The Democratic Party of Wisconsin issued a press release yesterday unfairly attacking the Federalist Society and alleging that it had taken positions on several high profile and controversial issues. The press release demonstrates either a complete lack of knowledge about the Society or an indifference to factual accuracy.
A quick look at the Federalist Society’s website reveals that, in an effort to sponsor fair, serious, and open debate, the Society does not lobby for legislation, take policy positions, or sponsor or endorse candidates for public office.
The Democratic Party of Wisconsin might be surprised to learn that several of its liberal heroes (including prominent members of the Clinton and Obama Administrations) have praised the organization, participated in Society events, and even supported its mission.
Former President of the American Civil Liberties Union Nadine Strossen said that the Society has contributed to “free speech, free debate, and most importantly public understanding of, awareness of, and appreciation of the Constitution.” Walter Dellinger, acting Solicitor General during the Clinton Administration, said of the Society: “There was a time when we thought that intellectual ferment was on the left and the right was brain dead. The Federalist Society played a major role in reversing that assumption.”
Are these people referring to the same organization that the Democratic Party of Wisconsin labels “extremist” and “inflammatory”?
In Wisconsin, the local Federalist Society Chapters have enjoyed participation from many distinguished members of the judiciary and legal academy. For example, Judge Diane Sykes, Marquette University Law School Dean Joseph Kearney, Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson, and Judge Lynn Adelman are just a few prominent members of our communities who have participated in Federalist Society events.
Nationally, the Society is an organization of 40,000 diverse lawyers, law students, and scholars, with many more joining the Society for debates and panels. With these numbers, and with the mission and goals stated on The Federalist Society’s website (and championed by both liberals and conservatives), it’s hard to see where the Democratic Party of Wisconsin found its “facts.”
For more information about The Federalist Society, visit www.fed-soc.org.
Update: This release is also available at Wispolitics.com.