Bench Memos

Nature and Constitutionalism

An impressive project begun long before I joined the staff of the Witherspoon Institute has come to fruition.  With funding from the NEH and assistance from the James Madison Program at Princeton University, Witherspoon is launching a resource-rich website on Natural Law, Natural Rights, and American Constitutionalism.  (Announcement here, with link to full website here.)  The site is in “public preview” mode now, with some of its parts not yet complete.  But there’s plenty here already: original source material from Plato to the twentieth century, historical and biographical material, and brief analytical essays from eminent scholars like Walter Berns, Michael Zuckert, Herman Belz, William B. Allen, Bradley C.S. Watson, V. Bradley Lewis, Ronald J. Pestritto, Paul A. Rahe, Samuel Gregg, Paul Sigmund, and Walter Nicgorski–just a partial list, with more to come.

For teachers, students, scholars, and anyone with an interest in the philosophical foundations of American constitutionalism, the “NLNRAC” site is the place to get started.

Matthew J. Franck — Matthew J. Franck is the Director of the William E. and Carol G. Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution at the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, New Jersey.

Most Popular


Holy Week with Saint Paul

Just the other day, I ordered a replacement copy of The Passion of the Christ -- it can be so impactful for Holy Week meditation. In the years since its release, it’s become something of required Lenten viewing for me. But this year, there is a new movie to help with prayer, Paul, Apostle of Christ, released ... Read More

Friday Links

UPS Trucks (Mostly) Don't Turn Left, Saving Them 10 Million Gallons of Gas Per Year. Scientists provide comprehensive breakdown of how much people poo in their lifetime. Famed archaeologist forged murals, inscriptions for decades. How Do You Make Beer in Space? Astronauts return to earth ... Read More

Heckuva Job, Paul and Mitch

As Thursday's editorial makes clear, the omnibus spending bill is a disgrace. That may be why about 40 percent of Republicans (and 40 percent of Democrats) voted against it. Apart from the absence of a DACA/Dream amnesty, the immigration portions represent a comprehensive victory by the anti-enforcement crowd. ... Read More
Politics & Policy

California’s Pro-Nuclear Renegade

If California’s upcoming gubernatorial race gets decided solely by money, Michael Shellenberger doesn’t have a chance. The latest campaign filings show that Shellenberger, an environmentalist from Berkeley, has about $37,000 in cash on hand. The frontrunner in the June 5 California primary, Lieutenant ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Sliming of Bari Weiss

If you follow at all the ideological war that’s erupted around the New York Times editorial page, then you know Bari Weiss. It’s too much to call Bari conservative. A better description might be heterodox. On some issues, particularly social issues and immigration, she’s a woman of the Left. On others — ... Read More