Tavern Debate

co-sponsored by the Institute for Justice and the Los Angeles Lawyers Chapter

Zin Bistro
32131 Lindero Canyon Rd Ste 111
Westlake Village, CA 91361

**Registration for this event is now closed. If you are still interested in attending, please contact Zsanna Bodor at [email protected].**


$15 for Members | $25 for Non-Members | $5 for Students

Robust appetizers and 2 drink tickets are included with your ticket. Cash bar available as well.

If you’re coming to the Federalist Society’s Western Chapters Conference, then arrive a night early for this fun-filled and stimulating (in more ways than one) night of intellectual debate, witty repartee, and constitutional merriment.

In the tradition of the Chicago Lawyers Chapter’s long-beloved Tavern Debates, The Federalist Society and the Institute for Justice’s Center invite you to this Oxford-style contest. Anthony Sanders of the Institute for Justice’s Center for Judicial Engagement will serve as your host.

All conference attendees are welcome to join us on Friday, January 27, at 7:00 p.m., a 15 minute drive from where the conference will take place the next day, for an extemporaneous debate where everyone can speak their mind on the following:

Resolved: You don’t need Congress to sue the government when it violates your rights!

Pro: The Constitution requires governments at all levels to follow its mandates. But what good is that if the Constitution isn’t enforced? As Chief Justice John Marshall said many years ago, a right isn’t a “right” if you can’t receive a remedy. Congress has failed to provide for a way to sue federal officials for damages when they violate the Constitution. But that doesn’t mean we live in a “constitution free zone.” The Constitution gives us an implied remedy to sue, at the federal and state level. Sovereign immunity was fine for King George, but not for We the People.

Con: Sovereign immunity is as old as the common law. The Founders knew this when they framed our system of government. And they took remedies out of the hand of the King and placed them in those of Congress, not the courts. Lawsuits against federal and state officials can cost taxpayers millions of dollars for something they had no part of. Remedies are something best left to elected representatives, not plaintiffs lawyers.

Which view is right, “pro” or “con”? Come make your voice heard! The evening will begin with opening statements by a couple esteemed thinkers for and against the Resolution. After that, everyone will have a chance to hold their drink and stand to make their opinion known. At the debate’s conclusion we will take a vote and the question will be settled for all time (for now).

Zin Bistro is located on the way from Los Angeles to Simi Valley, just 15 minutes from the Courtyard Ventura Hotel in Simi. All are welcome to register. Western Conference attendees are especially encouraged to attend. 



As always, the Federalist Society takes no position on particular legal or public policy issues; all expressions of opinion are those of the speaker.