The American Constitution Society is the progressive counterpart to the conservative Federalist Society, a group which, whatever you think about its effect on America, has been extremely effective in seeding the courts and the legal academy with committed Movement conservatives who've worked for years to shape American law and government.
This weekend, the Yale Law School chapter of the ACS, the national ACS, the Open Society Institute and the Center for American Progress are putting on a conference at Yale Law School that will discuss and plan how to build a movement within the legal community that will do the same for progressives -- law shaped to serve the many, rather than the few and the powerful. The conference is titled The Constitution in 2020. And National ACS is launching a new Constitution in the 21st Century project to continue the discussion that will begin this weekend.
Like all the best stuff being done on the center-left right now. This isn't about 2006 or 2008 or figuring how all the cards might fall right in this or that cycle. It's about creating the building blocks of progressive reform, one step at a time, one lawyer at a time, one new idea at a time, building networks of like-minded individuals who create enduring change. That's stuff that doesn't show results in a week or a month; but it endures. And if done wisely, it's something progressives need a lot more of.
In any case, the conference goes from Friday the 8th through Sunday the 10th. Some of the noteworthy participants include Judge Guido Calabresi and former Judge Patricia Wald, former Solicitors General Drew Days and Seth Waxman, former Acting Solicitor General Walter Dellinger, former Dean of Stanford Law School Kathleen Sullivan, ACS Executive Director Lisa Brown, President and CEO of the Center for American Progress John Podesta, Cory Booker, and constitutional scholars and big-think big-wigs Bruce Ackerman and Cass Sunstein.
Pre-registration is required; but the conference is open to the public with a nominal fee (15 bucks) for attendence. You can see the full schedule here. And they're even chattering about it already on a new conference blog.
It's open to the press too. So if you're within a reasonable distance of New Haven and you care about these issues, you might want to stop by.