A Debt Against the Living: An Introduction to Originalism


Ilan Wurman


Thomas Jefferson famously wrote that the earth belongs to the living. His letter to James Madison is often quoted for the proposition that we should not be bound to the “dead hand of the past,” suggesting that the Constitution should instead be interpreted as a living, breathing document. Less well known is Madison’s response, in which he said that the Constitution forms a debt against the living, who take the benefit of it. This debt, Madison claimed, could only be discharged by a kind of originalism. 



Who is right? Thomas Jefferson or James Madison? 

Please join us for a conversation with Ilan Wurman, author of A Debt Against the Living: An Introduction to Originalism, to discuss this question as well as the latest scholarship and problems in originalism. Stanford law professor and former federal judge Michael W. McConnell has described the book as the first “to explain to the ordinary citizen—free from what the late Justice Antonin Scalia called ‘jiggery pokery’—what it means to understand the Constitution as enduring law rather than politics by a different name.” 

Ilan Wurman is a Nonresident Fellow at the Stanford Constitutional Law Center and an attorney in Washington, D.C. He was formerly deputy general counsel on Senator Rand Paul’s US presidential campaign, associate counsel on Senator Tom Cotton’s campaign for US Senate, and a law clerk to the honorable Jerry E. Smith of the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. His writing on administrative law and constitutional interpretation has also appeared or is forthcoming in numerous law reviews, including the Stanford Law Review and the Texas Law Review, as well as in national journals, including National Affairs, The Weekly Standard, and City Journal. He graduated from Stanford Law School, and from Claremont McKenna College with degrees in Government and Physics.

A limited number of copies of the book, “A Debt Against the Living: An Introduction to Originalism” will be available for purchase at the event ($20 cash/check).


EARN ONE HOUR OF MCLE CREDIT

When: Wednesday, October 18, 2017, 11:30 a.m. (registration), 12:00 p.m. (lunch)

Where: First Floor Conference Center, 2040 Main Street, Irvine, (949) 760-0404. Bring your parking ticket to the luncheon for validation.

Cost: $30/members, $35/nonmembers, $20/students, for lunch and 1 hour of MCLE credit (the Federalist Society is a California State Bar approved provider of MCLE).

RSVP and Pay: To RSVP and pay by credit card, click the Buy Now button on the right. To pay by cash, credit card or check at the door, please send an RSVP to Carol Matheis, at OCFederalist@cox.net and make checks payable to "The Federalist Society."

We welcome all interested attorneys and non-attorneys to our events.


State Religion Clauses after Trinity Lutheran: Are the States’ Constitutions Unconstitutional?


Lawrence VanDyke
Solicitor General of the State of Nevada


In June of this year, the Supreme Court held, in a 7-2 opinion, that the exclusion of churches from an otherwise neutral and secular aid program violates the First Amendment’s guarantee of free exercise of religion. The Court held that the free exercise clause of the First Amendment protects the freedom to practice religion and subjects laws that burden religious practice to strict scrutiny. Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia, Inc. v. Comer.

Trinity Lutheran has been cited as an important victory in the battle to protect religious liberty. Thirty-eight of our states have amendments that “prohibit direct governmental aid to educational institutions that have a religious affiliation.” These so-called “Blaine” amendments were instituted in the late 19th century, and as demonstrated by the Trinity Lutheran case, their reach and enforceability is unclear. Join us as we host Nevada Solicitor General Lawrence VanDyke to discuss the Trinity Lutheran case (in which the State of Nevada filed amicus briefs), Blaine Amendments, his efforts in Nevada’s school choice litigation (which involved a Blaine Amendment challenge), and why Blaine amendments may be problematic for reasons that were never squarely addressed in the Trinity Lutheran decision.


Mr. VanDyke has been Nevada’s Solicitor General since 2015. Prior to serving as Nevada’s Solicitor General, Mr. VanDyke was Solicitor General of the State of Montana, and also served as Assistant Solicitor General for the State of Texas. Before public service, he practiced law with Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher in the area of constitutional and appellate law. He served as a law clerk for the Honorable Janice Rogers Brown on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Mr. VanDyke holds both a B.S. and M.A. in Engineering from Montana State University—Bozeman. He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review.


EARN ONE HOUR OF MCLE CREDIT

When:  Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 11:30 a.m. (registration), 12:00 p.m. (lunch)

Where:  Oliver Café at Equinox Sports Club, 1980 Main Street, Irvine, Tel. (949) 
251-6363.  Bring your parking ticket to the luncheon for validation.

Cost: $30/members, $35/nonmembers, $20/students, for lunch and 1 hour of MCLE credit (the Federalist Society is a California State Bar approved provider of MCLE).


RSVP and Pay: To RSVP and pay by credit card, click the Buy Now button on the right. 
To pay by cash, credit card or check at the door, please send an RSVP to Carol Matheis, at OCFederalist@cox.net and make checks payable to "The Federalist Society."  

We welcome all interested attorneys and non-attorneys to our events. 

Reining in the Administrative State

Roman Buhler
In 1960, the Code of Federal Regulations stood at 22,877 pages.  By 2013, it contained 175,496 pages.  It can be argued that every page of federal regulation is, in some form or fashion, curtailing the promise of individual liberty bestowed upon us by our Constitution. 

Join us as we host Roman Buhler, of Buhler and Associates, and Director of the Madison Coalition, to discuss the administrative state and efforts to bring permanent end to "regulation without representation" and to help ensure that federal regulations, like federal laws, have the consent of the governed. Mr. Buhler will review of the current legislative method available, the Congressional Review Act. In addition, he will address other legislative proposals that may be taken up by the Congress—the REINS (Regulations From the Executive In Need of Scrutiny) Act, Separation of Powers Restoration Act, and the Agency Accountability Act. Finally, he will explain the proposed Regulation Freedom Amendment, and detail the process by which the Amendment could become law.

Mr. Buhler is President of Buhler and Associates, a consulting and lobbying firm located in McLean, Virginia.  He is also Director of the Madison Coalition, an organization dedicated to establishing a Regulation Freedom Amendment that permanently requires that major new federal regulations be approved by Congress.  Mr. Buhler served as Newt Gingrich’s first Committee Counsel, when Mr. Gingrich was Speaker of the House, and from 1989 to 2003 and again in 2007 as Elections Counsel to the Committee on House Administration, handling election issues.  As Counsel, his work included promoting legislation to protect election integrity, overseeing the regulatory activities of the Federal Election Commission, and investigating allegations of election fraud in contested elections for Congress.  Prior to his service in the House, Buhler worked as an attorney and political consultant in California. He holds a B.A. from Stanford University, and a J.D. from the University of Southern California Gould School of Law.  Mr. Buhler also graduated from the Harvard University Program for Senior Managers in Government.

EARN ONE HOUR OF MCLE CREDIT

When:  Wednesday, June 28, 2017, 11:30 a.m. (registration), 12:00 p.m. (lunch)

Where:  Oliver Café at Equinox Sports Club, 1980 Main Street, Irvine, Tel. (949) 251-6363.  Bring your parking ticket to the luncheon for validation.

Cost: $30/members, $35/nonmembers, $20/students, for lunch and 1 hour of MCLE credit (the Federalist Society is a California State Bar approved provider of MCLE).


RSVP and Pay: To RSVP and pay by credit card, click the Buy Now button on the right. To pay by cash, credit card or check at the door, please send an RSVP to Carol Matheis, at OCFederalist@cox.net and make checks payable to "The Federalist Society."  

We welcome all interested attorneys and non-attorneys to our events.