Archbishop Chaput: “HHS mandate insulting and dangerous”

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Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia had this to say in this morning's Philadelphia Inquirer: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services refused on Jan. 20 to broaden the exception to its mandate that nearly all Catholic employers must cover contraception, abortifacients, and sterilization in their health-care plans.An "accommodation" offered Friday by the White House did not solve the problem. Instead, it triggered withering criticism from legal scholars such as Notre Dame's … [Read more...]

Philosophy, the Handmaid of Judicial Review

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That's the title of my latest entry over at The Catholic Thing. Here's how it begins: In his most recent column here at The Catholic Thing, my friend Hadley Arkes raises the question as to why the federal courts, and the Supreme Court in particular, could not extend the protections of the Fourteenth Amendment to unborn human persons by employing the same reasoning these courts have utilized elsewhere.What Hadley is suggesting in his query should be uncontroversial:  the courts must apply th … [Read more...]

Progressive Politics and Diminishing Religious Liberty

Over at Public Discourse this morning, attorneys Jane Robbins and Emmett McGroarty have authored an eye-opening piece, "Mandating Our Religious Freedom." Here's how it begins: People of faith must reclaim their religious freedom, granted by the Creator and protected by the Constitution.The Founders’ protection of religious freedom in the First Amendment was in keeping with their recognition of the supreme importance of the individual, who was created by God and subject to God’s natural law. The … [Read more...]

Is There a Right to Clone?

I don't think so. In a 2002 article in the Nevada Law Journal, "Cloning and Reproductive Liberty," I make the argument that one cannot get a right to clone from the Supreme Court's reproductive rights jurisprudence. You can read the article here. … [Read more...]

Speaking to the Orange County Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society on September 22

For those who are in the Southern California area, on September 22 I will be speaking to the Orange County Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society. My talk is entitled, "How the Federal Courts' Religious Motive Test Violates Religious Liberty." Co-Sponsored with the Orange County Chapter of the J. Reuben Clark Law Society, it will be held at 12 noon (11:30 am registration) at the Knobbe Conference Center, 2nd Floor at 2040 Main St., Irvine, 92614. You can read more about the event here.The … [Read more...]

A Second Look at “First Things”

That is the title of my recent entry over at The Catholic Thing. It is adapted from a portion of a paper I delivered on May 17, 2011 at Princeton University as part of panel celebrating the 25th anniversary of the publication of Hadley Arkes’ First Things: An Inquiry Into the First Principles of Morals and Justice (PrincetonUniversity Press, 1986). Here's how it begins: Most books and articles in political and legal philosophy are dry. One rarely finds in them humorous anecdotes, memorable cha … [Read more...]

Taking Theology Seriously: The Status of the Religious Beliefs of Judicial Nominees for the Federal Bench

That's the title of an article I published in 2006 in the Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy (vol. 20, pp. 455-471).  Here's how it begins (notes omitted): Nominees to the federal bench, like all citizens, have beliefs.  These beliefs include everything from what they were taught in law school to what they know about history or mathematics or what they may have learned in church or synagogue.  And yet, it is the latter beliefs that are singled out for special scrutiny by the Un … [Read more...]

The Court of Disbelief: The Constitution’s Article VI Religious Test Prohibition and the Judiciary’s Religious Motive Analysis.

That is the title of an article I published in 2006 in the Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly 33.2 & 3, pp. 337-360. I bring this to your attention because I cited it in a recent exchange I had with a friend on my Facebook wall.  Here's how the article begins: In several federal cases concerning whether particular statutes or policies violate the First Amendment’s prohibition of religious establishment, both the United States Supreme Court and other federal courts have rejected the co … [Read more...]

The National Day of Reason Doesn’t Have A Prayer

That's the title of my latest column over at The Catholic Thing. It begins this way: May 5, 2011, is the National Day of Prayer. It has been an annual American observance since Congress enacted it in 1952. The law simply states: “The President shall issue each year a proclamation designating the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer and meditation at churches, in groups, and as individuals.”Since 2003, secular grou … [Read more...]

Are monogamy-only laws unconstitutional?

Apparently so, according to the Attorney General and the President. On Wednesday, they told us that they will no longer defend sec. 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act in federal court because it is unconstitutional, since it allegedly violates the 5th amendment and thus does not withstand heightened scrutiny. Here's what sec. 3 states:"In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the … [Read more...]


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