10th Annual James Wilson Fellowship
August 6-11, 2023
Professor Hadley Arkes, joined by other distinguished scholars, will offer a seminar over six days on Natural Law and its bearing on our jurisprudence. The course will focus on discussing the central points of a jurisprudence of Natural Law, such as the classic connection between the “logic of morals” and the “logic of law,” the properties of moral truths and the principles of judgment, and how we would see certain landmark cases differently if they were viewed through the lens of Natural Law. Our main objective is to restore a moral coherence to our jurisprudence.
Topics discussed in past seminars have included, “The Natural Law, the Positive Law, and the American Regime”; “The Natural Law and Ordinary Language: Recovering the Philosophic ground for the Restriction of Assaulting Speech Acts”; “Abortion, Privacy, and the Law: Who is the Bearer of Natural Rights?’”; and “Religion and the Law.” To read the biographies of our faculty, please visit here.
We are pleased to present the James Wilson Fellows Class of 2023!
Sara Baumgardner is currently a Gregory S. Coleman Fellow in the Solicitor General’s Office in the Office of the Attorney General of Texas. She previously clerked for the Honorable John Phillip Devine of the Supreme Court of Texas and will clerk for the Honorable Jennifer Walker Elrod of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in the 2025–2026 term. Sara graduated summa cum laude from Texas Tech University School of Law, where, among other things, she served as a Comment Editor for the Texas Tech Law Review. She is a member of the Order of the Coif, the National Order of Scribes, and National Order of Barristers and holds her Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance from Texas Tech University (2016).
Nick Cordova is Simon Karas Fellow to the Ohio Solicitor General, where he practices appellate litigation on behalf of the Buckeye State. Previously, Nick graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2021, clerked for the Honorable Paul B. Matey on the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, and worked as an associate at BakerHostetler LLP.
Sam Elliott is an assistant general counsel in the Executive Office of Governor Ron DeSantis. He previously clerked for Judge Duane Benton of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in his hometown of Kansas City, Missouri. Prior to receiving a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law, Sam worked as a data analyst on Senator Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign. He lives near Tallahassee with his beautiful wife and two beautiful daughters.
Kat Ferazzi is a law clerk for Judge Andrew L. Brasher on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Next term, she will clerk for Chief Judge William H. Pryor Jr. on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Before clerking, Kat graduated summa cum laude from the University of Alabama School of Law, where she was a senior editor of the Alabama Law Review and a member of the Federalist Society. During law school, she spent her summers at Kirkland & Ellis, Bracewell LLP, the Alabama Solicitor General’s Office, and the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. Kat holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Alabama.
Dave Finkel clerks for the Honorable Timothy M. Tymkovich of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit. Last year, he clerked for the Honorable Jeffrey V. Brown of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. Dave received his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School, where he was a Tony Patiño Fellow and president of the veteran's organization. During law school Dave interned with the Honorable Lee H. Rosenthal of the Southern District of Texas and summered at Schiffer Hicks Johnson PLLC in Houston. Prior to law school, Dave served eight years as an infantry officer in the Army. He has a B.S. from the United States Military Academy.
Zac Johnson is a law clerk to the Honorable Robert J. Conrad, Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina. He previously served as a law clerk to the Honorable Peter J. Phipps of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He graduated magna cum laude from Notre Dame Law School, receiving faculty awards for top performance in six classes. He earned his B.A. summa cum laude from the University of West Florida, where he was named the outstanding undergraduate student in his academic program. Before college, Zac played bass in a touring rock band, and he continues to play classical violin.
Lindsey Keiser is currently serving as an Assistant Attorney General in the Kentucky Office of the Attorney General. She practices in the Civil and Environmental Division, handling constitutional litigation at the trial level. In particular, Lindsey has defended against numerous challenges to the Commonwealth’s pro-life laws. Prior to coming to Kentucky, Lindsey lived in Washington, D.C. for several years. She initially went to D.C. for a college internship with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and then returned to attend law school at Georgetown University Law Center. After earning her Juris Doctor, Lindsey worked for the Foundation for Self-Government, where she wrote on various constitutional law topics. Lindsey was then hired as Legal Counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee. In that role, she handled First Amendment, Second Amendment, and life issues. Lindsey is originally from Indiana and earned her Bachelor of Arts from Indiana University.
