This organization shall be known as “The American Constitution Society of Harvard Law School” (the Society). This organization shall be a local chapter of the national American Constitution Society for Law and Policy.
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Article II Mission Committee
(Statement of Purpose)
The American Constitution Society of Harvard Law School is a nonpartisan society whose mission is to harness the values of compassion and respect for each individual, and to incorporate them into American law and politics, in order to build a stronger and more decent national community. The Society”s role is to influence the debate on the law, both in its interpretation and its creation, and to restore these traditional American values to their rightful place in legal and political debate. Our goal is a rekindling of the hope that by reason and decency, we can create an America that is better for us all.
We believe 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 any excesses of power that do not 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 transcendent principles of decency, reason, humanity, and compassion. We believe that those who enforce the law must have greater 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.
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.
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Active membership shall be open to all current Harvard Law School students, faculty, and staff, or those pursuing joint or concurrent degrees with Harvard Law School. Additional requirements of active membership may be determined the Society Bylaws. Only active members may vote at any Society meeting.
Associate membership shall be open to all former Harvard Law School students, faculty, and staff.
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(Officers and Executive Board)
There shall be an Executive Board of the Society, which shall meet periodically to determine the general direction of the Society and to carryout its duties as outlined in the By-laws. The Executive Board shall consist of all current officers. Executive Board meetings shall be publicized and open to all active members of the Society. Only Executive Board members may vote at any Executive Board meeting. Each officer shall be given one vote, with exception of the Faculty Advisor.
Only current Harvard Law School students, faculty, and staff, and those pursuing joint or concurrent degrees with Harvard Law School, may serve as officers.
The American Constitution Society officers shall be as follows:
- Faculty Advisor: The Faculty Advisor, a member of the Harvard Law School faculty, shall serve as a nonvoting, advisory 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.
- President: The President shall call and chair all General Body and Executive Board meetings, set the agenda for the Executive Board meetings, coordinate the operations and direction of the Society, and serve as a liaison for the Society, the Harvard Law School administration, and the national American Constitutional Society for Law and Policy.
- Vice-President: The Vice-President shall call and chair General Body and Executive Board meetings in the President”s absence, assist the President in his/her duties, coordinate the activities of the chairpersons, chair the Constitution and Bylaws Committee, and also serve as the SocietyÕs parliamentarian.
- Secretary: The Secretary shall compile and maintain the minutes of meetings and the records of the organization. The Secretary shall also keep a current list of members, and be responsible for the maintenance and timely updating of the chapter website.
- Treasurer: The Treasurer shall maintain the financial accounts and records of the Society, submit the Society”s financial reports as required, create the Society”s budget, and submit that budget to the Executive Board. The Treasurer shall also be responsible for submitting requests for funding with the ACS national office and other sources in a timely manner.
- Program Chairperson: The Program Chairperson shall lead the Program Committee, which shall be responsible for planning and organizing the Society events with the approval of the Executive Committee.
- Publicity Chairperson: The Publicity Chairperson shall lead the Publicity Committee, which shall be responsible for publicity for the Society events, membership drives, and general membership meetings. The Publicity Chairperson shall also be responsible for informing the ACS national office of chapter events and functions.
- Alumni Relations Chairperson: The Alumni Relations Chairperson shall lead the Alumni Relations Committee, which will be responsible for communicating with associate members of the Society, and for recruiting new associate members.
- Membership Relations Chairperson: The Membership Relations Chairperson shall be responsible for hosting social activities and sponsoring membership drives. The Membership Relations Chairperson shall also be responsible for updating the chapter weblog (ÒblogÓ) and encouraging members to write for the chapter blog, the HLS Record, and other print and online media.
- At-Large Members: Two representatives of the third-year class at Harvard Law School, two representatives of the second-year class at Harvard Law School, three representatives of the first-year class at Harvard Law School, and two representatives of the graduate program at Harvard Law School (including L.L.M.s) shall be elected as at-large members of the Executive Board.
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(Positions and Committees)
The Executive Board may, in its discretion, establish additional positions to be appointed or elected from the active or associate membership as the need arises. Such positions may include the position of Website Administrator or Historian. Individuals serving in any position so established shall also be eligible to run for offices of the Executive Board, if they are otherwise eligible for the relevant office.
There shall be several standing Committees: the Constitution and Bylaws Committee, Program Committee, Publicity Committee, Alumni Relations Committee, and Member Relations Committee; the duties and responsibilities of each committee shall be determined by the Chair of the committee with the approval of the Executive Board and in keeping with Article IV. The Executive Board may, in its discretion, establish additional ad hoc or standing committees, such as the Mission Committee. The Board shall provide for governance of such additional committees, and may dissolve such additional committees at its discretion.
