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UF Law to host national federalist society symposium

Published: February 17th, 2014

Category: News


Former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey will deliver the keynote address at the 33rd Federalist Society National Student Symposium banquet March 8.

The University of Florida Levin College of Law’s Federalist Society Student Chapter will host the 33rd Federalist Society National Student Symposium, March 7-8 at UF’s J. Wayne Reitz Union. With only one exception in the last 32 years, the student conference has been hosted by a law school ranked in the top 15 in the nation.

“Hosting this prestigious event is a great honor for our chapter,” said Devon Westhill, UF chapter president and chairman of the symposium. “We are indebted to the past leaders of the UF chapter, our dedicated faculty adviser Steven Willis, our supportive administration, and the financial support from alumni and friends such as the James Madison Institute for helping to make this possible. This honor demonstrates the University of Florida’s position as a preeminent national institution.”

The Federalist Society Student Symposium attracts hundreds of law students, lawyers, judges, and policy experts from across the country each year, and with more than 360 already registered, this installment should be no different. The conference, titled “Security vs. Freedom: Contemporary Controversies,” will address contemporary issues in the perennial debate concerning where to draw lines among security, freedom and privacy. The symposium’s keynote speaker is Former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey.

Americans have been embroiled in debate regarding the boundaries between the freedom that defines us and the safety measures necessary to achieve that freedom. The issue is so divisive that individuals who share a large majority of their core beliefs can be bitter rivals regarding the line drawing in this debate. Now, more than a decade following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, balancing national security and personal freedom seems more challenging than ever.

With events like the Boston Marathon Bombings, leaks of confidential governmental information, and shifting global hostilities occurring seemingly daily, questioning our security and freedom are commonsense and responsible questions to explore. There are also a number of deeper issues that rarely emerge in our public debate, such as: Are security and freedom necessarily in opposition? Does the expression of one entail the truncation of the other? How do we strike a balance between them – where exactly is the middle ground between totalitarianism and the solitary, nasty, brutish, and short life?

Prestigious experts from across the country will be participating in the discussion, including federal judges, private practitioners and academics. See the complete list here.

For complete details and sponsorship information, visit the symposium website, or go directly to the registration page.




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