We, the Members of the Suffolk Law Federalist Society, to better serve the purposes of our organization, ensure our continued vitality, and advance our intellectual influence, hereby declare the Constitution of our Society.
Section 1 — Purpose
The Suffolk Law Federalist Society is a student organization in accordance with the regulations of Suffolk Law School. The purpose of the Society is to foster critical thought and debate about the application of conservative and libertarian ideas to the law. The Society embraces the principles that the state exists to preserve freedom, that the separation of powers is central to the Constitution of the United States of America, and that it is emphatically the province and duty of the judiciary to say what the law is, not what it should be. The activities of the Society shall not be bound by any political, ideological, or religious viewpoints other than these three principles.
Section 2 — Membership
Membership in the Society is open to any student at Suffolk Law School and to any interested member of the faculty or administration who is a member of the national Federalist Society for the Study of Law and Public Policy.
Section 1 — Elected Officers
The Society shall have the following elected officers: President, Vice President, Vice President for Membership, Vice President for Social Affairs, Vice President for Communications, Treasurer, and Secretary. These officers alone shall constitute the Executive Board of the Suffolk Law Federalist Society.
Section 2 — Qualifications and Terms of Office
Any Member of the Society who is not in his or her final year at Suffolk Law School may stand for election for any elected office. All officers elected at the Annual Election shall serve until their successors assume office, unless they resign or are removed.
Section 3 — Duties of Elected Officers
All members of the Executive Board shall have the following duties: to attend all Society events as consistently as they are able; to assist in the recruitment and mentoring of new Members; to assist their successors in assuming their new duties; to faithfully and honorably represent the Society to the Suffolk Law School community and the outside world; and to assume responsibility for the general welfare of the Society and the success of its activities. Individual officers shall have the duties described below, as well as any additional duties that the President shall deem expedient for the Society.
- President — The President shall be elected to be the chief executive officer of the Society; to assemble the Society’s speakers calendar; to host and organize speakers events; to plan other special events; to call and preside over all Society meetings and meetings of the Executive Board; to supervise all other Society officers and oversee all Society events; to serve as the liaison to the law school administration, the national Federalist Society, and any other outside organizations.
- Vice President — The Vice President shall be elected to assist the President and preside in the case of the President’s absence or disability; to gather and organize advice from Executive Board members to be presented to their successors; and to oversee participation in the Federalist Society’s National Lawyers Convention and Student Symposium.
- Vice President for Membership — The Vice President for Membership shall be elected to direct the recruitment of students and integration of new Members; to select and organize the activities of the 1L Section Representatives; to manage the Society’s recruitment efforts with regard to admitted students; and to maintain the Society’s membership list.
- Vice President for Social Affairs — The Vice President for Social Affairs shall be elected to plan and supervise the Society’s social events; to organize events designed to encourage retention of second-year and third-year Members; and to direct the Society’s community service activities.
- Vice President for Communications — The Vice President for Communications shall be elected to notify the Society’s members, the law school community, and the public of upcoming events and meetings; to organize media coverage of Society events; and to manage the Society’s website and social media accounts.
- Treasurer — The Treasurer shall be elected to supervise the Society’s finances and budget; to request funds from the Student Bar Association for each semester; to present the Society’s financial report to the law school administration; and to ensure reimbursement from the law school’s Student Bar Association and the national Federalist Society of the Society’s expenses, such as speaker events and the National Student Symposium.
- Secretary — The Secretary shall be elected to assist the President and Vice President in the execution of their duties.
Section 1 — Annual Election
The Annual Election shall be held in the spring semester of each year. At this meeting, the Members shall elect the President, Vice President, Vice President for Membership, Vice President for Social Affairs, Vice President for Communications, Treasurer, and Secretary. The newly elected officers shall assume their responsibilities by the Society’s Annual Banquet. Only Members may vote in the Annual Election.
Section 2 — Standards of Conduct
The President and Election Chair shall have the authority to describe the appropriate standards of conduct for candidates and other Members in the period preceding the Annual Election. No Society resources, including but not limited to the Society membership list, shall be used by any person to support or oppose any candidate.
Section 3 — Annual Election Procedures
A third-year Member shall be selected to serve as Election Chair for the Annual Election. At no time shall the Election Chair support or oppose any candidate. The Annual Election will then be administered under the following procedure:
- Before the election, the Election Chair shall notify Members of the upcoming election and application deadlines. The Election Chair shall then compile a list of all eligible voters. The list of eligible voters, except any voters who notify the Election Chair that they wish to the have their names excluded from the list, shall be distributed to all candidates. Any Member interested in elected office shall notify the Election Chair before the election.
- Before the election, the Election Chair shall accept nominations from the Members, including self-nominations, for candidacy.
- Before the election, the Election Chair shall notify the Members of the candidates standing for election and the offices they seek, and he or she may distribute brief statements by the candidates.
- Each candidate shall have the opportunity to address and answer questions from the Members. The Election Chair shall set and enforce time limits for speeches and question periods, but he or she shall leave reasonable time for discussion in the case of contested elections.
- The Election Chair shall preside at the Election.
- Members generally must be present at the Election if they wish to vote. Absentee voting shall be allowed only if Members certify in advance to the Election Chair that they have a mandatory and unavoidable conflict. The Election Chair shall have the discretion to define the standards for establishing such a conflict.
- The Election Chair and at least one other Member shall tabulate the ballots. Races shall be decided by a simple majority of those voting. Should no candidate receive a majority in a race with three or more candidates, a second ballot shall be held with only the top two vote recipients listed. The Election Chair shall have no vote unless there is a tie between two or more candidates, in which case he or she shall cast the deciding vote or votes.
