Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.

Friday, April 28, 2017

A Global Political Morality: Human Rights, Democracy, and Constitutionalism

Yesterday I posted to SSRN the introduction to my new book.  Several issues I address in the book are issues that engage many MOJ readers:  the religious v. secular grounds of human rights (chapter 2); the human right to religious/moral freedom (chapter 4); the proper role of the judiciary in resolving constitutional controversies that are also moral controversies, such as the constitutional controversies over capital punishment, same-sex marriage, and abortion (chapters 5-6); and human rights of the socioeconomic sort—such as the human right to adequate healthcare—which are the sort of human rights with which Catholic social teaching has long been concerned (chapter 7).  Here is a link to the introduction.  The abstract:

This SSRN posting consists mainly of the introduction to my new book: A GLOBAL POLITICAL MORALITY: HUMAN RIGHTS, DEMOCRACY, AND CONSTITUTIONALISM (Cambridge University Press 2017). The “global political morality” to which the title refers is what I call “the morality of human rights”. In the book, as I explain more fully in the introduction, I pursue several related inquiries that lie at the interface of human rights theory, political theory, and constitutional theory.

The first two inquiries concern the morality of human rights: 1. What are “human rights”? 2. What reason (or reasons) do we have--if indeed we have any — to take human rights seriously?

The next two inquiries concern the relationship of the morality of human rights to democratic governance: 3. How does the morality of human rights support democratic governance? 4. How does the morality of human rights limit democratic governance? I address the latter question with particular reference to the human right to religious and moral freedom.

The final three inquiries concern the relationship of the morality of human rights to certain constitutionalism-related questions: 5. In the context of the Constitution of the United States, what theory of judicial review takes seriously both the human right to democratic governance and the other human rights that are limits on democratic governance? 6. What are the implications of that theory of judicial review — a theory that comprises a (limited) affirmation of an originalist understanding of constitutional interpretation — for the constitutional controversies over, respectively, capital punishment, race-based affirmative action, same-sex marriage, physician-assisted suicide, and abortion? 7. Should human rights of the socioeconomic sort, such as the human right to adequate healthcare, be constitutionalized — and if so, should they also be judicialized?

April 28, 2017 in Perry, Michael | Permalink

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Health Care and the Gospel

That's the title of a new piece by Timothy Stoltzfuss Jost in Commonweal.  The subtitle:  "Where Are the Lawmakers of Faith?"  Tim, who is Mennonite, is Robert L. Willett Family Professor of Law at Washington and Lee University School of Law.  I recommend Tim's piece (here) to all MOJ readers.  I was privileged to be Tim's colleague during 1981-82, which was my final year at Ohio State (before heading off to Northwestern for a fifteen-year stint) and Tim's first year there.

April 5, 2017 in Perry, Michael | Permalink

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Prophecy Without Contempt: Religious Discourse in the Public Square

That's the title of the book by Cathleen Kaveny that was published one year ago this month (Harvard University Press).  Professor Kaveny is the Darald and Juliet Libby Professor at Boston College, where she holds a joint appointment (School of Law, Department of Theology).

On Friday, April 7, 1:30-5:00 PM, at the McMullen Museum of Art, 201 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, there will be a program, focused on Professor Kaveny's book, entitled "Prophecy Without Contempt:  A Conversation About Religion, Identity, and Exclusion in Our New Political Era".  The three speakers are an extraordinarily impressive group:  Jonathan Lear, John U. Nef Distinguished Service Professor, Committee on Social Thought and Department of Philosophy, University of Chicago; Charles Taylor, Professor Emeritus, Department of Philosophy, McGill University; and Rowan Williams, 104th Archbishop of Cantebury and Master of Magdalene College, University of Cambridge.  Professor Kaveny will respond.  The program is presented by The Clough Center for the Study of Constitutional Democracy, Boston College. 

March 29, 2017 in Perry, Michael | Permalink

Monday, January 30, 2017

Statement by Father John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., president, University of Notre Dame ...

... on "[t]he sweeping, indiscriminate and abrupt character of President Trump’s recent Executive Order ...", here.

January 30, 2017 in Perry, Michael | Permalink

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

"Silence": Scorsese’s Spiritual Masterpiece

That's the title of a piece, in First Things, that Rick Garnett and I think many of you will be interested in.  You can read it here.  Rick and I have both been--long been--big fans of Shusaku Endo's 1966 novel, Silence--and have both been waiting forever for Scorsese's film version of the novel.

January 4, 2017 in Perry, Michael | Permalink

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Linking Abortion and Climate Change

That's the title of a post at dotCommonweal that will interest MOJ readers.  You can read the post here.

December 13, 2016 in Perry, Michael | Permalink

Sunday, November 27, 2016

A Golden Celebration--the Catholic Chaplaincy at Yale

Check it out, here.

November 27, 2016 in Perry, Michael | Permalink

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Same Sex Unions and the Catholic Church: How Law and Doctrine Evolve

That's the title of a paper that Charles Reid, Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas, has just posted to SSRN.  Given the subject matter of the paper, some information about Professor Reid's academic background is relevant.  Professor Reid attended the Catholic University of America, where he earned J.D. and J.C.L. (license in canon law) degrees.   Reid later attended Cornell University, where he earned a Ph.D. in the history of medieval law under the supervision of Brian Tierney.  His thesis at Cornell was on the Christian, medieval origins of the western concept of individual rights.  Over the last ten years, he has published a number of articles on the history of western rights thought, and is currently completing work on a book manuscript addressing this question.  In 1991, Reid was appointed research associate in law and history at the Emory University School of Law, where he has worked closely with Harold Berman on the history of western law.

Reid's article on same-sex unions and the Catholic Church is downloadable for free here.  This is the abstract:

This Article makes the case for reforming the Catholic Church’s law and teaching on the topic of same-sex unions. It is divided into two large parts. Part I surveys the present state of the Church’s rules governing same-sex relations. It is further subdivided into three subsections: the first examining the formation and reinforcement of the anti-sodomy norm in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; the second reviewing the jurisprudence of the Roman Rota (one of the Vatican’s two supreme appellate tribunals) on homosexuality; the third glancing briefly at more affirming recent statements of Pope Francis and leading Cardinals and bishops. The second part then states the case for reform. It begins by recapitulating the natural-law case against same-sex unions, especially as articulated by Pope John Paul II; it then focuses on personalist philosophy to build a case grounded in human dignity and human rights; it looks to see how arguments grounded on dignity, respect, and human rights were used in legislative and constitutional reform in the United States and in three Catholic countries; and it returns again to natural law. Building on the premise that natural law requires an understanding of nature, the Article reviews the state of the science on same-sex attraction. It closes with a reflection on the many ways the Church has dynamically reinterpreted its normative structure and proposes that reform of the law on same-sex unions would be in keeping with other large historical shifts in the Church’s law and doctrine.

November 22, 2016 in Perry, Michael | Permalink

Friday, October 28, 2016

"Principled or Pragmatic Foundations for the Freedom of Conscience"

That's the title of a little essay by Professor/Judge John Noonan that was published almost thirty years ago (1987) in the Journal of Law and Religion.  A little essay, but nonetheless an important one.  I happened to reread it today--and thought that many MOJ readers would (and/or should) be interested in it.  Here it is, all nine and a half pages:  Download John Noonan (1987).

October 28, 2016 in Perry, Michael | Permalink

Nicholas Wolterstorff says “yes” to same-sex marriage

Given Wolterstorff's stature as one of the most acclaimed Christian philosophers of our time, I think that this report will be of interest to many MOJ readers.

October 28, 2016 in Perry, Michael | Permalink