Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Federalist Event - John C. Eastman 

The new Federalist Society chapter at my school just held their first speaker event today, which I attended. I'm glad I went, because otherwise the turnout would have been totally pathetic rather than just quite embarrassing.

In attendance were the two Fed-Soc co-presidents, the girlfriend of one of them, the ACS faculty advisor, a lefty-liberal student who is involved in the ACLU and Women's Law Caucus groups, one other student (affiliations unknown) and myself.

I must be honest in that I would have liked a larger turnout, in the hopes that there would be a lively discussion in which of course we would convince Prof. Eastman of the error of his conservative ways, but it was not to be. I did have a chat with him about some portions of the opinions (regarding application of the Environmental Species Act) he was critiquing without supplying practical alternatives, but for a while all I could get out of him was repetition of his position that the opinions are wrong.

Eventually he came out and said that he feels the federal government has no business protecting any species, and that this task would best be left to the states. He preemptively countered the "race-to-the-bottom" argument by declaring that the states would never do that, and would of course take care of any and all species that need it, since otherwise they themselves would be cheating their citizens out of the as-yet-unknown benefits that might be discovered decades from now, such as a new medicinal application of some particular gene or plant fiber.

Right, because that's worked so well in the past. States always take the high ground when it comes to protecting endangered species - and citizens. I didn't press him on how the state would benefit from the future benefits of creatures that were rendered virtually extinct due to overdevelopment of their breeding grounds when the states determined that the economic value of that development outweighed the burden of genetic loss. I didn't see the point.

Oh well, at least we have a good shot at having a noticably better turnout at our first ACS event.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 2:18 PM