The Federalist Society

A Conference Discussing the Contributions of Judge Robert H. Bork

June 26 - Washington, DC

Start : Tuesday, June 26, 2007 9:00 AM

End   : Tuesday, June 26, 2007 7:00 PM

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The Mayflower Hotel
1127 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C.

 As part of our 25th Anniversary celebration the Federalist Society will present a full-day Conference honoring Judge Robert H. Bork and his contributions to the law. The conference will feature a live conversation with Judge Bork, conducted by Judge Raymond Randolph, panel discussions on International Law, Law and Culture, Judicial Philosophy, and Antitrust Law, a luncheon and a closing reception. This event will take place on June 26 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC.


8:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.
Conference Registration

9:00 a.m. - 9:15 a.m.
Welcome and Opening Remarks

9:15 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.
Judicial Philosophy/Originalism-The Tempting of America: The Political Seduction of the Law

Judge Bork has been one of the nation's leading advocates of the proposition that constitutional adjudication must be guided by the Framers' original understanding of the Constitution. To do otherwise is to allow judges to apply "no will but their own." Judge Bork's work set the stage for decades of debate on judicial philosophy and constitutional interpretation. What has been the real and practical effect of Judge Bork's work on Originalism and constitutional interpretation? Is Originalism an effective bulwark against judicial activism? Or, is the approach just as susceptible to indeterminacy and abuse as any other judicial philosophy?

11:00 a.m. - 12:15 p.m.
Competition Law and the Free Market- The Antitrust Paradox: A Policy at War with Itself

In The Antitrust Paradox: A Policy at War with Itself, Judge Bork maintained that antitrust enforcement had overzealously applied the law in a manner that led to the protection of inefficient firms and the sanctioning of efficient firms, to the ultimate detriment of consumers. This form of interference in the free market, he argued, raised consumer prices by supporting flagging companies in order to maintain the perception of competition. How have Judge Bork's insights informed antitrust law and enforcement over the past 25 years? Have Judge Bork's views changed the approach utilized by courts in antitrust litigation? How has Judge Bork's analytical framework informed the debate about competition policy in new and emerging industries, such as the high tech sector?

12:30 p.m. - 2:15 p.m.
Conference Luncheon Including "A Conversation with Judge Robert H. Bork," conducted by Judge A. Raymond Randolph, U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Law and Culture- Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline

"Something about our moral perceptions and reactions has changed profoundly. If that change is permanent, the implication for our future is bleak." So wrote Judge Bork ten years ago, in Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline. In pertinent part, Judge Bork was decrying the rise of radical individualism and radical egalitarianism, and the ways in which the courts effected this philosophical transformation through a distortion of the Constitution and our laws. Has Judge Bork prompted an important discussion about the state of our society, or has he distracted us from other more important business and unnecessarily Balkanized our citizenry? Are the Judge's reflections consistent with the American experiment in self-government? How does Judge Bork seek to strike a balance between freedom and personal responsibility? Are there better alternatives for successful self-government?

4:15 p.m. - 5:45 p.m.
International Law-Coercing Virtue: The Worldwide Rule of Judges

Judge Bork has been a critic of the ascendancy of international law and its effect on America sovereignty. His broadest critiques note the vagueness of international law and the troubling fact that international law often rests upon no fixed political authority. Focusing special concern on "customary international law," often ascertained as the mere consensus of international legal scholars, Judge Bork writes that "[t]here could be no more anti-democratic way to make international law than to rest it upon the opinion of professors." He also has criticized the courts, citing as particularly problematic fashioning customary international law out of non-binding agreements and even international agreements that the U.S. has refused to join. Judge Bork has taken issue as well with U.S. courts' increasing propensity to cite foreign law in support of their decisions. How and with what limitations should U.S. courts apply international and foreign sources of law? Is modern customary international law really "law" as traditionally understood? Should foreign law ever be used by a judge to support decisions?

5:45 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
Closing Reception

Confirmed Participants to Date Include:

  • Prof. Steven G. Calabresi, Northwestern University School of Law
  • Hon. Frank H. Easterbrook, United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • Prof. Robert P. George, Department of Politics, Princeton University
  • Hon. Douglas H. Ginsburg, United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit
  • Mr. Robert J. Giuffra, Jr., Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
  • Prof. John C. Harrison, University of Virginia School of Law
  • Hon. Edwin Meese III, Heritage Foundation
  • Hon. Theodore B. Olson, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher
  • Prof. Saikrishna B. Prakash, University of San Diego School of Law
  • Prof. George L. Priest, Yale Law School
  • Prof. Jeremy A. Rabkin, Department of Government, Cornell University
  • Prof. Ilya Somin, George Mason University School of Law
  • Hon. Daniel E. Troy, Sidley Austin LLP
  • Prof. Jonathan R. Turley, The George Washington University Law School
  • Prof. John C. Yoo, Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley

Registration details:

On-line registration for this event is now closed.
On-site registration will remain open until 4pm on the day of the conference.


Government, Non-Profit and Students-$50

Up to 5.5 CLE credits available at an additional cost of $50

Please call (202) 822-8138 with any questions.

The Federalist Society