The Catholic University of America




Judge Douglas Ginsburg Addresses CUA Law Federalist Society


Law students attracted to the philosophy and principles of the Federalist Society were left with an enhanced understanding of that view of the law after a Sept. 7 lecture given by Judge Douglas Ginsburg, United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. 

Speaking to a large audience in Slowinski Courtroom, Judge Ginsburg offered a learned history of the development of law in Western society. He traced the evolution of legal ideas such as contracts, statutes and social rights to their full emergence in the Constitution of the United States.
Judge Ginsburg, who has held many high judicial appointments and was a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, also discussed the advantages of having a written Constitution that provides the fundamental law of the land.
Adhering to Constitutional guidelines can slow down the pace of change, but it provides a more thorough and deliberative engine for it, said Ginsburg.
The noted jurist provided a history of American jurisprudence during his remarks, as well. He discussed the effort by President Franklin Roosevelt during the 1930s to pack the Supreme Court with up to 15 judges, thus providing a majority sympathetic to his legislative agenda, and also touched upon the dramatic expansion of the interpretation of the Commerce Clause, a Congressional power to regulate trade and commerce with Indian tribes that is used today to justify many federal laws and regulations.
The Federalist Society is a group of conservatives and libertarians interested in the current state of the legal order. It is 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 the duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be.