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.

Monday, July 25, 2022

The Contrasting Visions of the Judiciary in Brown and Dobbs

I have a short piece contrasting the Dobbs' Court's approach to judicial reasoning with that employed in Brown v. Board of Education. Here is a snippet: 

Brown v. Board of Education rightly mortally wounded Plessy v. Ferguson, and Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization overruled Roe v. Wade. But Brown and Dobbs represent contrasting visions of the role of the judiciary in shaping American society. The Brown Court placed itself in the central role of creating a just society. The Dobbs Court cast itself in the supporting role of referee applying the standards set down by the Constitution, while locating the task of forming a just society in state legislatures on issues the Constitution is silent about.

July 25, 2022 in Current Affairs, Scaperlanda, Mike | Permalink

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Two books to consider as summer wanes

MOJ friends, Robert Cochran and Zach Calo recently published "Agape, Justice, and Law: How Might Christian Love Shape Law?" Rick Garnett and Robert George among many others have chapters in this fine book.

And, on Edith Stein's feast day, I also recommend Edith Stein: The Life and Legacy of St. Theresa Benedicta of the Cross, which will be available August 24, written by the award winning Maria Ruiz Scaperlanda.


August 9, 2017 in Scaperlanda, Mike | Permalink

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Catholic Convocation: Joy of the Gospel

The Catholic Convocation just ended with Mass celebrated by Cardinal DiNardo and words from the Nuncio, who was present throughout. As a follow-up to Rick's post, it was a true joy to be with 3500 fellow Catholics at this event convened by the Bishops. In addition to Rick's panel, Helen Alvare (MOJ alum) gave wonderful remarks on the complementarity of women and men and the need for that complementarity to be present throughout the Church. MOJ friend, John Garvey gave a wonderful talk for the need for the renewal of the Catholic Intellectual life on our college campuses. Bishop Barron must have been listening. This morning, in a moving talk, Bishop Barron said "I hate a dumbed down Catholicism."

The word that kept coming up in my mind throughout the Convocation was "accompaniment." Radical missionary disciples must be present in this broken world by accompanying others, especially those on the various peripheries, on this journey through life, meeting them where they are and helping them experience the infinite mercy that is saving us. Bishop Cheri of New Orleans reminded us a) that "we are all sinners! This does not prevent the witness of Christ and His mercy from shining through us." and b) he expressed the urgency in this call, "we must be living epistles" because "we might be the only book someone reads." Supreme Knight Carl Anderson mentioned a perfect example in the art of accompaniment in the life of Fr. Stanley Rother who will be beautified in Oklahoma City on Sept. 23 in a Mass open to all.

July 4, 2017 in Scaperlanda, Mike | Permalink

Monday, April 24, 2017

Putting First Things First in Higher Education

Last month St. Gregory's University held a wonderful conference, "Leisure and Labor: The Liberal Arts and the Professions," inspired by our mission as a university and Joseph Pieper's great work, Leisure the Basis of Culture. There were many highlights, including my daughter's paper on the practical arts (cooking, sewing, etc) as preparation for the liberal arts, Fr. Schall's wonderful paper, Robert Royal's penetrating insight, Teresa Collett's practical wisdom, and many others. I hope at some point to be able to blog more on the substance of these papers, but I fear that the book of conference papers will probably appear before I have the chance. 

The conference was planned around my inauguration as President (HT to John Garvey for giving me the idea of a conference at the time of an inauguration). An edited version of my inaugural address was published today in Crisis. Here is a taste: 

The dialogue between Martha and Jesus in Chapter 10 of Luke’s Gospel captures the essence of this relationship between labor and leisure. Mary sits at Jesus’s feet, attentively listening to him, while Martha serves the guests. “Martha, burdened with much serving, came to [Jesus] and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.’” Jesus replied, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”

Reflecting on this passage in his Angelus message on July 18, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI said that this Gospel passage “recalls the fact that the human person must indeed work and be involved in domestic and professional occupations, but first and foremost needs God, who is the inner light of Love and Truth. … And who, if not Jesus Christ, gives us Love and Truth?”

April 24, 2017 in Scaperlanda, Mike | Permalink

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Leisure and Labor: The Liberal Arts and the Professions - Call for Abstracts

In conjunction with my formal installation as President, St. Gregory's University will host a conference titled Leisure and Labor: The Liberal Arts and the Professions, March 21-22, 2017. We  invite scholars, professionals, administrators, lay leaders, and religious to reflect upon the fundamental relationship between the liberal arts and job preparedness. Because I am just now putting this on MOJ, we will extend the time for submitting abstracts until January 8, 2017.

