Federalist Society National Student Symposium to Feature Supreme Court Justice Thomas, Leading Conservative Legal Scholars Schedule

February 17, 2011
Clarence Thomas
Justice Clarence Thomas
will deliver the keynote
address at the Boar's 
Head Inn.

The annual Federalist Society Student Symposium, one of the nation's largest gatherings of conservative legal scholars and students, will be held at the University of Virginia School of Law and the Boar's Head Inn on Feb. 25-26.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas will deliver the keynote address during the 30th annual symposium's banquet dinner at the Boar's Head Inn on Feb. 26 at 7 p.m.

All events at the School of Law are open to the public, but events at the Boar's Head Inn are closed to the media. Guests can register online ; registration is required for meals and receptions. Virginia Bar Continuing Legal Education credit will be available to practicing attorneys who sign up for it at the registration table.

The Federalist Society's annual student symposium is sponsored by a student chapter in an American law school each year and attracts leading conservative and libertarian scholars, judges and attorneys from across the nation.

Other symposium speakers this year include Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Judge Debra Livingston of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge William H. Pryor Jr. of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Diane Sykes of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals and John Allison, former chairman and CEO of BB&T Corporation.

UVA law professors Paul Stephan and G. Edward White and Law School Dean Paul G. Mahoney are also serving on panels, along with: Jonathan Adler (Case Western Reserve University); Michael Heller (Columbia University); Randy Barnett and Louis Michael Seidman (Georgetown University); Nelson Lund, Jeremy Rabkin, Neomi Rao and Todd Zywicki (George Mason University); Jeffrey Rosen and Renee Lettow Lerner (George Washington University); Clayton Gillette (New York University); John McGinnis (Northwestern University); William P. Marshall (University of North Carolina); and James Ely (Vanderbilt University).

The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies is founded on the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to the U.S. Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be. The society seeks both to promote an awareness of these principles and to further their application through its activities.

All events will be held at the Law School except where noted.

3:30 p.m. Registration (Caplin Auditorium Lobby)
6:15 p.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks (Caplin Auditorium)

Dean Paul Mahoney, University of Virginia School of Law

6:30 p.m. debate(Caplin Auditorium)

Economic Freedoms and the Constitution
Since West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish and the end of the Lochner Era, the Supreme Court has adhered to the belief that [t]he Constitution does not speak of freedom of contract." But is this commitment consistent with an original understanding of the Constitution? This panel will address whether the Constitution permits the extensive state regulation of economic affairs. Even if Lochner as a decision was illegitimate, has the Supreme Court retreated too far in protecting economic liberties from state interference? Is the Constitution a thoroughly libertarian document or is it compatible with a high degree of state regulation? Does either understanding come with any limiting principles? If so, what is their source? In any event, is it desirable for a constitution to constrain the power of the state in the area of redistribution and economic regulation?

Randy Barnett, Georgetown University Law Center
Jeffrey Rosen, George Washington University Law School

Judge Debra Livingston, 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

8 p.m. PANEL I(Caplin Auditorium)

Economic Theory, Civic Virtue and the Meaning of the Constitution
Justice Holmes' dissent in Lochner v. New York is well-known for the statement, [A] constitution is not intended to embody a particular economic theory, whether of paternalism and the organic relation of the citizen to the State or of laissez faire." But is this belief consistent with the original Constitution? To what extent did the ideas of thinkers such as Adam Smith shape the founders' understanding of human nature and public virtue? In what ways do their economic and philosophical commitments continue to shape our constitutional government today? Are capitalism and a commitment to civic virtue complementary or antagonistic? Does the Constitution promote a virtuous citizenry or is it simply a set of political structures that can accommodate a pluralistic society? At a time when the virtues of capitalism are often called into question, it will be useful to examine the precise place of this theory in the foundational structures of our government.

