chess game in reading room

The University of Oklahoma College of Law was the recipient of a chess board donated by the school's chapters of the Federalist Society and the American Constitution Society. While the two groups frequently take opposing sides on issues, they recognize the necessity of robust dialogue and intellectual growth.

The OU chapter of the Federalist Society issued the following statement:

As the president of the Federalist Society at OU Law, I, John C. Kirchhoefer, am delighted to express our heartfelt appreciation for the cooperative effort that has led to the gift of a chess set to the University of Oklahoma College of Law, a gesture made in collaboration with our colleagues from the American Constitution Society. This gift stands as a testament to the values of honor, intellect, and fellowship—a set of principles that both organizations hold dear, despite our ideological differences.

The Federalist Society at OU Law has dedicated itself to fostering a deep appreciation for the rigorous debate and discussion that is essential to the intellectual growth of our members and the legal community at large. Our commitment to these principles has been evident in the transformative work we have accomplished at OU Law.

We have always stood for the promotion of an originalist and textualist approach to legal interpretation, advocating for the principles of limited government and the rule of law. Yet, our pursuit of these ideals has never precluded our respect for, and engagement with, those who hold contrasting views. It is in this spirit that we have worked alongside the American Constitution Society to offer this chess set.

The game of chess is emblematic of the strategic thinking, patience, and the respect for one's opponent that are characteristic of both great legal minds and a healthy democracy. By presenting this chess set, we honor the intellectual contest and the shared pursuit of justice and equality that defines the legal profession.

In a time when political and ideological divides can be stark, this gift symbolizes our belief that civil discourse and mutual respect must prevail. We recognize that while we may not always agree with the American Constitution Society on every issue, we are united in our dedication to the virtues of robust discourse, cooperative collaboration, and our pursuit of truth.

Through this gesture, we aim to inspire future generations of legal scholars and practitioners at OU Law to engage in thoughtful debate and to appreciate the rich diversity of thought that contributes to the strength and vibrancy of our legal system. We extend this gift in the hope that it will serve as a lasting emblem of our shared commitment to these noble pursuits.

The American Constitution Society issued the following statement:

The American Constitution Society's mission is to support and advocate for laws and legal systems that redress the founding failures of our Constitution, strengthen our democratic legitimacy, uphold the rule of law, and realize the promise of equality for all, including people of color, women, LGBTQ+ people, people with disabilities, and other historically excluded communities.

To realize this mission, we recognize that it is vital to engage in conversation and work with those who take different approaches in advocacy and law. That is why we take priority in working alongside those who we might not always see eye to eye with.

We agree that the game of chess is emblematic of the strategic thinking, patience, and the respect for one's opponent. However, often those who are willing to participate in respectful debate and discussion find that, at the core of it all, we are all on the same side.

Because each chess piece moves in certain ways, it is to the benefit of the player to strategize and determine how each unit can move in cooperation to achieve checkmate.

We are honored to present this chess set as a shared pursuit of justice, equality, and equity that defines the legal profession alongside FedSoc, and we look forward to continuing the vital conversation and work this chess set represents.