Bench Memos

Witherspoon Institute Summer Seminars

The Witherspoon Institute’s Simon Center on Religion and the Constitution, which I direct, is offering two seminars this summer for early-career faculty, and for graduate and law students.

Church and State: Religion in the Young American Republic

This seminar, held on the campus of the Princeton Theological Seminary from July 29 to August 4, 2012, will explore the interaction of religion and political life in the early American republic, from colonial and revolutionary times to the early nineteenth century, employing primary sources and emphasizing theological perspectives as well as political and legal ones.  It is open to post-doctoral, tenure-track, and non-tenure-track scholars in political science and political theory, history, law, and religious studies.  Faculty for the seminar will be leading historians of religion in early American history: Prof. Mark Noll of the University of Notre Dame, Prof. Harry Stout of Yale University, and Prof. Gerald McDermott of Roanoke College.  Applications are due by March 30, 2012.  More information can be found here:

Moral Foundations of Law

This seminar, held on the campus of Princeton University from August 5 to 11, 2012, examines the relation of moral and legal philosophy, the debate between positivism and the natural law, and questions regarding constitutionalism and judging, among other subjects.  The seminar is open to rising 2L and 3L students in law school, as well as LLM and SJD candidates; graduate students in political philosophy and jurisprudence may also apply.  Faculty for the seminar will be Gerard V. Bradley of Notre Dame Law School; John M. Finnis of Oxford and Notre Dame; Matthew J. Franck of the Witherspoon Institute; Patrick Lee of Franciscan University; and Gerard Wegemer of the University of Dallas.  Judge Edith Jones of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is scheduled as a guest speaker.  Applications are due March 30, 2012.  More information can be found here:


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