Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

"Institutional Pluralism"

It would be fair, and not uncharitable, to say that the plenary and presidential sessions at the AALS annual meeting are not always particularly interesting.  This year, though -- thanks, no doubt, in part to the work of Dean John Garvey -- things look to be much better.  The theme for the meeting is "Institutional Pluralism."  These three panels look quite good:

2:15 – 4:00 p.m.
Association of American Law Schools Presidential Programs
(5360) Presidential Program I - Institutional Pluralism

Speakers: Heather K. Gerken, Yale Law School
R. Kent Greenawalt, Columbia University
Alice Gresham, Howard University School of Law
Sanford Levinson, The University of Texas
Daniel D. Polsby, George Mason University School of Law
Kenneth W. Starr, Pepperdine University School of Law, Moderator

This program is designed to explore the virtues of institutional pluralism, the costs of pursuing that ideal, and the impediments to realizing it. The AALS is an association of self-governing communities whose members pursue a variety of intellectual and social commitments. There are state law schools, religiously affiliated law schools, law schools at historically black colleges and universities, and schools that focus on particular subject matters or points of view. The panelists, who come from a range of such schools, will begin a conversation about how institutional differences affect faculty and students, how they contribute to our intellectual life, and what effects they have on the other values our schools cultivate.

(5370) Presidential Program II - Religiously Affiliated Law Schools
Speakers: Michael Herz, Yeshiva University
Patricia A. O’Hara, Notre Dame Law School, Moderator
Mark A. Sargent, Villanova University School of Law
Bradley J.B. Toben, Baylor University School of Law
Kevin J. Worthen, Brigham Young University

Among the AALS’s 199 member and fee-paid schools there are 49 religiously affiliated law schools. They represent a spectrum of denominations and shades of belief: Catholics, Baptists, Jews, Methodists, Disciples of Christ, Latter Day Saints, and others. How, if at all, are these schools different from their secular counterparts? What effect might the religious commitments and beliefs of the sponsoring faiths have on subject matter, perspective, student life, academic freedom, admissions, hiring, and other issues? What do religiously affiliated law schools contribute to the legal academy and broader legal community?

(5380) Presidential Program III - Associational Pluralism
Speakers: Margaret Martin Barry, The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law and Society of American Law Teachers
Michael Brintnall, Executive Director, American Political Science Association, Washington D.C.
Gail Heriot, University of San Diego School of Law and National Association of Scholars, Moderator
Goodwin Liu, University of California, Berkeley and American Constitution Society
John O. Mc Ginnis, Northwestern University, School of Law and The Federalist Society

At AALS Annual Meetings the intellectual life of the legal academy is lived in sections, defined by subject matter and interests. In recent years we have seen a flourishing culture of parallel organizations, often though not always characterized by particular points of view: the Federalist Society, the Society of American Law Teachers, the National Association of Scholars, the Law Professors Christian Fellowship, and the American Constitution Society are just a few examples. Does this phenomenon signal that the AALS is not representing these points of view? Should the AALS try to assimilate these groups, or make more of an effort to accommodate them (without digesting them) in its own framework, or live with the status quo?

Perhaps our own Mark Sargent will give us a sneak preview of his remarks?


Garnett, Rick | Permalink

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference "Institutional Pluralism" :