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.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Judge Wilkinson, All Falling Faiths, and Anyone Who Loves America

Another book you may wish to consider for your summer reading list is All Falling Faiths: Reflections on the Promise and Failure of the 1960s, by J. Harvie Wilkinson III.

An exchange that stood out to me in David Lat's ATL interview with Judge Wilkinson about the book was the one that elicited Judge Wilkinson's statement that "the audience is anyone who loves America":

DL: I think the book will interest a wide range of readers for a wide range of reasons — but did you have a particular reader or group of readers in mind when you were writing it?

JHW: The audience is anyone who loves America. All of us can still help to repair the damage that long-ago decade did to the spirit of tolerance in education, to the stability of family bonds and units, to the rule of law, to our sense of America as our home, to our capacity for national unity even in times of crisis, and to the sustenance we derive from the practice of religious faith. It’s also important to recognize, however, that the 1960s did great good and helped to broaden America’s embrace of all its citizens, not just some. I hope that by the end of the book, each reader will come at least to appreciate the other side of the enduring ‘60s argument.

I believe the generation of the Sixties has been given one last chance to get it right. We can help upcoming generations learn from our experience. And we can devote our later years to bringing together the nation we did so much in our youth to drive apart. We owe our beloved country at least this much, before we leave Shakespeare’s stage and life itself for good.

Marc DeGirolami and I wrote an article a few years ago that explored the relationship between constitutional adjudication and constitutional theory through a study of some judicial and extrajudicial writings by Judge Wilkinson and Judge Posner. We contended that their anti-theory stance, together with their advocacy for judicial restraint and judicial pragmatism, respectively--which functioned in some important ways similar to the theories that they criticized--were best understood as accounts of judicial dispositions in constitutional adjudication. Judge Wilkinson's new book, together with his and Judge Posner's judicial and extra-judicial writings since Marc and I wrote, provide some evidence for the comparative attractiveness of the dispositions advocated by Wilkinson over those advocated by Posner. 


Walsh, Kevin | Permalink