‘Catholicism and the Court’ topic of Nov. 10 law journal symposium

For the first time in U.S. history, a Catholic majority sits on the Supreme Court. What accounts for the increase in Catholic justices? Is there a recognizable Catholic jurisprudence? Does religion play a role in judicial decision making?

These questions and others will be considered in the fall symposium of the University of St. Thomas Law Journal, “Catholicism and the Court: The Relevance of Faith Traditions to Jurisprudence,” from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10, in the Schulze Grand Atrium of  the university’s School of Law, located at 12th Street and Harmon Place in downtown Minneapolis.

Diarmuid O’Scannlain

The public is welcome. Registration fees range from $25 to $50 and are due by Friday, Oct. 27. CLE credit is available. Register online.

The symposium’s keynote speaker is Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. His address is titled “Must a Faithful Judge be a Faithless Judge?” O’Scannlain will explain conceptions of the law and the judge as understood in the Catholic tradition, discuss conflicts, real and imagined, between the vocation of the Christian and the job of the judge, and offer some personal reflections on ways in which his faith enriches his profession.

O’Scannlain was appointed to the circuit court by President Reagan in 1986. He earned a bachelor of arts degree in 1957 from St. John’s University, a juris doctorate in 1963 from Harvard Law School and the LL.M. (judicial process) degree in 1992 from the University of Virginia Law School.

Symposium panel discussions and panelists include:

“Why We Have a Catholic-Majority Court”

  • Margaret O’Brien Steinfels, writer, editor and commentator, former editor of the journal Commonweal and founding co-director of the Fordham University Center on Religion and Culture
  • Michael Gerhardt, the Samuel Ashe Distinguished Professor in Constitutional Law at the University of North Carolina Law School
  • Dennis Coyle, associate professor of politics at the Catholic University of America and former Gerald R. Ford Fellow in American Politics at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research
  • Sheldon Goldman, professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and author of Picking Federal Judges (Yale University Press, 1997) and other works on judicial selection

“Moral Conflicts in the Judge’s Role”

  • Ed Hartnett, the Richard J. Hughes Professor for Constitutional and Public Law and Service at Seton Hall Law School
  • Amy Coney Barrett, 2006 Professor of the Year at Notre Dame Law School
  • Brian Tamanaha, the Chief Judge Benjamin N. Cardozo Professor of Law at St. John’s University (N.Y.) School of Law

“The Role of Faith in Judging”

  • Sanford Levinson, who holds the W. St. John Garwood and W. St. John Garwood Centennial Chair in Law at the School of Law at the University of Texas at Austin
  • Robert Cochran Jr., the Louis D. Brandeis Professor of Law at Pepperdine University School of Law
  • Scott Idleman, professor of law at Marquette University Law School
  • Judge Joan Gottschall, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois

For more information about the symposium, call (651) 962-4855 or send an e-mail to lawreview@stthomas.edu.