Political Diversity Thrives at JMLS
by Joseph Dusek, Ph.D. – JMLS Republican Student Association President
The Spring 2017 semester saw the formation of the JMLS Republican Student Association (RSA). The RSA promotes political diversity by providing an outlet for Republican or conservative students to present, discuss, and promote their principles in a law school setting. It fosters those beliefs by bringing Republican/conservative speakers to campus, offering formal mentorship and networking opportunities with like-minded alumni.
The RSA shies away from policy events, focusing on mentorship and networking. Why? There’s already a great policy arm for conservatives and originalists on campus, the JMLS Federalist Society Chapter.
Last spring the RSA hosted two events. Its inaugural speaker was the Honorable Cook County Circuit Court Judge James Allegretti (JMLS 1978). Judge Allegretti was one of just two Republicans elected to the Cook County bench in November, 2016. His honor discussed his law practice before sitting on the bench and his campaign strategy for winning in Cook County as a Republican before fielding questions from the audience.
The organization’s second event, “An Evening with Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti (JMLS 1998),” drew an even larger crowd. The Lt. Governor spoke about the need for structural reform in Illinois’ budget and pension systems before taking questions from the audience. Lt. Governor Sanguinetti made a point of personally introducing herself to everyone in attendance and shaking their hand.
In addition to JMLS alumni, at both events representatives from the Chicago Young Republicans (https://chicagoyrs.com) and the Chicago Republican Women’s Network (http://www.crwn.org) attended. The Republican Student Associations at DePaul Law, IIT Kent Law, University of Chicago Law, and Loyola Law.
The RSA already has plans for Fall 2017 semester. First on the agenda will be a “Republican Legislator” event featuring JMLS alumni (1989) Illinois State Senator Michael Connelly and the former Marine Corps Judge Advocate General officer who prosecuted Saddam Hussein, Illinois State Senator Paul Schimpf. As for events beyond this one, all I can say is, they will be HUGE. Stay tuned. The RSA plans to host a “Republican Student Association Conference” at JMLS during the summer of 2018.
All are welcome at our networking events, Republicans and Democrats alike. Perhaps some JMLS student will step up to the metaphorical plate and form a JMLS Democrat Student Association. I hope so. Then we can co-host networking events with alumni from both political parties.