18 May 2014

The Federalist Impeachment Party

Posted by Jeffrey Toobin

Want to know what’s on the mind of conservative lawyers in Washington? It’s the impeachment of Barack Obama.

That was the message of the Federalist Society’s second annual Executive Branch Review Conference, last week. The purpose of the conclave was to examine whether regulatory actions by the Obama Administration “constitute a form of legal and regulatory overreach.” The answer: You bet. (Apparently, given the timing of these conferences, there was never a need to study whether the Bush Administration engaged in any “overreach.”)

To many liberals, the Federalist Society is like a shadowy cabal out of “The Da Vinci Code.” In truth, the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy, which was founded in the early nineteen-eighties, is basically a platform for the discussion of conservative ideas. True, it’s been a productive network for filling jobs in Republican Administrations, but there’s nothing sinister about that. The group’s meetings are open, video recordings of them are posted on the Web, and, most important, the Federalists invariably invite progressives to participate in their panels. As a result, Federalist conferences feature high-level intellectual combat of a kind rarely seen in the sound-bite-driven capital.


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