Senators Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) are among the headliners as the Federalist Society for Law & Public Policy launches its National Lawyers Convention at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. with tonight’s keynote address by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
The gathering features all the leading lights battling President Barack Obama in the courts, including over Obamacare, EPA rules, same-sex marriage, and religious liberty. Elite Supreme Court litigators, top law professors, and other scholars will debate the major legal issues facing the country.
The theme of this year’s convention is “Textualism and the Role of Judges.” This timely topic is at the epicenter of various controversies between Obama and his supporters versus Republicans and conservatives at both the federal and state levels. “Textualism” is commitment to the words of a law, whether those words are in the Constitution itself or federal statutes and regulations. This issue dictates the outcome in court of everything from Obama’s recess appointment to unilaterally changing the requirements of the Affordable Care Act to claiming the power to comprehensively regulate every power plant and car in America.
Sen. Lee–who as a law student was a leader of the Federalist Society chapter at Brigham Young University’s law school–is the first to speak at the convention. He will set the tone for three days of seminars and debates of how unelected judges with the power to declare and apply the Constitution and lesser forms of federal law are to fulfill that duty in a democratic republic where citizens usually rule themselves through their elected leaders.
Sen. Cruz is scheduled to speak later today. Other major figures addressing the crowd include Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), former Attorney General Michael Mukasey, former Rep. David McIntosh (R-IN), and almost a dozen leading federal appeals judges.
Ken Klukowski is senior legal analyst for Breitbart News and on faculty at Liberty University School of Law. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.