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, October 24, 2010

Jean Porter's Ministers of the Law

This past Friday, Villanova Law hosted its ninth-annual Symposium on Catholic Social Thought and Law, now named for Joseph T. McCullen.  Past symposia went directly to topics in CST, but this year we decided to approach such topics by focusing on Jean Porter's brand new book, Ministers of the Law: A Natural Law Theory of Legal Authority.  The very first copies of the book arrived via overnight delivery in time to be unveiled on Friday.  Readers of MoJ will want to order this volume right away: as its title indicates, it concerns both the natural law and legal authority, and its constructive account of their interrelatedness is both novel and important.  I would make my own the words of Russ Hittinger's blurb on the book's cover:  "Jean Porter accomplishes a most unusual thing.  She illuminates and at the same time renders subtle in every hue and shade a most difficult set of questions on natural law.  I could not stop reading, and in some places disagreeing with, this splendid work.  I think it is her best yet."  It's got everything from Gratian to HLA Hart, and all of it a subtle but constructive balance.

All of the papers from the conference will be published in the Journal of Catholic Social Thought.  In addition to the papers by Porter and by me, we can look forward to papers by Kevin Flannery, SJ (Gregorian University), Brad Lewis (CUA), Francis Mootz III (UNLV), Maris Tinture (Oxford), and Nick Wolterstorff (Yale). 

Whatever else is wrong with the world, it's wonderful to be in dialogue with such serious-minded folks about such important, pressing issues.  As I said, buy Porter's book!  Brien Tierney says this about it: "A major contribution to modern debates on the grounding of law."  And my friend Ken Pennington:  "This book should be required reading for every American constitutional scholar and, in particular, every American Supreme Court justice."  I say amen to that. 


Brennan, Patrick | Permalink

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