Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Call for Papers: Fred C. Zacharias Memorial Prize for Scholarship in Professional Responsibility

Prof. Samuel Levine (Touro) passed on this information, which might be of interest to MOJ readers:

Submissions and nominations of articles are now being accepted for the eighth annual Fred C. Zacharias Memorial Prize for Scholarship in Professional Responsibility.  To honor Fred's memory, the committee will select from among articles in the field of Professional Responsibility, with submissions limited to those that have a publication date of calendar year 2017.  The prize will be awarded at the 2018 AALS Annual Meeting in San Diego.  Please send submissions and nominations to Professor Samuel Levine at Touro Law Center: slevine@tourolaw.edu<mailto:slevine@tourolaw.edu%3cmailto:slevine@tourolaw.edu>.  The deadline for submissions and nominations is September 1, 2017.

February 24, 2017 in Garnett, Rick | Permalink

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Newman on "the World" . . . and ambition, pride, and work-life balance

It's hard to go wrong, reading Newman sermons, but this one ("The World our enemy") really jumped out at me.  Those of us who are blessed with interesting jobs -- in the academy, law, etc. -- might be able to identify well with some of the temptations he discusses.  A bit:

By the world, then, is meant this course of things which we see carried on by means of human agency, with all its duties and pursuits. It is not necessarily a sinful system; rather it is framed, as I have said, by God Himself, and therefore cannot be otherwise than good. And yet even thus considering it, we are bid not to love the world: even in this sense the world is an enemy of our souls; and for this reason, because the love of it is dangerous to beings circumstanced as we are,—things in themselves good being not good to us sinners. And this state of things which we see, fair and excellent in itself, is very likely (for the very reason {30} that it is seen, and because the spiritual and future world is not seen) to seduce our wayward hearts from our true and eternal good. As the traveller on serious business may be tempted to linger, while he gazes on the beauty of the prospect which opens on his way, so this well-ordered and divinely-governed world, with all its blessings of sense and knowledge, may lead us to neglect those interests which will endure when itself has passed away. In truth, it promises more than it can fulfil. The goods of life and the applause of men have their excellence, and, as far as they go, are really good; but they are short-lived. And hence it is that many pursuits in themselves honest and right, are nevertheless to be engaged in with caution, lest they seduce us; and those perhaps with especial caution, which tend to the well-being of men in this life. The sciences, for instance, of good government, of acquiring wealth, of preventing and relieving want, and the like, are for this reason especially dangerous; for fixing, as they do, our exertions on this world as an end, they go far to persuade us that they have no other end; they accustom us to think too much of success in life and temporal prosperity; nay, they may even teach us to be jealous of religion and its institutions, as if these stood in our way, preventing us from doing so much for the worldly interests of mankind as we might wish.

February 21, 2017 in Garnett, Rick | Permalink

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Brennan and Brewbaker on Christian Legal Thought

Here's a new casebook, from Foundation, on Christian Legal Thought, thanks to Prof. Bill Brewbaker and our own Prof. Patrick Brennan.  Congrats!

Check out the table of contents - fascinating materials.  Here's hoping it's adopted widely, and that professors at many law schools -- not just religiously affiliated ones -- consider offering the course.

February 11, 2017 in Garnett, Rick | Permalink

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Lewis on "The Common Good" as an "Ensemble of Conditions"

Prof. Bradley Lewis (CUA) shared with me what I thought was an excellent (and succinct) discussion of the concept of "the common good" in modern Catholic Social Thought. Download Lewis on the Common Good (1).  Highly recommended. 

February 8, 2017 in Garnett, Rick | Permalink

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Pope Francis on Religious Freedom in China

John Allen has a piece on what he calls Pope Francis's "puzzling" remarks on religious freedom in China.  Here's a bit:

In the English translation provided by El Pais, here’s what the pope is quoted as having said: “In China, churches are crowded. In China they can worship freely.”

In the original Spanish, the pope’s statement wasn’t quite that bald. What he said was, “En China las iglesias están llenas. Se puede practicar la religión en China,” which translates as, “In China the churches are full … one can practice religion in China.”

There is, of course, a big difference between saying religion can be practiced someplace, which can imply despite difficulties and dangers, and claiming that one can “worship freely” there.

Nevertheless, the fact that Pope Francis appeared to suggest that the climate for religious freedom in China is basically positive likely will irritate, even outrage, people who know the reality, and who have been working on behalf of the country’s religious minorities.

I hope there will be some clarification coming from the Holy See, or ideally from the Holy Father himself.  It is not merely puzzling, but simply false, to state that "[i]n China they can worship freely."  (Not only is the freedom of religion -- correctly understood to include religiously motivated action in the public square -- not protected, not even the mere "freedom of worship" is in fact respected.)  The Spanish statement -- "one can practice religion in China" -- is, I suppose, technically true, in the sense that one can always practice religion in totalitarian or tyrannical societies . . . if one is willing to be punished for it.  Allen concludes:

Of course, Francis may be engaged in that time-honored Vatican strategy of playing the long game, playing down provocative rhetoric in order to advance the relationship with Beijing, ideally affording Rome greater leverage to achieve positive change. Further, the pope may be concerned that Christians on the ground in China would be the ones to pay the price should he indulge in finger-pointing and denunciations.

Still, those Catholics in China these days behind bars, or who fear ending up there, may be forgiven for wishing that, once in a while, their pope would speak publicly and clearly about their sacrifice.

Whenever that day may be, it certainly wasn’t the El Pais interview.

It certainly wasn't.

