Adam Chilton on Why There Is No Liberal Equivalent of the Federalist Society

The Market for FedSoc

In an article published in Politico earlier this year, Evan Mandery presented the standard explanation of why the FedSoc is more influential than the ACS. Mandery explains that the FedSoc has three advantages over the ACS: (1) it is older, (2) advances an agenda more appealing to rich donors, and (3) has a unifying ideological commitment (originalism) that brings conservatives together.

These arguments all miss the mark. Simply put, there is a market for FedSoc; there isn’t a market for a liberal equivalent.

The reason for this discrepancy is that the legal profession is overwhelmingly liberal. In The Political Ideologies of American Lawyers, my collaborators and I find that over 60 percent of lawyers are liberal. And our subsequent research on law clerks and law professors suggests that more like 75 to 85 percent of elite lawyers are liberal.

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