Holland’s Moroccan Immigrant Population

A disturbing story about the problems of Moroccan integration in Dutch society.  If the report is true that 40% of Moroccan immigrants between the ages of 12 and 24 have been arrested, fined, or charged with criminal offenses, that seems to me an extraordinarily serious situation, irrespective of the cause. Even worse, this does not seem to be a problem that will improve in the near future.  The story also references the work of Dutch journalist Fleur Jurgens, who is clearly a committed opponent of Holland’s multiculturalist policies, and who has written that “Moroccan parents are to blame for the antisocial behavior of their children by teaching them at a young age to hate the Dutch and abhor their society.”  According to the story, the Dutch government “now says it will abandon the long-standing model of multiculturalism that has encouraged Moroccans and other Muslim immigrants to create a parallel society within the Netherlands.”  Difficult times indeed for the Netherlands.

Bayart on the Secular and the Laic in France and Turkey

An interesting piece in Le Monde by Jean-François Bayart (Centre Nationale de la Récherche Scientifique) on the meanings of laïcité, more (as with the Pera book) as a piece of cultural anthropology than for the substance of the views expressed.  The author’s sense and description of the differences between French and Turkish laïcité are particularly worth reading in this respect.

Backus & Benedict, eds., “Calvin & His Influence: 1509-2009”

This is a fascinating new book of essays edited by Irena Backus and Philip Benedict (both of the University of Geneva), Calvin & His Influence: 1509-2009 (OUP 2011).  Calvinist and neo-Calvinist thought has been very important in the United States, and continues to inform some of the most interesting current legal scholarship (see, e.g., some of the work in sphere sovereignty by Paul Horwitz, deeply influenced by the neo-Calvinist Abraham Kuyper). 

Interested readers should also be sure not to miss John Witte’s excellent The Reformation of Rights: Law, Religion, and Human Rights in Early Modern Calvinism (CUP 2008).  A short but incisive summary of Witte’s views about the importance of Calvin for legal thought may be found in the Spring 2011 edition of the Journal of Christian Legal Thought. 

The publisher’s description of the Backus & Benedict book follows.

Who was John Calvin and why is he still read five hundred years after his birth? In this volume an international and interdisciplinary group of leading specialists explores both the reasons for Calvin’s enduring influence and the story of his reception across five centuries. The book’s initial essays lay bare features of his ideas, his work as a church reformer, and his manner of presenting himself in his books and letters that clarify his impact both in his lifetime and after his death. The second half of the volume examines how he was read, perceived, and appropriated in different times and places from the seventeenth century to the present.

If Calvin’s writings were widely cited by leading Reformed theologians in the generations immediately after his death, they receded from view in the eighteenth century. What was most often recalled was his role in the burning of Michael Servetus, for which he was widely criticized in those quarters of the Reformed tradition now attached to the idea of toleration or the ideal of a free church. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, his theology was recovered again in a variety of different contexts, while scholars drew his treatises and letters together into the monument to his life and work that was the Opera Calvini and undertook major studies of his life and times. Church movements claimed the label “Calvinist” for themselves with insistence and pride, whereas before the term had been derogatory. The movements that identified themselves as Calvinist nonetheless varied considerably in the manner in which they understood or misunderstood Calvin’s thought.

Calvin and His Influence, 1509-2009 should become the starting point for further reflection about Calvin’s impact in his own time and throughout the subsequent history of Calvinism, as well as, more broadly, about the relationship between leading figures of the Reformation and the traditions subsequently associated with their names.

Wardle on Abortion, Same-Sex Marriage, and Education

Another paper by Lynn Wardle (BYU), The Impacts on Education of Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage and Lessons From Abortion Jurisprudence.  The abstract follows.

One of the most contentious issues to arise in public policy debates concerning the legalization of same-sex marriage is whether legalizing same-sex marriage has a significant detrimental impact on education, particularly public education. However, legal scholarly and professional consideration of this issue is scarce and one sided. This article reviews the evidence that legalizing same-sex marriage has had a serious, profoundly controversial, and arguably detrimental impact on public education. It then explains why legalization of same-sex marriage must have some impact on educational curriculum. When the meaning of marriage changes it must be reflected in the curriculum that covers that subject. Next, the existing constitutional protections against detrimental impacts upon parents’ rights and family integrity interests of legalizing same-sex marriage are reviewed. The article also presents an analogy from abortion jurisprudence that may provide some protection for parental rights to control the education of their children and protect them against some detrimental effects on education from legalizing same-sex marriage. Finally, the article provides some recommendations for legal remedies and community action that may address these concerns.

Tillman on the Religious Test Clause

Seth Tillman (National University of Ireland, Maynooth) has posted Interpreting Precise Constitutional Text: The Argument for a “New” Interpretation of the Incompatibility Clause, the Removal and Disqualification Clause, and the Religious Test Clause — A Response to Professor Josh Chafetz’s “Impeachment and Assassination”, on SSRN. The abstract follows.

This article is a response to Professor Josh Chafetz’s Impeachment & Assassination, Minnesota Law Review, Vol. 95, p. 347, 2010. According to Professor Josh Chafetz, “impeachment maintains the link between removal and death, but attenuates it…. Impeachment is … a political death – a President who is impeached and convicted is deprived of his continued existence as a political officeholder. And, like death, impeachment and conviction may be permanent.” In this response, it is my purpose to show that Chafetz’s proposed metaphor does not work and, indeed, that inferences drawn from this metaphor lead Chafetz far afield from the Constitution’s original public meaning.

This paper is largely a response to Professor Chafetz’s Minnesota Law Read more