February 7, 2017 in Garnett, Rick | Permalink

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Gorsuch nomination

Like Kevin, I have a short piece up at First Things on the Gorsuch nomination.  A bit:

So, this is 2017: A few days after issuing an incompetently executed, morally dubious, and in many ways misguided executive order on immigrants and refugees, the president nominated an outstanding and unassailable jurist to succeed Justice Antonin Scalia. . . .

It is unfortunate, in a way, that the nomination of such a fine judge comes in the context of a silly prime-time announcement ceremony, in the midst of other controversies, introduced by such a clunky, self-referential speech by the president. Judge Gorsuch is a gifted, eloquent writer and a thoughtful, careful judge. He will not regard himself as beholden to the president who nominated him but will instead, I am confident, do his best to decide in accord with the law and his own formation, education, and values. . . .

February 1, 2017 in Garnett, Rick | Permalink

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Some disturbing background on the contraception-coverage-mandate conflict

Often during the past few years, I've heard the argument that, somehow, the Catholic bishops and other entities challenging the application of the contraception-coverage mandate were on-the-march "culture warriors" waging a misguided offensive campaign instead of pursuing compromise.  As I see it, and as I've said on this blog, it was not the challengers who asked for this conflict. In any event, Michael Wear's new bookReclaiming Hope, apparently details the cynical calculations of at least some in the previous administration who saw in the issue an opportunity to marginalize the bishops for political gain.  (Mark Halperin and John Heilemann had chronicled some of this in their account of the 2012 election, Double Down.)   Here's a bit from Jim Geraghty's review:

In describing the battle that erupted between the administration and the Little Sisters of the Poor over Obamacare’s contraception mandate, Wear casts himself as Cassandra. “This was not a standard disagreement between religious conservatives and a progressive White House, but instead a potentially landscape-shifting conflict-stoking move. This reality was conveyed to the highest levels of the White House repeatedly.” He claims that the administration chose “the path of most resistance” in the contraception fight as a deliberate, cynical political strategy: “A senior political advisor repeatedly thought that the bishops’ complaints would bolster a useful campaign narrative: that supporters of their view, including Republican Mitt Romney, held anachronistic views about women and family planning.’”

Unfortunately, there are more than a few reasons to think cynical attacks on Catholic bishops by prominent White House staffers will continue. . . .

January 29, 2017 in Garnett, Rick | Permalink

Saturday, January 28, 2017

The Executive Order regarding immigration and refugees

The text of the recent Executive Order regarding immigration and refugees is available here. One provision of that Order states:

(b) Upon the resumption of USRAP admissions, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Homeland Security, is further directed to make changes, to the extent permitted by law, to prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority religion in the individual's country of nationality. Where necessary and appropriate, the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security shall recommend legislation to the President that would assist with such prioritization.

I tend to think that a relatively stable and prosperous country like the United States should be generous -- prudent and deliberate, but generous -- when it comes to accepting refugees, and so I am -- without, I admit, having studied the matter closely -- inclined to think the Order is, at least in some respects, misguided and bad policy. I am not sure, however, that I agree with those who are characterizing the particular provision quoted above as unfair or immoral. If we assume, as it seems to me we must, that our ability to admit refugees -- and, again, I think we can and should admit a lot of them -- is not infinite, then we are going to have to employ some criteria to identify who will be admitted and who will not. It seems, to me, reasonable and defensible to prioritize -- assuming that "prioritize" doesn't mean "categorically or reflexively reject all others" -- "refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution." (I am putting aside, for now, questions about that the language regarding "minority religion in the individual's country of nationality," which, given the current givens, would probably in practice favor Christian applicants.)

I'd welcome other MOJers' views, especially President Scaperlanda's!


January 28, 2017 in Garnett, Rick | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 27, 2017

Religious liberty, immigration, and "sanctuary"

A few days ago, Notre Dame's Center on Civil and Human Rights convened a panel discussion on immigration and sanctuary.  I participated, and talked about the religious-freedom dimension of the issue.  The video is here, if you are interested.  (My remarks start at about 40:00.)

Among other things, I talked about an Alabama case in which the state's Catholic bishops (and others) filed a lawsuit challenging, on religious-freedom grounds, a law that purported to forbid anyone to assist or harbor unlawful immigrants.  (More here on the bishops' criticisms.)

In some quarters, the Catholic bishops' religious-freedom advocacy has been (unfairly and inaccurately, in my view) criticized as partisan or as excessively focused on a few "culture wars" issues.  (The same criticisms, increasingly, are directed at religious-freedom laws generally).  In fact, the USCCB's Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Freedom, like the Alabama bishops, criticized Alabama's law just as it did the contraception-coverage mandate.  

I'm wondering, relatedly, whether this particular provision of the President's recent executive order on immigration similarly imposes, or could impose, an unlawful burden on religious exercise:

Sec. 6.  Civil Fines and Penalties.  As soon as practicable, and by no later than one year after the date of this order, the Secretary shall issue guidance and promulgate regulations, where required by law, to ensure the assessment and collection of all fines and penalties that the Secretary is authorized under the law to assess and collect from aliens unlawfully present in the United States and from those who facilitate their presence in the United States.

It depends, I suppose, on how "facilitate" is interpreted.  Still, something for those of us who care about religious freedom (as we all should) to keep an eye on.

January 27, 2017 in Garnett, Rick | Permalink | Comments (0)

Notre Dame Fighting Irish for Life

ND at March

January 27, 2017 in Garnett, Rick | Permalink