This Friday, January 26, the Journal of Catholic Legal Studies (a publication of St. John’s University School of Law) will host a symposium on the new casebook Christian Legal Thought: Materials and Cases (2017) by Patrick M. Brennan (Villanova) and William S. Brewbaker III (University of Alabama). The symposium will take place at the New York Athletic Club in Manhattan from 3 PM to 6 PM, with a reception at the Club following from 6 PM to 7 PM. It will feature as panelists both casebook authors, as well as Professors Randy Beck (University of Georgia), Angela C. Carmella (Seton Hall), Richard W. Garnett (Notre Dame), Michael P. Moreland (Villanova), and David A. Skeel, Jr. (University of Pennsylvania). The event is free and open to the public (please note the New York Athletic Club’s dress guidelines). More information, including whom to contact with questions, is available here. The January 19 deadline to RSVP has been extended to January 25.
Here are some important law and religion news stories from around the web:
- The Taliban has claimed responsibility for an attack on a Kabul hotel popular with foreigners; at this point, reports state that 18 were killed and another 10 injured.
- In an escalation, Turkey has attacked Kurdish troops supported by the U.S. who operate on the Syrian border and has said they will continue their advance deep into Syrian territory.
- A German woman of Moroccan descent who was captured in the Battle of Mosul will be executed for her involvement with the Islamic State, a court in Iraq ruled.
- The 10th Circuit has rejected arguments that it should adopt per se rules on the kinds of reasonable religious accommodations employers must make.
- President Trump became the first sitting President to address attendees of the annual March for Life. He called on the Senate to pass a law restricting abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, although Democrats in the Senate could filibuster the measure.
- The Department of Health and Human Services has announced that it will rescind guidance issued by the Obama Administration in 2016 that prevented states from taking certain actions against abortion providers. It has also announced that it will begin to enforce already-existing statutory conscience protections for workers involved in HHS-funded programs.
- The Supreme Court will hear Hawaii’s challenge to the third iteration of the Trump Administration’s travel ban, which the 9th Circuit held to be inconsistent with an existing law. The Court specifically asked that Hawaii’s Establishment Clause claim, which was not addressed by the 9th Circuit, be briefed and prepared for argument.
For today’s Scholarship Roundup post, I’m going to exercise the host’s privilege and post a new essay of my own, “Markets and Morals: The Limits of Doux Commerce.” The essay, which I wrote for a symposium on Nate Oman’s book, The Dignity of Commerce, will appear in a forthcoming issue of the William and Mary Business Law Review. The doux commerce thesis holds that the market tends to promote the liberal virtues of pluralism and religious tolerance. Following Burke, I argue that the thesis gets things backwards. This was a fun essay to write, as it allowed me to go back and re-read the actual Enlightenment thinkers, as well as Alan Bloom’s great essay on The Merchant of Venice, which play figures prominently in Nate’s book.
Here’s the abstract:
In this essay for a symposium on Professor Nathan Oman’s new book, “The Dignity of Commerce,” I do three things. First, I describe what I take to be the central message of the book, namely, that markets promote liberal values of tolerance, pluralism, and cooperation among rival, even hostile groups. Second, I show how Oman’s argument draws from a line of political and economic thought that dates to the Enlightenment, the so-called “doux commerce” thesis of thinkers like Montesquieu and Adam Smith. Finally, I discuss what I consider the most penetrating criticism of that thesis, Edmund Burke’s critique from tradition, which suggests we should be careful attributing too much to markets’ ability to promote liberal pluralism. According to Burke, it is the Western tradition, including religion, and not commerce, which creates the tolerant, pluralist marketplace of the doux commerce thesis. That Burke was correct is suggested by several historical examples and by contemporary events in the United States and across the globe. That is not to say that Oman is entirely wrong about the potential political benefits of the market, only that we should be careful not to overstate them.