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Federalist Society National Lawyers Convention Video
Michael Ramsey

Video of the Federalist Society's 2021 National Lawyers Convention, held November 11-13, is available at the Federalist Society website.  This year's theme was Public and Private Power: Preserving Freedom or Preventing Harm?  Videos are are free and don't require any registration. 

This year's theme did not prompt as much discussion of originalism as past years.  But of course this panel is notable:

Originalism: Perspectives from the Bench

Many would agree that originalism is now a standard when it comes to judicial philosophy. On this panel, a variety of judges will discuss how they 'do' originalism while sitting on a case. Furthermore, they will provide their views on whether and how advocates can best brief and argue cases along originalist lines.


Hon. Edith Jones, U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

Hon. Kevin Newsom, U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

Hon. Andrew Oldham, U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

Hon. Neomi Rao, U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit

Moderator: Hon. John Nalbandian, U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

For the Robert H. Bork Memorial Lecture, Judge Laurence H. Silberman (D.C. Circuit) delivered remarks on "The Job of Attorney General—A Historical Perspective."

This panel had some originalist orientation:

The Separation of Powers and Political Polarization

Political polarization is a great problem of our time. This panel would consider the separation of powers deformation that is a factor in polarization. Executive branch administrative decisions tend to be more extreme than legislative solutions, particularly when, as is usually the case, the houses of Congress and the President are divided among the parties. Thus, Congress’s delegation of policy decisions to the executive branch results in extreme regulations that can shift radically between administrations, creating government by whiplash. The panel would consider whether institutional restorations, like the curbing of delegation and Chevron, might help in restoring a constitution of compromise.


Prof. Neal E. Devins, Sandra Day O’Connor Professor of Law & Professor of Government, William & Mary Law School

Prof. Victoria Nourse, Ralph V. Whitworth Professor in Law, Georgetown University Law Center

Hon. Ajit Pai, Nonresident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute; Former Chairman, Federal Communications Commission

Prof. Michael Rappaport, Hugh and Hazel Darling Foundation Professor of Law & Director for the Center for the Study of Constitutional Originalism, University of San Diego School of Law

Moderator: Hon. William H. Pryor Jr., Chief Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

Also this one:

Religious Liberty after Fulton v. City of Philadelphia

Fulton v. City of Philadelphia was a victory for religious liberty, but it is unclear how broad its implications will be for other cases and what the opinions in Fulton portend for the future of Employment Division v. Smith. The Court’s majority opinion relied on provisions of Philadelphia’s foster care agency contracting process, but the majority also potentially reworked Smith’s understanding of when government regulation is "generally applicable." Meanwhile, several justices indicated a willingness to revisit Smith altogether, though what a post-Smith free exercise jurisprudence would look like remains unclear. This panel will explore these and other questions raised by Fulton and the future of religious free exercise.


Prof. Akhil Reed Amar, Sterling Professor of Law, Yale Law School

Prof. Thomas C. Berg, James L. Oberstar Professor of Law and Public Policy, University of St. Thomas School of Law

Prof. William Marshall, William Rand Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor of Law, University of North Carolina School of Law

Ms. Lori Windham, Senior Counsel, The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

Moderator: Hon. Lawrence VanDyke, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

And this one had a familiar name, although very little originalism:

IP Law and Culture

A perennial debate about intellectual property and culture is how intellectual property laws enhance or restrict the ability of people to contribute to and build a culture. The Supreme Court has described copyright as "the engine of free expression," but criticisms frequently arise when intellectual property law prevents people from using the work of others to express themselves. In the trademark context, recent Supreme Court decisions struck down the prohibition of federal trademark registration for immoral, scandalous, and disparaging marks as a violation of First Amendment speech rights. Some argue that the Court’s reasoning should further be applied to strike down most federal Trademark Dilution claims, which allow brand owners to sue those who use their trademarks in ways that blur or tarnish the trademark. The debate regarding copyright fair use also continues to rage on, pitting the rights of original creators against the ability of appropriation artists and others to use those original works.

This panel will consider these longstanding controversies in light of recent developments.


Prof. Lisa Ramsey, Professor of Law & Founding Member, Center for Intellectual Property Law and Markets, University of San Diego School of Law

Prof. Robert Spoo, Associate Dean for Faculty Development & Chapman Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Tulsa College of Law

Hon. Karyn Temple, Senior Executive Vice President and Global General Counsel, Motion Picture Association; Former Register of Copyrights and Director, U.S. Copyright Office.

Prof. Sandra Aistars, Senior Fellow for Copyright Research and Policy, Senior Scholar at the Center for Intellectual Property x Innovation Policy, Antonin Scalia Law School, George Mason University

Moderator: Hon. Ryan T. Holte, U.S. Court of Federal Claims 

Related: At Volokh Conspiracy, Josh Blackman: #FedSoc2021 and Dobbs - Synthesizing three days of debate and discussion. From the introduction:

At this conference, the most contentious topic was Dobbs. And there is a wide range of thoughts on this issue. Here, I will try to synthesize three days of debate and discussion on Dobbs. At some points, my own views will seep in but I will try to keep the big picture in mind. From my perspective, there are four general camps of views. These camps are not distinct, and often overlap. Indeed, most people hold conflicted views...