Dr. James Ely, Vanderbilt University Law School
Renee Lettow Lerner, George Washington University Law School
Nelson Lund, George Mason University School of Law
G. Edward White, University of Virginia School of Law

Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson, 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

9:45 p.m. cocktail reception(Caplin Pavilion)
8 a.m. Continental Breakfast (Withers-Brown Hall)
9 a.m. PANEL II(Caplin Auditorium)

Federalism and Interstate Competition
This panel will assess American federalism as a competitive institution that offers a marketplace of state regulatory regimes. With the recession impacting some states more heavily than others, it is time to ask whether interstate competition is good for the nation. Should state-by-state approaches to issues such as healthcare, financial regulation, environmental protection, and same-sex marriage be encouraged? Does competition among the states lead to the best outcome or a race to the bottom? How will events such as the recent recession and healthcare reform impact the marketplace of state regulation?

Jonathan Adler, Case Western Reserve University School of Law
Clayton Gillette, New York University School of Law
John McGinnis, Northwestern University School of Law
Louis Michael Seidman, Georgetown University Law School

Judge William H. Pryor Jr., 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

11 a.m.

speech(Caplin Auditorium)

The U.S. Financial Crisis: Causes and Consequences

John Allison, Former Chairman and CEO, BB&T Corporation

Introduction by Howard Husock, Manhattan Institute

Many politicians have blamed business for the current recession, leading to additional measures by the U.S. government to regulate the market. Some critics argue that the Federal Reserve's missteps in managing the monetary system created an economic bubble. That bubble pervaded the real estate market in part through relaxed lending standards promulgated by the government-sponsored enterprises Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. When the bubble inevitably deflated, the crisis spread to the general economy, resulting in high unemployment and negative or slow economic growth. But will the measures the government took to stem the crisis and regulate the market reduce economic growth in the long term? John Allison will outline the fundamental economic and philosophical solutions to these problems in his presentation.

12:30 p.m. Lunch (Withers-Brown Hall)
2 p.m. PANEL III(Caplin Auditorium)

The Welfare State and American Exceptionalism
With the recent passage of President Barack Obama's health care legislation, it is time to reassess whether it is possible to have a welfare state that meshes with the American constitutional tradition. Is the enduring presence of government entitlements antithetical to our system of government or is there a way to accommodate these programs without changing the historical American relationship between the individual and the government? Will the growing role of government in the United States cause the country to increasingly mirror Europe or can the nation chart an alternate course? If the latter, what would it look like? Does the U.S. Constitution's relative lack of positive rights compared to its counterparts around the world pose problems for proponents of an American welfare state? Is the American suspicion toward state entitlements the product of a longstanding philosophical commitment or the result of historical contingency? Are there currently any constitutional limits on the growth of the welfare state? Should there be?

Michael Heller, Columbia Law School
William P. Marshall, University of North Carolina School of Law
Jeremy Rabkin, George Mason University School of Law
Neomi Rao, George Mason University School of Law

Judge Brett Kavanaugh, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit

4 p.m. PANEL IV(Caplin Auditorium)

Economic Uncertainty and the Role of the Courts
This panel will assess the role of the courts in an uncertain economic climate. Given the financial troubles plaguing the United States, how much emphasis should the judiciary place on the constitutional protection of private property? In a difficult economic climate, should a judge's empathy for those in financial distress affect his rulings? If a state defaults on its obligations, what is the appropriate role of the courts? Should a refusal to pay constitute a violation of the Takings Clause? On a broader level, to what extent do interpretive methods have financial consequences? How much stock do investors put in stability in judicial reasoning when choosing where to place their money? Does our current law protect private property too much or not enough to maximize social utility, and should that be the standard by which we judge the legal protection of property rights? Does the experience of other countries offer any lessons in this area?

Paul Mahoney, University of Virginia School of Law
Paul Stephan, University of Virginia School of Law
Todd Zywicki, George Mason University School of Law

Judge Diane Sykes, 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals

6 p.m. cocktail reception(Boar's Head Inn)
7 p.m. banquet and keynote speech(Boar's Head Inn)
Justice Clarence Thomas, U.S. Supreme Court


Registration is available at http://fedsocsymposium2011.eventbrite.com/.


A number of area hotels are providing group rates. These hotels are not within walking distance of the Law School, but there will be a shuttle to/from the Law School and parking is free at each hotel. To make reservations, use the following contact information:

Omni Charlottesville Hotel
235 West Main Street (Downtown Mall area)
Charlottesville, VA 22902
(434) 971-5500
$145 per night. Call and ask for UVA Law School "Federalist Society" rate. 

