A Tavern Debate

The Chicago Lawyers Chapter
Start : Thursday, March 29, 2012 05:30 PM
End : Thursday, March 29, 2012 07:00 PM

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The Heartland Institute’s Library
1 South Wacker Dr. #2740
Chicago, IL 60606

The Chicago Lawyers’ Chapter of the Federalist Society


A Tavern Debate
Resolved: Judicial restraint in defense of tyranny is
no virtue, assertion of judicial power in defense of
the Constitution is no vice.

The tables have turned. The courts have shifted. Some dream of a day when the judiciary is no longer held captive by the roving eyes of liberty-destroying justices, and the lost constitution can finally be restored. But—the other side asks—how can conservatives possibly support such assertive use of judicial power? Does that not make conservatives no better than the activists they have long opposed? Is judicial activism only the invention of new doctrines, new theories, and new notions of social order to be imposed by a cloistered court upon an unwilling people? Is judicial activism practiced only by those constructing and imposing ephemeral rules with no basis in our traditions and no basis in the constitutional text? Or, may a Court asserting its judicial power to overturn Constitution-incompatible stare decisis also be accused of judicial activism? Whether it be Heller, Citizens United, or—James Madison willing—N.F.I.B. v. Department of Health and Human Services, is the Court is simply defending the Constitution when it relies on the text of the Constitution to strike down laws and/or old precedents? Would a court acting to overturn Roe v. Wade or even Wickard v. Filburn be “judicially activist” or acting consonant with the Constitution as a “judicial restraint?” In a Republic, can it be a vice to lasso Leviathan with the founding documents? What are the truly conservative principles of jurisprudence? Come join the debate!

When it comes to the courts and the lost constitution, which side are you on? As always, this tavern debate is an audience participation event.

Registration details:

Cost: $25 if paid in advance, $35 at the door ($25 at the door with current Federalist Society membership card or Student I.D. in hand)

To Register/Pre-pay, RSVP by March 25, 2012 at

Space is limited; we reserve the right to refuse admission to anyone not pre-registered

(Note: building security will not let you in after 6pm, so don’t be late)