Sunday, December 7, 2008
Has the American Constitution Society (ACS) replaced the Federalist Society in the Obama-era?
In a piece entitled Legal Organization May Become Influential Beyond Its Dreams in today's Washington Post, reporter Michael Fletcher writes that the new influence of ACS
is a remarkable turn for an organization born in the frustration that liberal legal thinkers shared over the Supreme Court's role in deciding George W. Bush's contested victory over Vice President Gore in 2000. Many of them saw in the high court's decision a need to counteract the growing influence of the conservative legal movement with a movement of their own.
While it is clear that ACS will achieve a new level of influence in the Obama administration, it remains to be seen how persuasive Obama will find any specific suggestions. On the campaign trail, his view of the law was often elusive. He has talked about the importance of judges having broad experience. But he has also praised the Supreme Court decision striking down the District of Columbia's handgun ban, a ruling that many progressive lawyers did not like. Obama also disagreed with the court's decision that the death penalty may not be applied to child rapists, a case in which the court's most conservative members dissented.