HLS Republicans Head to Washington, D.C.

BY SARAH ISGUR

The HLS Republicans with Missouri Congressman Roy Blunt.

Following an annual tradition, the Harvard Law School Republicans took a trip to Washington, D.C., on March 16 and 17, meeting with Republican leaders from all three branches of government.

The trip began at the Republican National Committee where the group met with Political Director Mike DuHaime. DuHaime gave the students a look at the party’s strategy for victory in 2006, and explained the party’s views on many of the facts and figures shaping the current political scene.

That meeting was followed by a trip to the Hudson Institute, where the group met with Judge Robert Bork and Diana Furchtgott-Roth. Judge Bork, a former Solicitor General, federal appeals judge, and Supreme Court nominee, reflected with the group on a broad range of topics, from foreign intelligence surveillance to judicial nominations.

Ms. Furchtgott-Roth served in the current Bush Administration as chief economist at the Department of Labor and chief of staff at the President’s Council of Economic Advisors. She discussed the challenges of advancing sound economic policies in a city driven by short-term political concerns

After lunch, the HLS Republicans walked over to the Supreme Court, where Justice Antonin Scalia spent forty-five minutes chatting with the group about his early career, the follies of the “living Constitution,” and reports of his recent “charm offensive.” To many, this meeting was the most memorable of the trip. “Justice Scalia was great – funny, insightful, and extremely welcoming. He really made us feel at ease,” said one participant.

Next, the group headed over to the Heritage Foundation to meet with former Attorney General Edwin Meese. Mr. Meese discussed his work at Heritage and reflected on his time in the Reagan Administration, including his famous Tulane speech and his efforts to curb the overconstitutionalization of criminal procedures.

The HLS Republicans capped off their first day with a trip to Capitol Hill. There they met with House Majority Whip Roy Blunt, the Missouri congressman who is charged with the task of rallying the Republican House vote.

Megan Greer, 1L, enjoyed the chance to meet with conservative leaders and thinkers. “The trip was an excellent opportunity to discuss the principles and the future of the Republican Party,” she said. “Though many speakers expressed disbelief that HLS has any conservative students, we assured them that we are holding our own up here in Cambridge.”

On the second day, the group began with a talk by Will Taft, former Deputy Secretary of Defense, on strategies for pursuing legal careers in public service. Mr. Taft also shared stories from his time in government, including his experiences debating the use of torture within the current Administration.

Next, the group met with Stephen Bradbury, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel, who is responsible for rendering legal opinions for the Executive Branch. Lunch that day was spent in several small groups. Students chose from lunches with: Rachel Brand, Assistant Attorney General for Legal Policy; Jon Cohn, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division; and Jennifer Brosnahan and Grant Dixon, both of the White House Counsel’s office.

The second afternoon was spent at the White House and back on the Hill. At the White House, the HLS Republicans met with Deputy White House Counsel William K. Kelley and White House Political Director Sara Taylor. On the Hill, the group was treated to a talk at the Senate Judiciary Committee by Dimple Gupta, Chief Constitutional Counsel. “The White House Counsel’s Office was the highlight of the trip for me,” said Michael Sevi, 2L. “The lawyers are extremely talented, and their work is exciting, fast-paced, and vital to the President.”

Lowell Schiller, 3L, President of the HLS GOP, said that he was “thrilled that our members had the opportunity to meet with so many conservative leaders and thinkers. It was wonderful to see the wide variety of ways that lawyers and politicians are able to serve the public, and I hope that many of our members found inspiration from them.”

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