- The Election Chair may promulgate other rules which shall be necessary and proper for conducting elections.
Section 3 — Vacancies
The President shall, within a reasonable time, fill any vacant elected office by appointment with the advice and consent of the remaining members of the Executive Board. If a vacancy results from the failure of any candidate to stand for office at the Annual Election Caucus, the President at his sole discretion may appoint any Member to fill this position as soon as he is able. The Vice President shall succeed to the Presidency if the Presidency becomes vacant.
Section 4 — Emergency Elections
If the offices of President and Vice President become vacant simultaneously, an Emergency Election shall be held according to the following procedure:
- The remaining members of the Executive Board shall choose a President Pro Tempore from among the Society’s membership.
- The President Pro Tempore shall then call and preside over an Emergency Election to elect a new President. The Emergency Election shall take place as soon as is practicable, not to exceed two weeks, excluding any weeks in which regular classes are not scheduled. The President Pro Tempore may not stand for election at the Emergency Election.
- Candidates for President shall have the opportunity to address and answer questions from the Members, and Members shall have the opportunity for debate without the candidates present in the case of a contested race. But the President Pro Tempore shall otherwise have general discretion to set the procedures governing the Emergency Election. Only Members are eligible to vote in Emergency Elections.
- A President elected during an Emergency Election shall assume office immediately and shall hold office until the next Annual Election Caucus.
Section 5 — Resignation
An elected officer may resign his or her office by submitting a written declaration of resignation to the President, or to the Vice President if the resigning officer is the President. Any holder of elected office who ceases with permanent effect to be a student at Suffolk Law School automatically and immediately resigns his office.
Section 6 — Impeachment
An elected officer may be impeached for failure to execute satisfactorily the duties of his office, for demonstrating behavior unbecoming an officer of the Society, or for violating Suffolk Law School regulations. Impeachment may not be based on an officer’s adherence to or expression of any political, ideological, or religious viewpoint. Any impeachment shall occur through the following procedure:
- Impeachment proceedings against any officer may be initiated by written petition signed by two-thirds of the other members of the Executive Board, excluding any Member against whom the charges are directed; or by twenty of the Society’s Members. Any such petitions shall identify the specific charges against the accused officer.
- Impeachment charges shall be submitted to the President. Should the charges be directed at the President, the charges shall be submitted to the Vice President. The President or Vice President shall then deliver a copy of these charges to the accused officer.
- An Impeachment Caucus shall be held as soon as is practicable, but not later than two weeks from the date of submission, excluding any weeks in which no regular classes are scheduled. The President or Vice President shall give notice to all Members of the date for said Impeachment Caucus and the charges to be brought.
- The President shall preside over the Impeachment Caucus. If the President is the accused officer, the remaining members of the Executive Board shall choose a Justice from among the Society’s membership to preside.
- The accused officer shall be given at least half an hour to defend himself or herself against the charges and to present evidence in his or her defense. The presiding officer, at his or her discretion, may provide additional time for the accused officer to answer questions from the Members. After that time, the accused officer shall leave the room and present Members may debate until a motion to vote is approved by a majority of Members present. A two-thirds vote of Members present shall be required to remove the charged officer.
- No officer removed by impeachment may hold office on the Executive Board until the following Annual Election. Nor may any such officer subsequently stand for any elected position if that officer’s candidacy would be unopposed.
Section 1 — Amendments and By-Laws
Members may propose amendments to the Society’s Constitution or By-Laws under the following procedures:
- A petition for amendment must be signed by at least ten Members and submitted in writing to the President.
- The President shall then, within a reasonable time and with notice to the membership, call for and preside over an amendment caucus. The proponents of the amendment shall have an opportunity to present and defend their proposal and answer questions from the Members, and there shall be an opportunity for general debate among all Members present. Proponents of the amendment shall designate whether the amendments may be modified within their scope, and such modifications shall require the majority vote of the Members present. The President shall otherwise have discretion to set the procedural rules for the amendment caucus.
- An amendment caucus may coincide with the Annual Election, in which case the President shall have discretion to decide when in the caucus the amendment shall be considered. But an amendment caucus may not coincide with an emergency election or impeachment caucus.
- Amendments to the Constitution shall require ratification by a two-thirds vote, and amendments to the By-Laws shall require ratification by a majority vote. Members must generally be present to vote. Absentee voting shall be allowed only in the case of mandatory and unavoidable conflicts and through procedures specified by the President. But no absentee voting shall be allowed for any amendment that has been modified on the floor to any extent.
- All amendments are presumed to take immediate effect, but amendments may, by their own terms, specify the times at which provisions begin to apply.
Section 2 — Scope of By-Laws
By-Laws may provide for any rule, standard, procedure, or structure not inconsistent with the Society’s Constitution. By-Laws may include reasonable interpretations of general constitutional provisions and reasonable regulations concerning the way officers exercise the discretion assigned to them by the Constitution.
This Constitution, immediately and automatically upon ratification, shall supersede and replace the previous constitution and by-laws of the Society.
Attest: Matthew R. Knych, Secretary
done in absentee because of the plague by the unanimous consent of the Members voting in April in the Seventeenth Week of the Year of our Lord two thousand twenty and of the Constitution of the Society, in witness whereof we have hereunto subscribed our names,
Moses Y. Bension, President and Drafter
Law Class of 2020 Law Class of 2021 Law Class of 2022