December 8, 2016 in Scaperlanda, Mike | Permalink

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Fr. Stanley Rother, First U.S. Born Martyr

An Oklahoma farm boy has been declared a martyr by Pope Francis, making him the first U.S. born person to receive such designation. To read more about this humble farm boy, read Maria Ruiz Scaperlanda's biography, The Shepherd Who Didn't Run, which was published last year.


Maria book cover

December 4, 2016 in Scaperlanda, Mike | Permalink

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Sunday Blue(s) Law

As a 19 year old newly returned to his native Texas in the late 1970's, I vividly remember the shuttered mall on Sunday. Vestiges of those Sunday Blue Laws are still present in Oklahoma - no liquor or car sales. But, this is not the case in most of the U.S. and hasn't been for decades. St. Gregory's University professor, Alex Schimpf, reflects on the culture's need for both leisure and worship, especially on Sunday.




August 31, 2016 in Scaperlanda, Mike | Permalink

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

On the Feast of the Archangels

St. Michael the Archangel, 
defend us in battle. 
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil. 
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, 
and do thou, 
O Prince of the heavenly hosts, 
by the power of God, 
thrust into hell Satan, 
and all the evil spirits, 
who prowl about the world (our cities, and our families)
seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

September 29, 2015 in Scaperlanda, Mike | Permalink

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Implementing Plea Bargaining in Uganda

Pepperdine's Jim Gash has been working closely with the Ugandan Judiciary to develop and implement a system of plea bargaining in Uganda with the hopes of improving their criminal justice system and reducing the number of prisoners sitting in prison awaiting trial (sometimes as long as five years). The idea grew out of a paper two Pepperdine Law students had written for a Ugandan judge while the students were clerking for him several years ago.

I recently had the privilege of accompanying Jim on his 17th trip to Uganda in the last five years. Other participants included current and former prosecutors, public defenders, other lawyers, a current state and a current federal judge, and Pepperdine students who were spending the summer in externships in Uganda and Rwanda. The first week of the trip, I felt like a first year associate as we put in 70 hours or so, including trips to four prisons and one juvenile remand home. At the prisons, we worked in teams of an American attorney, a Ugandan defense attorney (much of the time), Pepperdine students, and Ugandan Christian University students meeting with clients in an attempt to work plea deals. You can read more about the trip and Pepperdine's work in Uganda on Jim blog, Throwing Starfish.

I greatly appreciated Jim's invitation. It was just my third trip to Uganda, and his experience and contacts will greatly enhance the experience of University of Oklahoma law students and alums as we continue our work in northern Uganda with Sr. Rosemary Nyirumbe, St. Monica's Vocational School, and Gulu University.

July 29, 2015 in Scaperlanda, Mike | Permalink

Friday, July 24, 2015

Before entering the public square, prepare yourself for spiritual combat

Former Oklahoma State Representative, Rebecca Hamilton (a pro-life Democrat), hits it out of the ballpark in giving advice to anyone wishing to engage in pro-life work. It really applies to anyone desiring to make a difference in the public square.

The beginning of indifference to the wiles of greed, power, sex, flattery, lies and manipulation that you will find in the political arena is humility, and the beginning of true humility is understanding that you are saved by grace and that is none of yourself. It is all from Him. 

If you are an instrument — if you are His instrument — He will use you to save lives. You will do good. But if you cling to your own understanding and try to serve the dual masters of your own desires and His will, you will do well, and that only for yourself. 

 Once you have let God put you through the spiritual boot camp of facing your sins, you will be ready for maintenance. My own recipe when I was in office was to pray the Rosary every day, go to Mass as often as I could, go to confession every week — although this can be problematic with some priests, so you may have to go monthly if your pastor gets upset by weekly confessions — and read the Bible every day. I usually read the Bible through in a year and a half. 

There are other ways to keep yourself in spiritual shape. I have since found that just sitting with Jesus in the Eucharist is a wonderfully healing experience." 

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/rhamilton/ask-the-holy-spirit-to-put-your-through-spiritual-bootcamp/#ixzz3gqjNU6eb

July 24, 2015 in Scaperlanda, Mike | Permalink