Friday, April 22, 2016
Interesting commentary by University of St. Thomas law prof Charles Reid, here. An excerpt:
One of the most important contributions that Catholic social thought can make to today’s progressive politics is a theory of the state as guarantor of a just and fair economic playing field. Bernie Sanders and others would be well-advised to draw deeply from this tradition.
In doing so, they would find themselves at odds with the last three-plus decades of political discourse, which has been all about de-legitimizing the state. When Ronald Reagan said in 1981 that “government is the problem, not the solution,” he likely did not believe it himself. But his rhetoric was careless. And surely it stands behind much of the reckless talk and dangerous politics emanating from Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, the Tea Party fanatics, and the Ayn Rand libertarian right.
Friday, April 8, 2016
Charles Taylor, Professor Emeritus at McGill University, Montreal, is not only "one of the world's most celebrated living philosophers;" he is also a Catholic. So his reflections on secular democracy should be of special interest to MOJ readers.
We are informed, at the end of his reflections, that "Professor Taylor will visit Sydney to launch Australian Catholic University's Institute for Social Justice at the Opera House on Thursday, 28 April, and will give two public lectures: "The Language Animal" on Friday, 22 April, and "Secularism and Religious and Spiritual Forms of Belonging" on Friday, 29 April." Let's stay tuned.
Saturday, April 2, 2016
Cathleen Kaveny, the Darald and Juliet Libby Professor at Boston College--holding appointments both in the School of Law and in the Department of Theology--has just posted to SSRN an excellent paper: Law, Religion, and Conscience in a Pluralistic Society: The Case of the Little Sisters of the Poor. You can download the paper here.
Thursday, March 24, 2016
Few if any academic lawyers have done more to protect religious liberty than Doug Laycock. In his op-ed on Zubik v. Burwell, published in the Washington Post on March 20, Doug writes: "I had never before filed a brief in support of the government in a case about the free exercise of religion." If you haven't already read Doug's op-ed, here it is.
Monday, July 27, 2015
Friday, July 3, 2015
MOJ friend John Stinneford, professor of law at the University of Florida, has published a discerning commentary on--and, I think, a persuasive critique of--the Supreme Court's ruling earlier this week in Glossip v. Gross, the lethal injection case in which several justices debate the question of the constitutionality of capital punishment. Consider what John has to say, here. For those who would like to read the case itself, here it is: Glossip v. Gross (2015).
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
In Obergefell v. Hodges, decided on June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that excluding same-sex couples from civil marriage is unconstitutional. Sometimes the appropriate response to a judicial decision is: “Right ruling, but wrong — or, at least, problematic — reasoning.” Is that the appropriate response — or an appropriate response — to the Court’s decision in Obergefell?
This brief paper (here) is an imagined opinion — an opinion by an imaginary justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Nemo — concurring in the Court’s judgment in Obergefell. In the opinion, Justice Nemo articulates a basis for the Court’s judgment that she believes to be preferable, on a number of grounds, to the somewhat diffuse mix of rationales on which the majority relies. Justice Nemo begins her opinion by explaining why one of the rationales included in the mix on which the majority relies — an “equal protection” rationale — is, in her view, a problematic basis for the Court’s judgment.
In her opinion, Justice Nemo relies on an insight of the celebrated Jesuit theologian John Courtney Murray, who is no doubt familiar to the five Catholic justices of the Supreme Court.
Friday, June 5, 2015
On the Constitutionality and Political Morality of Granting Conscience-Protecting Exemptions Only to Religious Believers
This paper was my contribution to the conference on “The Scope of Religious Exemptions,” hosted by the Bowling Green State University Department of Philosophy, April 17-18, 2015. I explain in the paper that both the constitutional law of the United States and the political morality of human rights converge on the conclusion that government may not grant conscience-protecting exemptions only to religious believers.
This review essay, Review of Politics 77 (2015), 287-299, may be of interest to MOJ readers. The abstract:
Among contemporary scholars of American religious freedom, Andrew Koppelman and Steven Smith are two of the most esteemed. In their respective books -- Koppelman's Defending American Religious Neutrality (Harvard 2013) and Smith's The Rise and Decline of American Religious Freedom (Harvard 2014) -- they address a broad range of important issues. Space limitations constrain me to be selective in this review essay. I comment here on what Koppelman and Smith say, and don’t say, about two of the most fundamental issues concerning American religious freedom: the meaning of the nonestablishment norm and the constitutionality of granting conscience-protecting exemptions only to religious believers.
Sunday, May 11, 2014
In August 2012, Robby George recommended (here) an article by a former student of his, Matthew O'Brien--an article on political liberalism and same-sex marriage--that had just been published in the British Journal of American Legal Studies. A response to O'Brien's article has now been published, also in the British Journal Of American Legal Studies, by Greg Walker of Cardiff University (Wales, U.K.). The title: Rawls, Political Liberalism, and the Family. Walker writes, in an e-mail message to me, that his response "demonstrates deep flaws in O'Brien's reading of Rawls and of aspects of U.S. constitutional law." Walker's article is available here.