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, June 26, 2020

Losing Faith in the Legal Academy

Mark Movsesian’s recent essay in Law & Liberty is quite interesting. Of note, the religious demographics within the legal academy:

Northwestern Law Professor James Lindgren has published a survey revealing that religious commitments are comparatively rare on American law faculties. “Even compared to other professors,” he writes, “law professors are much less religious.” About 40 percent of law professors, according to Lindgren’s survey, are atheists or agnostics. (The percentage of atheists and agnostics may be even higher among elite law professors). Among Americans with graduate or professional degrees, by contrast, the percentage of atheists and agnostics is substantially lower, only 15 percent. Law professors are also “less likely to attend religious services than their non-professorial counterparts,” Lindgren writes.

Lindgren writes that Christians, specifically, are “underrepresented” on law faculties, compared to the general population. About 75 percent of Americans are Christians of some kind; less than 40 percent of law professors are. By contrast, Nones are highly “overrepresented.” About 20% of Americans say they have no religious identity; among law professors, the percentage is almost double that, about 37 percent. Non-Christian religions—Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, etc.—are also “overrepresented” in the legal academy, he says, compared to their numbers in the general population.


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