The Federalist Society’s 2008 National Lawyers Convention will feature two University of Notre Dame Professors of Law, Richard Garnett and William Kelley. They will contribute to discussions about the role of the judiciary in American life, and will join national leaders like Michael Chertoff of Homeland Security, U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia in the conversation.
Garnett will focus on the judiciary and religious liberties. “The Framers – just like Americans today – did not always agree about what precisely the ‘freedom of religion’ means. But, they knew, as we do, that it matters,” says Garnett. “In our traditions, religious freedom is cherished as a basic human right and a non-negotiable aspect of human dignity. The goal of our First Amendment is to protect religion from government, so that it may flourish, not to push religion to the margins, in the hope that it will wither.”
Kelley will participate in a panel about judicial selection at both the federal and state levels. The panel will examine what, if anything, can be done to repair the often acrimonious federal judicial appointment process, and will consider the longstanding debate at the state level over election versus appointment of state judges.
“This conference is an occasion to share scholars’ insights and concerns with the bench and practicing bar,” says Garnett. “It is vital that we engage the pressing constitutional and legal issues of the day. This year, we observe the tenth anniversary of the International Religious Freedom Act, and the hope animating this event is that those lawyers attending will come away better informed about the challenge of protecting religious-freedom around the world, and committed to doing their part to protect that freedom.”
The conference runs Thursday through Saturday, Nov. 20-22.