Law School Federalist Society Co-Founded by Scalia Opens to Undergrads

The organization is dedicated to conservative legal thought.

By Ryan Fleishman

The Federalist Society recently opened its previously exclusive University of Chicago Law School chapter to undergraduate students.  

The Federalist Society is an organization dedicated to conservative legal thought and an originalist interpretation of the Constitution. 

The Law School chapter was one of three founding branches of the Federalist Society, along with the Yale and Harvard Law School chapters. The late Justice Antonin Scalia, a former professor at the Law School, was a founding member and faculty advisor to the chapter. 

The primary activities of the Federalist Society student chapters involve hosting speakers to give lectures and lead debates while providing members with social and academic opportunities. The University of Chicago chapter holds near weekly speakers. While the vast majority of Federalist Society chapters are exclusive to lawyers and Law School students, the allowance of undergraduate students in chapters is not unprecedented, and any person can pay dues to become a general member. General members are part of the Federalist Society, but miss resources and programming specific to the student chapter. 

According to College Republicans president and Federalist Society member Matthew Foldi, the University of Chicago chapter had long been interested in including undergraduates, and many undergraduates had previously displayed interest in joining the Society. “I believe that events have always been open to undergraduates, but this is a huge step in formalizing what had already been done in practice,” he said. 

Interested students can join by reaching out to Foldi or anyone in a position of leadership in the Federalist Society. Students receive a discounted five-dollar annual membership fee. 

The next Federalist Society event is "The 17th Amendment: Is Voting Ever a Bad Thing?" with speaker Professor Bradley P. Jacob on Wednesday, October 26. When asked about upcoming events of interest, Foldi wrote, “I'm particularly excited for ‘The First Amendment is Not Enough: Why Free Speech Needs a Moral Defense’ because we have seen how important an issue free speech is on our own campus, ‘Class Actions,’ because Ted Frank was an alum of the Law School who has an extremely interesting background, and ‘International Law and ISIS.’”