John M. Finnis Lecture
Friday, September 27, 2013
Warren Hall, Grace Courtroom
Event details coming soon.
John Finnis is known for his work in moral, political and legal theory, as well as constitutional law. He joined the Notre Dame Law School faculty in 1995. Currently, Notre Dame shares Finnis with Oxford University, where he has held the positions of lecturer, reader and a chaired professor in law for almost four decades. In addition, he has served as associate in law at the University of California at Berkeley (1965-66), as professor of law at the University of Malawi (Africa) (1976-78) and as the Huber Distinguished Visiting Professor of Law at the Boston College Law School (1993-94). He is admitted to the English Bar (Gray’s Inn). He earned his LL.B. from Adelaide University (Australia) in 1961 and his doctorate from Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar in 1965. His service has included the Linacre Centre for Health Care Ethics (governor since 1981), the Catholic Bishops’ Joint Committee on Bioethical Issues (1981-88), the International Theological Commission (1986-92), the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace (1990-95) and the Pontifical Academy Pro Vita (2001-present). He has published widely in law, legal theory, moral and political philosophy, moral theology and the history of the late Elizabethan era.
Institute for Law and Religion Conference
Friday, February 28 – Satrday, March 1
Is Religion Outdated (as a Constitutional Category)?
The First Amendment would appear to single out “religion” (along with speech, press, and association) for special constitutional treatment. This designation is reflected in constitutional doctrine and decisions: religion has often been treated as distinctive in ways that may be sometimes burdensome to or restrictive of religion (under the Establishment Clause) and sometimes beneficial to or protective of it (under the free exercise clause).
Increasingly, however, scholars question this special treatment—or at least the special treatment that is beneficial to religion. So long as religious individuals and institutions enjoy the same freedoms of speech, association, due process, etc. that other individuals and institutions receive, why is there any need to single out “religion” for special protection? Such protection may be viewed as a sort of “special interest” constitutionalism. A similar stance was discernible in the Obama Administration’s position in the recent “ministerial exception” case.
This conference will focus on this issue. Is the Constitution’s apparent commitment to special treatment for religion merely a reflection of historical contingencies of the early Republic, or can good justifications be given for continuing to treat religion as a distinctive constitutional concern? If the commitment to special protection for religion is discarded, should the special constraints on governmental aid to religion, or on governmental expressions or endorsements of religion, be relinquished as well? In short, should religion continue to be regarded as a special constitutional category?
“The Claims of Conscience and the Rule of Law: Can They Coexist?”
29th Nathaniel L. Nathanson Memorial Lecture
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Lecturer: William A. Galston
Since the rise of revealed religion, the relation between civil and religious authority has been a central question. In modernity, religious authority has often been seen in individual terms, as the conscience of the believer. In a constitutional democracy such as ours, how can we deal with the conflict between the aims of public law and the demands of individual conscience, which may require non-compliance or resistance? Galston will explore some of the ways in which this conflict plays out in jurisprudence and public policy.
Thursday, October 11, 2012
Featured Debate Participants
"Freedom of the Church in the Modern Era"
October 12-13, 2012
The institute hosted its inaugural conference titled "Freedom of the Church in the Modern Era" in October. The issue of freedom of the church has become urgent in recent years. This conference welcomed law and religion experts to discuss and debate the constitutional commitment to freedom of the church.
- Tom Berg, University of St. Thomas Law
- Alan Brownstein, University of California Davis Law
- Robert Cochran, Pepperdine Law
- Richard Garnett, Notre Dame Law
- Michael Helfand, Pepperdine Law
- Paul Horwitz, University of Alabama Law
- John Inazu, Washington University School of Law
- Andrew Koppelman, Northwestern Law
- Mark Rosen, IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law
- Lawrence Sager, University of Texas Law
- Richard Schragger, University of Virginia Law
- Micah Schwartzman, University of Virginia Law
- Maimon Schwarzschild, University of San Diego Law
- Nomi Stolzenberg, University of Southern California Law
- Nelson Tebbe, Brooklyn Law
- Rob Vischer, University of St. Thomas Law
- Patrick McKinley Brennan, Villanova Law
- Caroline Corbin, University of Miami Law
- John Eastman, Chapman University Law
- Frederick Gedicks, Brigham Young University Law
- Kent Greenawalt, Columbia University Law
- Abner Greene, Fordham Law
- Marci Hamilton, Cordozo Law
- Michael Paulsen, University of St. Thomas Law
- Louis Michael Seidman, Georgetown Law
- Rodney Smith, Thomas Jefferson Law School
- Mark Tushnet, Harvard Law