Deadline for reservations: February 4, 2011
2.5 miles to the School of Law

Hampton Inn
900 W. Main Street (Corner area)
Charlottesville, VA 22903
(434) 923-8600
1.8 miles to the School of Law

Courtyard by Marriott
1201 West Main Street (Corner area)
Charlottesville, VA€Ž 22903
(434) 977-1700
1.8 miles to the School of Law

Red Roof Inn
1309 West Main Street (Corner area)
Charlottesville, VA 22903
(434) 295-4333
1.7 miles to the School of Law

The shuttle to and from the Law School will only stop at the Corner area hotels and NOT the Omni. However, those staying at the Omni can reach the shuttle pick up location via free trolley or taxi.

If you would like help finding a roommate, please contact us at 2011fedsocsymposium@gmail.com.

The University of Virginia School of Law is located at 580 Massie Rd., Charlottesville, Va., 22903 on the University's North Grounds. With the exception of the banquet, all symposium events will be held at the Law School. The banquet will be at the Boar's Head Inn, located at 200 Ednam Dr, Charlottesville, Va., 22903.

Because it is difficult to fly into Charlottesville and the Law School is not within walking distance from the symposium hotels, we encourage all participants to drive to the symposium.

You can reach Charlottesville by car, train, bus or air.

By Car

From the Northeast:From the Beltway around Washington, D.C., take I-66 West to the second Rt. 29 exit (at Gainesville). Go south on Rt. 29 until you reach Charlottesville. Go under the 250 Bypass, pass the Barracks Road Shopping Center on your right and turn right at the traffic light at Arlington Blvd. The Law School is at the end of Arlington Blvd. For parking, turn right on Massie Rd., take the first left, and turn into the parking lot on the right.

From the South:From I-95 in Richmond, take I-64 West, and take exit 118B for Rt. 29 North, or come up by Rt. 29 North from Greensboro, N.C. Either way, take Rt. 29 North to the Leonard Sandridge Rd. exit. Turn left at the traffic light (onto Massie Rd.). You will pass Darden, the business school, on the left, and then the front of the law school on the right; take the next left and make an immediate right into the parking lot.

From the West: Take I-64 East, or take the Pennsylvania Turnpike, I-81 South and I-64 East. To get to the law school, take Rt. 29 North. See directions under "From the South" above.

By Train

Amtrak serves Charlottesville with arrivals from a number of major cities on the east coast at an affordable price. Amtrak just added additional rail service from Charlottesville to Washington, D.C., making Charlottesville easily reachable from the Amtrak northeast corridor. The Charlottesville Amtrak station is located at 810 West Main St., Charlottesville, VA22903 and is only two miles from the law school and a few blocks from the symposium hotels.

By Bus

Greyhound serves Charlottesville with arrivals from a number of major cities. The Charlottesville Greyhound station is located at 310 West Main St., Charlottesville, VA 22901 and is only two miles from the law school and a few blocks from the symposium hotels. Additionally, the Starlight Express provides nonstop bus service to and from Charlottesville from New York City. The bus runs once per day for $179 round trip or $99 each way. More information can be found at www.nycshuttle.com.

By Air

Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport (CHO), located approximately nine miles from the law school, provides direct flights to select cities, including Atlanta, Detroit, Philadelphia, Charlotte, New York, and Washington-Dulles. The law school and symposium hotels are accessible from CHO via taxi, car rental, or hotel shuttle. Additionally, Richmond International Airport (RIC) is just over an hour from Charlottesville and features direct flights to many more major cities. Charlottesville is accessible from RIC via car rental or other ground transportation.

If you would like help finding someone to share a ride with, please contact us at 2011fedsocsymposium@gmail.com.


The national Federalist Society office will provide travel scholarships to registered members of the Federalist Society's national organization. This travel scholarship will cover 50 percent of air, bus, train, gas and rental car travel expenses. If students choose to drive and carpool with at least two other students, the national organization will cover as close to 100 percent of travel expenses as their budget permits. Solo drivers will be reimbursed 50 percent of their gas expenses. Please note, this travel scholarship is applicable for travel only, and not for hotel accommodations.

