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CUA Law’s Federalist Society Marks Its 30 Year Anniversary

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The two founders of the Federalist Society chapter at the Columbus School of Law reunited 30 years later to the day to marvel at how far the conservative and libertarian legal movement has come since it began to take hold in the 1980s. 

The Hon. Alan Forst, Class of 1986 (at top), along with his former faculty adviser and chapter co-founder Professor Robert Destro, spoke to current Federalist Society members on Nov. 12 as they reviewed the impact of an approach to legal doctrine that was once broadly dismissed by the legal profession and legal education in general.
 
The Federalist Society describes itself as “founded on the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of governmental powers is central to our Constitution, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be.”
 
“The Society came aboard at the right time, at the beginning of Reagan years,” remarked Forst, who is now a judge on the Florida Fourth District Court of Appeal.
 
Catholic University’s chapter began with just the two of them. As Forst wryly observed, “I only had to add a new member each week to become the fastest-growing student organization at the law school.”  
 
Through unforeseen circumstances, Forst found himself soon coordinating a national Federalist Society event during his student years, work that brought him into contact with renowned conservative legal thinkers such as the late Judge Robert Bork, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, and Justice Antonin Scalia.
 
Federalist Society chapters have grown exponentially among the nation’s law schools over the past three decades, and Forst believes the relevance of the Society’s work “is still there, it still has something to say. Student support is still the backbone.”
 
For his part, Destro explained he was drawn to involvement with the Federalist Society in part “because it was one of the few organizations where law professors could make a difference politically.”
 
Both speakers urged today’s student members to remain active, alert, and engaged.
 
“Get to know us [faculty members] so that we can push you out there and get you known,” said Destro. “Watching the work of CUA Law Federalist Society alumni has been a real inspiration.”
 
The speakers were introduced by 3L Sarah Waters, the organization’s current president.