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Yale Law Federalist Society Flourishes

It may come as a surprise to some, but one of the most successful student organizations at Yale Law School is the Yale Law Federalist Society, a group of conservative and libertarian law students committed to “preserving the mainstays of our free government: federalism, the separation of powers, and judicial fidelity to the text of the Constitution.”

“We dissent from the tired liberal orthodoxy reigning in America’s law schools and at Yale,” reads the statement on the Yale Law Federalist Society website.

Though Society members may disagree with what they see as the mainstream thought at Yale, that very tension serves them well, according to Christopher Angevine ’08, vice president of events for the group. “I tell conservative students they should come here because it will make them better lawyers,” he says. “It helps you hone your debate if your beliefs are constantly challenged.”

From what used to be a small group of self-described “true believers,” the Federalist Society at Yale has grown to approximately 80 members and is attempting to reach out to a wider audience by offering more events and encouraging a diversity of viewpoints.

“Our events are attended by a mix of students who represent the full range of Yale’s ideological spectrum,” said Eugene Nardelli ’07, former president of the Federalist Society. “In fact, some liberal students so regularly attend that they have asked to be added to the email list.”

The Society hosted a number of major events in recent years, some jointly with Yale Law School’s American Constitution Society, on topics such as gay marriage, the constitutionality and advisability of punitive damages awards, the influence of blogs on the practice of law, and free speech issues raised by depictions of Muhammad in a Danish newspaper. Most events drew more than 100 people.

Read more on the Federalist Society website.