December 5, 2005
Archived Webcast Available for Notre Dame Law's Symposium on Religion and Judiciary
I don't know how I missed this but I did. The Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics, & Public Policy hosted a symposium Nov. 9th titled “The Religious Commitments of Judicial Nominees: Appropriate Questioning and Acceptable Answers.” The symposium is available for viewing on the Web at: broadband | modem
Panelists for the presentations included:
Judge D’Army Bailey, a two-term judge on the Tennessee Circuit Court, 30th Judicial District. Bailey disagreed with the perspective that would allow judges to recuse themselves from cases because of conflicts between the law and the judge’s religious commitments. He stressed that judges take an oath to uphold the law, and that this oath should not be overridden or informed by religious commitments.
Matthew Franck, professor and chair of the Political Science Department at Radford University, who offered a brief survey of the Supreme Court’s historical religious breakdown and stressed that the recent focus on religion in the confirmation process is a new phenomena. He observed that this new phenomena is likely driven by concern over the growing number of adherents to one religion (Catholicism) on the court, as well as by how religious commitment will affect the justices’ decisions in cases on abortion rights, gay marriage, and the right to die, which are at the center of the “culture wars.” Dr. Franck also noted that inquiries into religious commitments are used as an indirect form of questioning on judicial philosophy by those who feel uncomfortable directly questioning judicial philosophy, or by those who are stonewalled by the nominees on direct questions.
Francis Beckwith is the associate professor of church-state studies, associate editor of the Journal of Church & State, and associate director of the J. M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies at Baylor University. Beckwith argued that, unlike scientific, historical, mathematical, or other sources of knowledge, religion has been systematically and intentionally marginalized (and personalized) so that it is no longer acceptable as a respectable source of information for the legal opinions of judges.
Source: Press Release
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