyot, General Counsel, Facebook
  • Moderator: Dean Larry Kramer, Stanford Law School

7:00-10:00 p.m.
Arrillaga Center for Sports and Recreation

2012 Bator Award Presentation - Audio/Video

  • Prof. Eugene Kontorovich, Northwestern University School of Law

Keynote Address - Audio/Video

  • Hon. Michael S. Lee, United States Senate

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