Federalist Society promotes discussion, debate with speaker series

Published: November 7th, 2011

Category: News

Federalist Society promotes discussion, debate with speaker series

Austin Nimocks, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, debated Danaya Wright, UF Research Foundation and Clarence J. TeSelle Professor of Law, over the Defense of Marriage Act in a Federalist Society event last month. UF Law Professor Lyrissa Lidsky, right, served as moderator. (Photo by Nicole Safker)

The University of Florida Levin College of Law has welcomed a number of prominent figures to speak on campus, including retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and former Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General on Human Rights Defenders Hina Jilani, since the start of the fall semester.

And almost weekly, the UF Law Federalist Society has hosted notable academic and policymakers, enriching campus discussion and debate on controversial issues such as gun rights, affirmative action, same-sex marriage, environmental regulations and racial profiling. Each semester the society puts together a series of speakers that are experts in their field.

It also invites members of the judiciary to offer comments on their role in the judicial system, and two judges from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, Gerald B. Tjoflat and William H. Pryor Jr., accepted the society’s invitation to meet with UF Law students this semester.

“The large group of speakers we are able to invite represents a broad range of opinions on different issues, opinions that usually stem from a constitutionally or politically conservative or libertarian viewpoint,” said Jordan Pratt (3L), co-president of The UF Federalist Society.

The society is privately funded, which allows it to attract some of the top legal minds in the country in pursuit of its goal to increase discourse on important legal topics.

Pratt added that these speakers supply students with perspectives in addition to the views that are presented in the classroom. All forums are open to student questions.

“Our interests are aligned with those of the university at large,” said Pratt, referencing the society’s goals of fostering an intellectual atmosphere on campus and giving students exposure to distinguished guests.

The final speaker for the fall semester on Wednesday will feature Jeffery Clark, a partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Washington, D.C. He worked as deputy assistant attorney general for the Environment and Natural Resources Division of the Justice Department and will discuss climate change and trade legislation.