Hadley Arkes

If you’re trapped in the office on this Friday after Thanksgiving — or, just as bad, stuck at a distant relative’s house with nothing to do — Professor Hadley Arkes of Amherst College and Chief Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit are here to help.

Last weekend, at the National Lawyers Convention of the Federalist Society, Professor Arkes and Chief Judge Kozinski debated whether natural law should inform constitutional law. Let’s check out their most interesting debate….

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Left to right: Alex Kozinski and Diarmuid O’Scannlain.

This week is an exciting one for conservative and libertarian legal nerds: the National Lawyers Convention of the Federalist Society starts tomorrow. I’ll be attending and covering the proceedings; if you see me, please say hello. (If you haven’t registered for the conference in advance, you can still register at the door.)

As always, the conference will overflow with legal luminaries. This year, two of the Ninth Circuit’s most notable names — Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, and Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain (for whom I clerked) — will be making presentations. Chief Judge Kozinski will debate Professor Hadley Arkes about natural law and constitutional law, while Judge O’Scannlain will moderate a panel about religious liberty.

To whet your appetite, let’s read more about both of these judges and some recent First Amendment fun at the Ninth Circuit….

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Apperances can be deceiving. The smiling woman above looks like a sweet old lady (or perhaps she’s middle-aged).

But don’t be fooled. This pleasant-looking woman opened a can of whoop-ass at the final panel discussion of the Federalist Society National Lawyers Convention. She rained hellfire and brimstone upon the audience, and placed at least two of the panelists on an express train to Hell.

As we mentioned earlier, that last panel “discussion” was insane. It was a no-holds-barred fight between the Federalist Society’s two major constituencies: the social conservatives and the libertarians. It was a smart move to save this intra-societal slugfest until the end of the weekend.
The nominal title of the panel: “The Role of Government in Defining Our Culture.” A more appropriate title for the panel: “Watch Libertarians and Social Conservatives Rant at Each Other About Gay Marriage.”

The combatants participants:

Moderator cum lion tamer: Hon. Edwin Meese III, former Attorney General
For the libertarians: Dr. Charles Murray, AEI; Mr. Anthony Romero, ACLU
For the social conservatives: Mrs. Phyllis Schlafly, Eagle Forum; Professor Hadley Arkes, Amherst College
Kinda in between: Professor William Eskridge, Yale Law School
Kinda irrelevant: Hon. Walter Dellinger, currently of O’Melveny & Myers and Duke Law School (and former acting Solicitor General)
A blow-by-blow account of this intellectual battle royal, after the jump.

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