While in law school, students may learn some useful concepts in such core courses as contracts and property, but they are almost certain to hear much more about notions that undermine our basic rule of law. Then, after leaving law school and entering the legal profession, what continuing education they get is likely to assist them in manipulating the system to benefit their clients, no matter how unjust their claims may be. Almost nothing lawyers, judges, legislators, and regulators might learn about the law pushes back against its misuse.
I’m happy to report about one institution that offers (not requires) a corrective to the “progressivism” that is growing over our legal system. The Blackstone & Burke Center for Law & Liberty, housed at the Thomas Goode Law School, was founded recently and it seeks to restore a sense of what the law should be about. Allen Mendenhall, the center’s executive director, writes about his aims in today’s Martin Center article.
Our great problem is that “reformers” are radically changing the nature of the United States and its legal system.
“Without well-educated lawyers and civil servants equipped to resist these reformers,” Mendenhall writes, “the transformation of America will result in the destruction of the freedoms enabled by our founding generation. We cannot allow this to happen. The Blackstone & Burke Center for Law & Liberty . . . therefore seeks to educate the legal community in such areas as natural law, natural rights, religious liberty, economic freedom, freedom of speech, freedom of association and assembly, and other liberties that find expression not just in the American but in the larger Western jurisprudential tradition.”
The Blackstone & Burke Center offers programs and assistance for law students, seminars for judges, and basic civic-education programs for communities. It hosted an event on the importance of Magna Carta. (That’s especially timely since the U.S. is sliding back toward the sort of royal prerogative that inspired the rebellion against King John in 1215.)
The Blackstone & Burke Center for Law & Liberty is a modest corrective in that it doesn’t seek to remake legal education or demolish longstanding practices and procedures in one fell swoop. Rather, it does what it can with the resources and tools available to strive to renew an America where freedom, opportunity, and civil society flourish.
Those resources, of course, come entirely from voluntary donations. I wish the greatest success to this worthy enterprise.