The Federalist Society enjoyed great success at every level during the last year as our Annual Report and press clippings detail. The breadth of our activities continues to expand with our Regulatory Transparency Project, our Article I Initiative, our work with state courts, and all of the activities of our student and lawyers chapters and our practice groups.
The Federalist Society was much in the news in 2017, especially in conjunction with judicial selection. It delights us that many of those involved with the Society who care deeply about the principles we discuss and debate are serving their country and in one way or another, attempting to apply their principles in practice.
For from its first days, the Society has focused on ideas. We have fostered intellectual discussion of ideas in general, and of originalism and textualism in particular, in every sector of the legal community. In addition to building on our aforementioned results, we see an extra challenge ahead for free speech and open inquiry. To counter these trends, those who view themselves as intellectually oriented must make a point to fully understand the views of those they disagree with.
Too often we think that a person’s position is based solely on one reason which, at the end of the day, we believe foolish.
But often there are other key reasons for the opinion and the person might not even hold such beliefs except for those other reasons. You may still differ sharply, but it will not be as easy to label the opponent as evil. But perhaps even more importantly, the more thoroughly you understand the ideas you disagree with, the more profitable engaging with them is. It is from significant differences of views fully aired and understood that society develops better ideas. Our liberal democracy and perhaps Western civilization depends on such exchanges, but they simply will not be valuable if, rather than debating and discussing what we seriously believe, we simply engage in ad hominem attacks and refuting straw men.
In this effort, as in all of our activities, we depend on our thousands of volunteers and donors across the country. We thank you for your help and look forward to continuing to work with you.
Eugene B. Meyer