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(Elections and Term of Officers)
The Society officers shall be elected by a meeting of the active membership in April of each academic year, except that the at-large representatives shall be elected by a meeting of the active membership no later than November of each academic year.
Officers shall be elected sequentially, in the order listed above, so that candidates not elected to one office may run for subsequent offices. Nominations for candidates shall be accepted immediately before the election to each position. No individual may hold more than one office. Each office may only be held by one person.
All officers shall be elected by the following method: Each active member present at the election meeting, including by means specified pursuant to Article IX, shall have the opportunity to vote for a preferred candidate for the office in question, except that for elections of the at-large representatives, only members of the class represented (e.g., 1L, 2L, 3L, graduate) shall have the opportunity to vote for that classÕs representative. If one candidate receives a simple majority of votes cast by the active members present, that candidate shall be declared elected. If no candidate receives a simple majority of the votes, the two candidates receiving the most votes shall participate in a second, run-off election; the candidate with a simple majority of the run-off votes shall then be declared elected.
Each officer will serve for a term of one year from the day following commencement of the academic year in which they were elected to the day following commencement of the next academic year. At-large representatives will serve from the day elected to the day following commencement of the current academic year.
Officers may be suspended for good cause by a three-quarters vote of the remaining members of the Executive Board. In the case of suspension, the Executive Board may, by majority vote, appoint an acting person to serve in that position. Suspensions may not last longer than two months without a vote for removal or reinstatement by the general membership. An officer may be reinstated by a majority vote of the active members present and voting at a general body meeting. Officers may be removed for good cause by a vote of two-thirds of the general membership.
Vacancies in any representative position shall be filled by special election for the duration of the unexpired term; provided that if such vacancy occurs within 30 days of the end of such term, the Executive Board may appoint any active member to serve the remainder of such term, or leave the position unfilled until the next election at which such office would be filled.
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(Conduct of Business)
Regular operations of the Society may be determined by the Executive Board. Quorum is required at all Executive Board meetings. A quorum at such a meeting shall consist of one-half of the members of the Executive Board, not counting the Faculty Advisor. The Executive Board shall strive for consensus; if consensus is not reasonably available, decisions shall be made by majority vote of those present and voting.
General Body meetings of the active members may be called by the President, by one-third of the Executive Board, or by twenty percent of the active members of the Society. The President must call at least five membership meetings per academic year. Quorum is required for all General Body meetings. A quorum at such a meeting shall consist of at least twenty-five percent of the active membership, except that no quorum may be established without one-half of the Executive Board present. Reasonable notice shall be given for all General Body meetings. At such meetings, the membership shall strive for consensus; if consensus is not reasonably available, decisions shall be made by majority vote of those present and voting. Decisions of the active membership shall be binding on the Executive Board.
The Executive Board may establish guidelines for conducting business, including quorum or voting requirements, by email, by telephone, or by other reasonable means, except that neither quorum nor voting requirements may be satisfied by proxies assigned to others.
Any decision of the Executive Board may be overturned, unless otherwise stipulated in the Society Constitution or Bylaws, by a majority vote of the active members present and voting at a general body meeting.
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At any General Body meeting of the active members, a majority of those present and voting may choose to adopt bylaws not inconsistent with any provision of this Constitution.
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At least seven days before any attempt to amend this constitution, reasonable notice shall be given to the active membership and the text submitted to the Executive Board. A quorum equal to that required for a general body meeting of the active membership shall be necessary to amend the Constitution. Amendments to this Constitution shall be adopted by approval of two-thirds of the active membership present and voting, except that no amendment shall be adopted without the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the Executive Board.
This Constitution can be amended in its entirety or amendment by amendment.
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(Other Governing Rules)
The Society shall be governed by this constitution, such bylaws as may be instituted, and the rules and regulations of Harvard University and Harvard Law School.
All procedures for the operation of the Society not otherwise governed as provided in the paragraph above shall be governed by RobertÕs Rules of Order, except that in any meeting, two-thirds of those active members present and voting may elect to suspend RobertÕs Rules.
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(Adoption and Ratification)
Upon approval of a majority of the active members of the Society voting on the record as of April 15, 2002, this constitution shall be immediately effective and shall replace any previous constitution.
The Founding Members of the Society shall be the undersigned, attesting to their presence at the adoption of the constitution on April 15, 2002.
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