Should Richard III Receive a Catholic Burial?

You thought there couldn’t be a law and religion angle to today’s news–fascinating for us history nerds–that archaeologists have discovered the mortal remains of Richard III beneath a parking lot in Leicester? Think again. Plans are underway to re-inter the bones in the city’s Anglican Cathedral. Not so fast, say some: the hunchback king wasn’t a Protestant, but a Catholic, and he requires a Catholic burial. In fact, as Shakespeare fans know, Richard died at Bosworth Field (“A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!”), defending his throne from Henry Tudor. Henry went on to reign as Henry VII;  his son, Henry VIII, broke with Rome. As The Tablet’s blog argued this morning, “Had Richard prevailed at the Battle of Bosworth Field, there would have been no Henry VII, therefore no Henry VIII and no Reformation. England today might still be a Catholic country.” Think of it: no Reformation, no Established Church, no Archbishop Laud, no Puritans, no Great Migration — no Massachusetts! — and no Establishment Clause. Surely there’s a law review article in there somewhere.

Leicester Cathedral seems to know it’s facing a sensitive situation. A Catholic priest is keeping watch over Richard’s remains (as is an Anglican, I believe), and the cathedral is planning a “multifaith” burial ceremony. Personally, I’m not sure why English Catholics are so keen to claim Richard, anyway. They must be forgetting the nephews in the Tower.

Richard Epstein to Lecture on Natural Law (March 21)

I’ve always thought of natural law and law and economics as opposing schools of thought. Like Rick in Casablanca, I must have been misinformed. On March 21, law and economics scholar Richard Epstein will deliver the Spring 2013 Natural Law Colloquium Lecture at Fordham. Details are here.

Stabile on NLRB Jurisdiction over Religious Universities

Susan J. Stabile (U. of St. Thomas School of Law) has posted Blame It on Catholic Bishop: The Question of NLRB Jurisdiction over Religious Colleges and Universities.  The abstract follows.

My focus in this Article is on how the National Labor Relations Board (the NLRB or the Board) determines whether to exercise jurisdiction over religious colleges and universities, subjecting them to the collective bargaining requirements of the National Labor Relations Act (the NLRA). The NLRB’s current approach is to examine whether the educational institution has a “substantial religious character,” in the absence of which it will exercise jurisdiction. As evidenced by two recent decisions by NLRB regional directors in cases involving efforts by adjunct faculty to form unions—one involving Saint Xavier College and one involving Manhattan College and both of which are currently on appeal to the full Board—the substantial religious character test is an unnecessarily intrusive one that substitutes the government’s views about what it means to be religious for the views of the institution and the religious community with which it is affiliated.

Section II of this Article gives a brief history of the NLRB’s approach to the exercise of jurisdiction over religious colleges and universities. Section III addresses the weakness of the NLRB’s substantial religious character test. Section IV addresses the central question of whether and under what circumstances the exercise of jurisdiction by NLRB over religious colleges and universities would create a risk of substantial entanglement. Finally, drawing from the conclusions of Section IV, Section V lays out some considerations to guide the NLRB in determining when it should exercise jurisdiction when employees of religious colleges and universities seek to unionize. Because both the Supreme Court guidance on this issue and the recent NLRB decisions have involved Catholic colleges and universities, they are the primary focus of this analysis. The analysis and conclusions, however, are intended to guide the NLRB’s approach to the exercise of jurisdiction over other religious colleges and universities as well.

Dilley & Palpant (Eds.), “Human Dignity in Bioethics”

9780415659314Last December, Routledge published Human Dignity in Bioethics: From Worldviews to the Public Square (2012) edited by Stephen Dilley (St. Edward’s U.), and Nathan J. Palpant (U. of Washington). The publisher’s description follows.

Human Dignity in Bioethics brings together a collection of essays that rigorously examine the concept of human dignity from its metaphysical foundations to its polemical deployment in bioethical controversies. The volume falls into three parts, beginning with meta-level perspectives and moving to concrete applications.

Part 1 analyzes human dignity through a worldview lens, exploring the source and meaning of human dignity from naturalist, postmodernist, Protestant, and Catholic vantages, respectively, letting each side explain and defend its own conception. Part 2 moves from metaphysical moorings to key areas of macro-level influence: international politics, American law, and biological science. These chapters examine the legitimacy of the concept of dignity in documents by international political bodies, the role of dignity in American jurisprudence, and the implications—and challenges—for dignity posed by Darwinism. Part 3 shifts from macro-level topics to concrete applications by examining the rhetoric of human dignity in specific controversies: embryonic stem cell research, abortion, human-animal chimeras, euthanasia and palliative care, psychotropic drugs, and assisted reproductive technologies. Each chapter analyzes the rhetorical use of ‘human dignity’ by opposing camps, assessing the utility of the concept and whether a different concept or approach can be a more productive means of framing or guiding the debate.