Jack Kieffaber graduated from Harvard Law School in 2023, cum laude. He is an incoming law clerk for the Honorable Kevin Newsom on the 11th Circuit; he will subsequently clerk for the Honorable Carl Nichols and for the US District Court for the District of Columbia before returning to practice at Jones Day in DC. While at Harvard, Jack served as the Executive Vice President of the Harvard Federalist Society and as a managing editor for the Journal of Law and Public Policy Per Curiam.
Eric Leis is a law clerk to Judge David Porter of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. Next, he will clerk for Judge Nora Barry Fischer of the Western District of Pennsylvania. Eric graduated magna cum laude from Notre Dame Law School where he was the Executive Articles Editor for the Notre Dame Journal on Emerging Technologies and a Responsible Innovation Fellow at the Notre Dame Technology Ethics Center. He also holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Notre Dame and a Master’s in Engineering Management from Old Dominion University. Prior to law school, Eric served in the United States Navy as a surface warfare officer and nuclear power plant operator. He enjoys spending his free time with his wife, also a Navy veteran, and their two, soon to be three, sons.
Taylor Myers is a research fellow with Boyden Gray specializing in energy law and policy. He received his doctorate in mechanical engineering from the University of Maryland, where his research focused on combustion and multi-fluid flows. He is a 2024 J.D. Candidate at Georgetown Law, where he was managing editor of the Georgetown Journal of Law and Public Policy, president of the Georgetown Energy Law Group, and a Bradley Scholar. After graduating, he will serve as law clerk to the Honorable Judge Neomi J. Rao of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. He lives in Hyattsville, Maryland with his wife and five children.
Daniel Park is a law clerk for Judge Michael B. Brennan of the Seventh Circuit, and before that, he clerked for Judge Wes Hendrix of the Northern District of Texas. Daniel is a graduate of Michigan Law School and Duke University. He enjoys spending time in the mountains.
Elle Rogers is a recent graduate of the University of Chicago Law School and an incoming law clerk to the Honorable James C. Ho of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. While at Chicago, Elle served as Chairman of the Edmund Burke Society, internal vice president of the UChicago Federalist Society, and President of UChicago Law Students for Life. She also worked as a research assistant for Professor Richard Epstein. During law school, Elle was a judicial intern for the Honorable Steven J. Menashi of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and a summer associate at the Washington, D.C. office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP. She has also held fellowships with the Claremont Institute, the John Jay Institute, and the New Civil Liberties Alliance. Elle graduated as valedictorian of her class at The King’s College, where she earned a B.A. in Philosophy.
Seth Smitherman is a law clerk for the Honorable Jimmy Blacklock of the Supreme Court of Texas. A sixth generation Texan, he received undergraduate and graduate degrees from Texas A&M University and a J.D. from the University of Texas School of Law. While at Texas Law, he served as President of the Texas Student Chapter of the Federalist Society and as Deputy Managing Editor of the Texas Review of Law & Politics. He has previously worked as a summer associate in the Dallas office of Jones Day, an intern in the Office of the Texas Solicitor General, and a judicial intern for the Honorable Charles Eskridge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas. His legal writing is published in the New York University Journal of Law & Liberty, the Texas Review of Law & Politics, and the Fed Soc Blog. He currently resides in Austin, Texas, with his wife and two sons. Next year, he will clerk for the Honorable Lawrence VanDyke of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
John Thorpe is a staff attorney at the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, where he litigates to advance free speech, parental rights, property rights, and economic liberty. He has clerked for Judge Bridget Bade at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and for Judge Carolyn McHugh on the Tenth Circuit. He has a J.D. and a B.S. from Arizona State University. Before law school, he taught humanities, Latin, and economics at a classical charter school.
TJ Whittle is an associate at McGuireWoods LLP in Washington, DC, where his practice focuses on government contracts, white collar defense, and government investigations. He previously served as a law clerk for the Honorable Ryan T. Holte of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. At the University of Virginia School of Law, he was president of the St. Thomas More Society, chaired the Federalist Society's annual originalism symposium, and was a research assistant for Professor Saikrishna Prakash. Before law school, TJ studied philosophy and political science at American University and worked for five years in public policy, including at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.