The Federalist Society's 35th annual student symposium will bring hundreds of participants to the University of Virginia School of Law to explore issues relating to poverty and social inequality Feb. 26-27.

Hosted by the Law School's student Federalist Society chapter, "Poverty, Inequality and the Law” will feature nationally renowned scholars and leaders in a debate and four panels tackling topics such as capitalism and inequality, family, immigration restrictions and the Constitution, poverty and the safety net, and education reform and equality of opportunity. 

The Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies, which has chapters in law schools across the country, is a group of conservatives and libertarians who think the judiciary should say "what the law is, not what it should be," according to the organization's website.

"On the topic of poverty, liberals claim the moral high ground," said symposium chair Jack Lund, a third-year law student. "Their response includes federal and local interventions, including entitlements, higher taxes, and a generally bigger and more active government. Despite liberals' insistence to the contrary, conservatives and libertarians also care about the poor, but they have their own ideas about how to lift people out of poverty. This symposium will explore these ideas."

The two-day symposium will be held primarily in Caplin Auditorium. A banquet on Feb. 27 at the Omni hotel, at which U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had been scheduled to speak, will instead honor his life and work. Though the banquet is sold out, guests can still register to attend other events.


Poverty, Inequality and the Law

Friday, Feb. 26

3:30-8:45 p.m.          
Registration (Caplin Auditorium Lobby)

6:45-7 p.m.         
Welcome and Opening Remarks (Caplin Auditorium)

7-8:45 p.m.          
Panel I: Capitalism and Inequality (Caplin Auditorium)

  • Moderator: Judge Jerry E. Smith, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit 
  • Dr. Yaron Brook, The Ayn Rand Institute
  • Professor Thomas Edsall, Columbia University
  • Professor Jason Johnston, University of Virginia School of Law
  • Professor Steven Teles, Johns Hopkins University

9-10:30 p.m.       
Cocktail Reception (Caplin Pavilion)

Saturday, Feb. 27

8:30 a.m.-5:15 p.m. 
Registration (Caplin Auditorium Lobby)

8:30-9 a.m. 
Continental Breakfast (Caplin Auditorium Lobby)

9-10:45 a.m. 
Panel II: The Family (Caplin Auditorium)

  • Professor Mary Anne Case, University of Chicago Law School
  • Kay Hymowitz, The Manhattan Institute
  • Robert Woodson, Center for Neighborhood Enterprise
  • Professor W. Bradford Wilcox, University of Virginia
  • Moderator: Judge A. Raymond Randolph, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit 

10:45 a.m.-12 p.m. 
Debate: Immigration Restrictions and the Constitution (Caplin Auditorium)

  • Professor John Eastman, Chapman University Fowler School of Law
  • Professor Ilya Somin, George Mason University School of Law
  • Moderator: Judge Amul R. Thapar, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky

12-1:45 p.m. 


1:45-3:30 p.m. 
Panel III: The Safety Net and Poverty (Caplin Auditorium)

  • Christopher DeMuth, The Hudson Institute
  • Dr. William Galston, The Brookings Institution
  • Professor Julia Mahoney, University of Virginia School of Law
  • Professor David Super, Georgetown Law
  • Moderator: Professor John Harrison

3:45-5:30 p.m. 
Panel IV: Education Reform and Equality of Opportunity (Caplin Auditorium)

  • Judge Clint Bolick, Arizona Supreme Court
  • Cynthia Brown, Center for American Progress
  • Dr. William GalstonThe Brookings Institution
  • Professor Amy Wax, University of Pennsylvania School of Law
  • Moderator: Judge Jennifer W. Elrod, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit 

6-7 p.m.         
Cocktail Reception (Omni Charlottesville Hotel)

7-10 p.m.        
Banquet (Omni Charlottesville Hotel) 
In honor of Justice Antonin Scalia
With Paul D. Clement, Partner at Bancroft and former U.S. Solicitor General


Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.