This organization shall be known as “The American Constitution Society at the University of California, Davis, School of Law,” hereinafter the “Society.”
The American Constitution Society for Law and Policy is a group of students concerned about the pervasive conservative orthodoxy in American law and politics. We believe deeply in the importance of law as the mechanism which governs the relationships between and among the individuals and institutions that form our society, and we recognize the direct relationship between legal theory and the broader political debate about the kind of society in which we live.
In recent years, the view has been ascendant that the traditional values of compassion and respect for human dignity have little or no place in legal discourse. This view permeates all aspects of legal debate: academic scholarship, judicial interpretation, and debate about laws proposed for enactment. The cornerstone of this legal view is an approach to understanding the United States Constitution that is essentially devoid of concern for the way in which the law affects the lives of the people who make up the nation in which we live.
We believe, contrary to this conservative orthodoxy, that the law, and, in particular, the Constitution, serves human values. We believe that the Constitution is a charter of liberty, the blueprint for a noble and unique experiment designed to prevent the excesses of government in order to protect the human dignity necessary for individuals to realize the full potential of their lives. The goal of the Constitution, and the United States it created, is to permit people to succeed in the “pursuit of happiness,” one of the inalienable rights this nation explicitly was founded to secure to the American people.
We believe that the Constitution, and by extension, many other areas of American law, can be understood only by reference to principles of decency, reason, humanity and compassion. We believe that those who enforce the law must have concern for the way in which it affects the lives of the people who make up the nation in which we live. And we believe these principles should form a starting point for enactment, as well as interpretation, of the law.
The mission of the American Constitution Society is to harness these values of compassion and respect for each individual, and to re‑incorporate them into American law and politics, in order to build a stronger and more decent national community. We seek to restore the fundamental principles of respect for human dignity, protection of individual rights and liberties, genuine equality, and access to justice to their rightful — and traditionally central — place in American law. We want to strengthen the intellectual underpinnings of — and the public case for — a vision of the law in which these values are paramount. Our goal is a rekindling of the hope that by reason and decency, we can create an America that is better for us all.
Membership shall be open to all students of the University, including other graduate students and undergraduates.
Section 1. The executive power of the Society shall be vested in an Executive Board consisting of a President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer, each of whom shall have equal voting power. The Executive Board shall meet periodically to determine the general direction of the Society, to decide issues of long‑term importance, and to establish bylaws. The Executive Board shall have the power to create, and appoint members to, formal leadership positions as necessary to meet the needs of the Society. Such ad hoc offices shall not have voting power within the Executive Board and shall expire on graduation day, although they may be renewed.
Section 3. The President shall call Society meetings, coordinate and direct the operations of the Society, and serve as a liaison between the Society and the University administration.
Section 4. Vice‑President: The Vice‑President shall call Society meetings in the President's absence and assist the President in all Society functions.
Section 5. The Secretary shall compile and maintain the records of the Society, a chronicle of the Society’s activities, and a current list of members. The secretary shall also be responsible for notifying members of meetings. The Secretary shall post to the Society’s website all records important to the institutional memory of the Society, including photographs when applicable. The Secretary shall ensure that the Society maintains its membership in good standing with the national office and that the Society keeps the national office apprised of Society programs.
Section 6. The Treasurer shall maintain the financial accounts and records of the Society, set forth the Society's budget, and submit the Society's financial reports to the Law Students Association according to LSA guidelines.
Section 7. The Faculty Advisor shall serve as a resource for the Society members, facilitate the acquisition of speakers, and serve as a liaison between the local chapter and the advisors of American Constitution Society chapters at other schools. The Faculty Advisor position may be shared between two or more faculty members. The Faculty Advisor shall be a non-voting member of the Executive Board.
Section 1. The American Constitution Society officers shall be appointed by a two‑thirds vote of the outgoing Executive Board in the spring of each year. Only current law school students may serve as officers.
Section 2. Each officer shall serve for a term of one year, and may be re-appointed. If an office becomes vacant during the normal term, the office may be filled for the remainder of the term by appointment by the president.
Section 3. Officers may be removed for good cause by the unanimous vote of the remaining members of the Executive Board.
Bylaws shall be adopted by a majority vote of the Executive Board. Amendments to this constitution shall be adopted by a two‑thirds vote of the Executive Board, except that no amendment shall be adopted without the affirmative vote of the President.
This organization shall be governed by this Constitution, its bylaws, and the rules and regulations of UC Davis School of Law.