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.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Two new pieces by MOJers!

"Excluding Religion Excludes More than Religion"

Matters of Life and Death: Religion and Law at the Crossroad, Boston College Law School, 2008

RICHARD STITH, Valparaiso University School of Law

This Article contends that excluding apparently religious perspectives from public debate may inadvertently exclude non-religious perspectives as well, consequently impoverishing public discussion. This contention is demonstrated through an examination of the current debate over embryonic stem cell research, in which the pro-life position is often declared unacceptably religious. The truth is that those who envision the unborn as under construction in the womb do not find a human being present when gestation has just begun, while those who understand the unborn to be developing see an identity of being from conception. But neither view is based on religion. To disqualify the pro-life view as religious would exclude from public debate an important secular perspective.

[Downloadable here.]

"Vocation, Formation and the Next Generation: The Role of Catholic Law Schools in Light of Catholic Social Thought"

Villanova Journal of Catholic Social Thought, Forthcoming
U of St. Thomas Legal Studies Research Paper No. 09-21

SUSAN J. STABILE, University of St. Thomas - School of Law (Minnesota)

There are two separate aspects to what is distinctive about a Catholic law school as opposed to a secular one – one having to do with formation and the other having to do with the transmission of the Catholic intellectual tradition. The focus of this article is on the first of the two distinctive aspects of Catholic legal education – formation. It addresses the question how Catholic social thought informs (or should inform) our thinking about the formation role of Catholic law schools. I argue that from the perspective of Catholic thought, Catholic law schools must do more than merely train students to practice law. In addition to educating students to become lawyers, Catholic law schools have a formation and development task that involves at least several related aspects – creating a vocation-based culture and understanding of success, helping students discern their place in the legal profession, and giving them the tools they will need to carry out their calling in a manner consistent with the Gospel. In talking about these roles, the article also suggests some ways this formation and development mission of the Catholic law school might be carried out and briefly identifies some of the challenges that will be faced by Catholic law schools in trying to carry out this role.

[Downloadable here.]

And then there is this piece, which looks quite interesting:

"The Recurring Paradox of Groups in the Liberal State" 

Utah Law Review, Forthcoming

FREDERICK MARK GEDICKS, Brigham Young University - J. Reuben Clark Law School

The question of groups for liberal theory and constitutional doctrine is not new. For at least the last half century, every time some unguarded Supreme Court language has hinted at group rights, academics have responded with law review articles arguing that the Court should confirm such rights in doctrine. But the Court never has.

The Court's lack of enthusiasm for group rights is undoubtedly related to their paradoxical quality of simultaneously protecting and threatening individual liberty. This paradox requires analytic touchstones to guide the decision when the liberal state should intervene in the internal affairs of groups, such as groups’ lack of foundational status in constitutional doctrine, whether group membership is consensual, and the extent to which group rights impose external costs on nonmembers. It also suggests the need for a more nuanced approach to group rights than is suggested by the binary choice between recognition or nonrecognition. Constitutional doctrine might make greater use of intermediate measures, such as revocation of tax exempt status or other state privileges, for groups whose beliefs and practices threaten the rights and interests of nonmembers. This enables the state to preserve the pluralist contributions that groups make to liberal democracy without subsidizing anti-liberal values and practices.

This Essay is part of a symposium on non-state action held at the University of Utah College of Law on February 6, 2009.

[Downloadable here.]


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