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Federalist Society Conclave Reflects Renewed Conservative Excitement

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This week, the Federalist Society, an organization of 40,000 lawyers, law students, scholars, and other individuals "who believe and trust that individual citizens can make the best choices for themselves and society," hosted its 2010 National Lawyers Convention at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.

The event was attended by more than 1,000 conservatives and libertarians (mostly lawyers), and included speeches by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, political analyst Michael Barone, and a dinner featuring an interview of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, with Jan Crawford of CBS News.

Sen.-elect Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) are scheduled to address the crowd on Friday.

This was the first public conservative event to be held since the 2010 midterm elections, which saw Republicans retake the House of Representatives. Having attended the event Thursday morning, it was clear to me that there was energy in the air.

Eugene Meyer, the Federalist Society's president, tells me that this week's event -- which included the group's big 25th anniversary dinner -- has drawn more attendees than any of the previous conferences.

"There is extra energy -- and the reason is because we've just come off an electoral cycle where -- for the first time I can remember -- there was an enormous amount of public discussion about Washington paying more attention to the Constitution," Executive Vice President Leonard Leo tells me.

Saying today's political mood reflects a "constitutional revival," Leo adds, "It's not often that you've got candidates like Mike Lee on the campaign stump talking about the commerce clause, talking about limits on government power, and citing the Constitution chapter and verse."

The crowd size is more impressive when you consider attendees are not hearing typical "red meat" conservative speeches. Most of the topics are fairly intellectual, although they do focus on timely issues, such as what Leo describes as "The Obama New Deal." Panel topics, for example, include the constitutionality of health care reform and EPA overreach. Former White House Counsel C. Boyden Gray and attorney John Shu will also debate the constitutionality of the Dodd-Frank Financial Services Reform Act.

"We're an organization about ideas," says Meyer, and "this town, if anything, underrates the importance of ideas as opposed to specific policy and political maneuverings."

But Meyer and Leo tell me the new-found excitement over constitutional issues hasn't just manifested itself by increased conference attendance. The Federalist Society hosts over 1,100 meetings a year on law school campuses, and Meyer says the group has seen a 15 percent jump in attendance this year. What is more, the energy has also translated to an increase in online activity. The Federalist Society now boasts more than 100,000 Facebook fans (now defined as people who "Like" them), too.

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maggieL56

dorite549:50 AM Nov 19, 2010(0) The people have been miss lead to believe health care reform is bad,wrong, and unconstitutional. One of the larger financial backers for the republicans; was health care. Even the groups of people who would clearly benifit from Obama's health care plan; blindly repeated negative smears supported by talk show hosts pretending to be news casters. I haven't heard terms used; such as, Communist, Socialist, terrorist, et; all reflecting towards Obama, or the liberials; since the 60"s when we were told your next door neigbor is a communist. I would ask that the next newscast we listen to; ask yourself if there is a "point counter point".it would seem to me counterpoint has been forgotten. ================= I can tell you are a die hard liberal. Even using common sense should tell you that the HC plan is going to fail. No way it is going to be anything but in the red. Everyone will be insured???? Doubt that, but lets say they are..... Keep you old plan...you can already see where that thought is going..people losing their insurance and premiums going up all over to get ahead of his HC bill taking effect. People on the low end scale will have to pay for a plan..starting with the "bronze" (lowest plan) at 60%...they will have to pay a 40% co-pay...can they afford that?.. BUT wait.....lower income people will have their insurance payments "subsidized"...some will have no payment...YOUR TAXES AT WORK... Where do you think Obama plans on getting the money to pay for his HC?...all the new taxes and penalties???..right? Where is he going to get the money for the National Debt he has incurred?... Why do you think he doesn't want to give the "rich/small business owners" the tax break from the one expiring tax at a crucial time in our economy?..To help pay down the debt...right? "700 Bil" over 10 years. A drop in the debt bucket but it is only part of his agenda. He is counting on his HC bill ruining the insurance companies so people will have to go into a government plan which will lead to what he has wanted all the time...a "public" plan provided by the controls of the government. It is scary just how far he has gone in less than 2 years in taking away our individual freedoms. If you want to know just where he is leading our great nation and what he really thinks of our great nation just read his "Dreams From My Father"... What he thinks about "white" people in general..." cigar smoking cracker"..his own words about someone. How his "best day ever" was when on his first day in Indonesia and his step father showed him where his "food" came from. How he watched the chicken in the throes of death and that night laying in bed pictured that chicken and thought "this is the best day of my life"...This coming from a 34 year old man in hindsight!!! I am sorry that I got off the subject of HC but I want you to realize that HC is just a portion of what Progressive plans he and his cohorts have in mind for our country. We are not the greatest but we are the BEST out there. Read his book...look at who he surrounded himself with as he was growing..( tells it in his book )and look at who he has put into power and surrounds himself with now.. Also....what you said.. """"blindly repeated negative smears supported by talk show hosts pretending to be news casters."""" It is not BLINDLY!!!. Watch the show and DO some homework yourself and you will see where all the "negative" comes from...This person is "right on".. You can look things up yourself. Don't judge till you check it out.

November 19 2010 at 1:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dorite54

The people have been miss lead to believe health care reform is bad,wrong, and unconstitutional. One of the larger financial backers for the republicans; was health care. Even the groups of people who would clearly benifit from Obama's health care plan; blindly repeated negative smears supported by talk show hosts pretending to be news casters. I haven't heard terms used; such as, Communist, Socialist, terrorist, et; all reflecting towards Obama, or the liberials; since the 60"s when we were told your next door neigbor is a communist. I would ask that the next newscast we listen to; ask yourself if there is a "point counter point".it would seem to me counterpoint has been forgotten.

November 19 2010 at 9:50 AM Report abuse -7 rate up rate down Reply

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