Reimbursement forms will be provided at the conference and should be submitted to the national organization after the symposium.

Information on becoming a member is available here.


Charlottesville is a relaxed college town located at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, two hours southwest of Washington, D.C. A picturesque and thriving metropolitan area of more than 200,000, Charlottesville has kept its small-town feeling. Visitors will discover a community in which they can relax, find plentiful entertainment, and appreciate abundant natural beauty, all within the confines of a traditional college town. The Charlottesville area also offers a number of historical sites including Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and James Madison's Montpelier. More

With more than 200 restaurants, Charlottesville claims among the most restaurants per capita of any city in America and offers myriad options for any budget and cuisine preference. Area restaurants are featured in publications such as Gourmet magazine and The New York Times, and an impressive array of well over 20 local wineries offer award-winning vintages. More

Culture and Entertainment
Cultural opportunities abound. Theater, opera, and music are community fixtures. The Charlottesville area was the home of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe. Monticello, Jefferson's plantation manor, is located just a few miles from downtown. The home of James Monroe, Ash Lawn-Highland, is down the road from Monticello. About 25 miles northeast of Charlottesville is Montpelier, the home of James and Dolley Madison. More

No place is Jefferson's legacy more real than at Monticello, his mountain-top home and America's only site listed on the World Register of Historic Places.A visit to Monticello remains a touchstone of American culture, a rite of passage for all who seek to understand American history, and an immersion into the greatest of American minds. Monticello is located just a few miles from UVA. Find more information at www.monticello.org.

Montpelier, the home of James and Dolley Madison, is roughly 25 miles from Charlottesville. Madison was raised at Montpelier, lived there after his marriage to Dolley, returned there after his presidency, and died there in his study surrounded by the books and papers that marked so much of his life's work. It was at Montpelier where Madison researched past democracies and conceived of the system of government that became our republic. The Montpelier estate features the Madison mansion, historic buildings, exhibits, archaeological sites, gardens, forests, hands-on activities, a new Visitor Center, and a freedman's cabin and farm. Find more information at www.monteplier.org.

The Downtown Mall
Charlottesville's downtown is home to the Downtown Mall, one of the longest outdoor pedestrian malls in the nation, with stores, restaurants, art galleries, cafes, and an indoor ice-skating rink.The renovated Paramount Theater hosts various events, including Broadway shows and concerts. Other attractions on the Downtown Mall are the Virginia Discovery Museum and a 3,500 seat outdoor amphitheater, the Charlottesville Pavilion.

The Corner
A collection of student shops, bookstores, cafes, and night spots, "the Corner" on University Avenue is the center of student life at the University. Always bustling, the Corner is the hub of UVA nightlife. There are also a number of great tasting and inexpensive restaurants on the Corner. It is a popular place for students to get lunch or dinner.

Virginia, the home of North American wine, is fifth among the states in terms of number of wineries, and Charlottesville, part of the Monticello American Viticultural Area, has many wineries located within a 30–45 minute drive. Barboursville Vineyards, King Family Vineyards, and Veritas Vineyard and Winery are local favorites within the law school community. Most vineyards offer tastings for a small fee, and if you are coming in early or staying late, we would invite you to take an afternoon to enjoy local Virginia wine-making. Find more information at www.monticellowinetrail.com.

Surrounding Area
Numerous Civil War sites and historical markers detailing more than two hundred years of history are located in the surrounding area. The nearby Shenandoah National Park offers recreational activities and beautiful scenery, with rolling mountains and many hiking trails. Skyline Drive is a well-known scenic drive that runs the length of the park, alternately winding through thick forest and emerging upon sweeping scenic overlooks. The Blue Ridge Parkway, a similar scenic drive that extends 469 miles south to Great Smoky Mountains National Park in North Carolina, terminates at the southern entrance of Shenandoah, where it turns into Skyline Drive. This junction of the two scenic drives is only 22 miles west of downtown Charlottesville.

More information on the history, activities, and entertainment in Charlottesville can be found here.


If you have any questions, please send an e-mail to 2011FedSocSymposium@gmail.com.

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Student Reimbursement | Visiting Charlottesville | Contact Us


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