Legal Spirits 036: Looking Back and Ahead at Law and Religion Cases at the Supreme Court

In this episode, we look at the biggest law and religion case at the Supreme Court last term, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, and the two most significant such cases on the Court’s docket for the new term so far. The first, Carson v. Makin, looks like it could be a major case on the issue of whether the state may distinguish between “status” and “use” in deciding whether to exclude a religious school from its tuition aid programs. The second, Ramirez v. Collier, concerns a RLUIPA challenge to a Texas restriction on what ministers and clergy may do in capital cases in ministering inside the execution chamber. Listen in!

Legal Spirits Episode 035: With Gerald Russello of the University Bookman

In this episode, we talk with Gerald Russello of the University Bookman about his decades-long career editing the influential conservative review of books. Gerald talks about his plans for the Bookman, the varieties of American conservatism, his own intellectual journey and embrace of traditionalism, and the future of the American right. It’s a fascinating discussion. Listen in!

Legal Spirits Episode 034: An Interview with Sohrab Ahmari

In this episode, author Sohrab Ahmari joins us to talk about his just-released book, “The Unbroken Thread: Discovering the Wisdom of Tradition in an Age of Chaos.” We discuss Sohrab’s inspiration for the book, the benefits of received wisdom, and the paradox of following a tradition in 21st-century America. Listen in!

Legal Spirits Episode 033: Augustine and Our Common Loves

In this episode, we discuss Augustine’s City of God and its meaning for American politics today. What does Augustine’s famous metaphor of the two cities–the City of God and the City of Man–suggest about Christians’ place in 21st Century America? And what about his definition of a people as a group united by common loves? Is it correct, as President Biden argued in his inaugural address, that Americans fit this definition of a people? What common loves unite Americans today? Listen in!

Legal Spirits Episode 032: The New Technocracy

In this episode, we interview Italian political scientist Lorenzo Castellani about his new book, “The Gear of Power” (L’Ingranaggio del Potere), which explores the rise of the “technocacy”–a new aristocracy, based on technical expertise, that increasingly dominates politics in the West. We discuss how claims of neutral expertise can mask underlying (and contested) moral commitments, and how the rise of the technocracy has provoked a populist backlash in Europe and America, including with respect to public-health restrictions on worship during the Covid pandemic. Listen in!

Legal Spirits Episode 031: The Biden Inauguration, Civil Religion & the Religious Left

In this podcast, Center Co-Directors Marc DeGirolami and Mark Movsesian reflect on the religious imagery in last month’s inauguration and how it fits within the American tradition of civil religion. They also ask whether the new administration reflects the rise of the Religious Left: a political coalition of progressive believers, including progressive Catholics like President Biden himself. How stable is that coalition? Listen in!

Legal Spirits Episode 030: Supreme Court Blocks NY’s Covid Restrictions on Churches

By a vote of 5-4, the Supreme Court recently granted a preliminary injunction against New York’s restrictions on church gatherings during the continuing Covid epidemic. In this episode, we discuss the case, Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo, and explore its implications for similar cases pending at the Court. We also ask why these cases have provoked such a reaction in the wider public (hint: it’s politics and the culture wars). Listen in!

Legal Spirits Episode 029: “What It Means to Be Human”–a Discussion with Professor Carter Snead

What is the anthropology–the account of human nature and human flourishing–that grounds the American law of bioethics? Is it an appealing one, or are there problems with it? In our latest podcast with Professor O. Carter Snead of the University of Notre Dame Law School, we probe these and related questions in his recently released book, What It Means to Be Human: The Case for the Body in Public Bioethics (Harvard University Press). Professor Snead discussed several chapters with us and our students in our Colloquium in Law and Religion. Listen in as we range over some of the deep questions covered by this important new book!

Legal Spirits Episode 028: Oral Argument in Fulton v. Philadelphia

Last Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, involving a dispute between Catholic Social Services of Philadelphia, a foster-care placement agency, and the City of Philadelphia with respect to the former’s request for a religious accommodation from a local nondiscrimination provision in carrying out foster care placement. In this podcast, Mark and I discuss the major themes that emerged in the argument and offer a few predictions about the result and reasoning the Court might adopt. Listen in!

Legal Spirits Episode 027: Contemporary America and Late Imperial Rome

What are the primary sources of American notions of toleration: the Enlightenment or early Christianity? And why do so many see cultural parallels between America today and late imperial Rome? In our latest podcast, we chat with Professor Jed Atkins, a professor of classics at Duke University about these and other questions related to the nature and value of religious toleration, including its relationship to the virtue of justice. Professor Atkins’s presented a paper on Tertullian (as well as Augustine, St. Paul, and others) for our Colloquium in Law and Religion. Listen in as we broaden the lens to discuss these more general themes of cultural and legal significance today.