The James Wilson Foundation on Natural Rights and the American Founding

2019 – A Year in Review

by Daniel Osborne on November 25, 2019

We would like to take a minute to look back over the accomplishments and highlights from this past year. We are grateful for all of our community who have helped make these events possible. If you would like to support JWI with a tax-deductible gift during its End of Year Matching Campaign, we invite you to do so here.

Prof. Arkes with the 2019 James Wilson Fellows and Faculty

6th Annual James Wilson Fellowship

In partnership with the Wheatley Institution of Brigham Young University, Hadley  Arkes, David Forte, Michael Uhlmann, Justin Dyer, Gunnar Gundersen, Daniel Mark, and Derek Webb led a series of seminars in Washington D.C. on Natural Law and its bearing on our jurisprudence. For our sixth class of fellows, we welcomed 15 accomplished young lawyers to the ranks of our alumni, with 87 alumni total at present.

Read more details about the James Wilson Fellowship here.

Prof. John Baker participating in our 16th Senior Seminar

Senior Seminars XVI & XVII

As part of our bi-annual  Senior Seminar series in Washington D.C., Professor Arkes brought together some stars of the federal bench, gifted professors in law and philosophy, and several accomplished lawyers, including Professor John Baker (Pictured), to take part in our 16th and 17th James Wilson Senior Seminars. Both the spring and fall seminar boasted record attendance numbers in 2019 as the seminar has continued to grow over the years.

Read more about Senior Seminar XVI here.

Read more about Senior Seminar XVII here.

Prof. Daniel Mark with attendees of the regional seminar at Columbia Law School

Regional Seminars: Columbia and University of Texas Law School

We were pleased to take Prof. Arkes’s introductory seminars to two more leading law schools this year: Columbia and the University of Texas. In these weekend programs, we discuss the connection between Natural Law and our Jurisprudence in light of some classic cases in our law. Condensing some of the core topics from the summer fellowship into a single day, these programs are one of the most effective ways in which we bring JWI’s mission to a wider audience.

See more about our regional seminar at Columbia here.

See more about our regional seminar at the University of Texas here.

Prof. Arkes with Alumni at the 2019 Alumni Breakfast

Alumni Events: Day at the Court and Reunion Breakfast

JWI has worked to encourage the Fellowship Alumni to remain engaged in the community. We hosted a visit to the Supreme Court over the summer, during which Alumni attended the reading of opinions from the court and then a reception at the Heritage Foundation. Further, we gathered alumni again for a breakfast in DC to hear updates from Prof. Arkes about the Institute, including the announcement of a new Alumni Conference.

Prof. Daniel Mahoney speaking at the Kirby Center

“The New Religion of Humanity: Limitless Relativism and No Moral Ground for Political Life” with Prof. Daniel Mahoney

At Hillsdale College’s Kirby Center in Washington D.C., we held a program, “The New Religion of Humanity,” that featured Prof. Daniel Mahoney of Assumption College. Prof. Mahoney spoke about how relativism removes the grounds for moral arguments. He argued that moral relativism and honor for the state have formed into a new quasi-religious structure for the political left.

Read more about the lecture and watch the recording here.

JWI Academic Conferences: The Moral Grounds of Property Rights; Rethinking the Foundation of the Administrative State

JWI instituted a new program of academic conferences this year. During the first conference, Prof. Robert Miller and Prof. Eric Claeys joined Prof. Arkes to lead the discussion. The second focused on the work of Dean Ronald Cass. Each conference was an opportunity for young scholars to mix and learn from masters in their craft.

See more about our conference on the Moral Grounds of Property Rights here.

See more about our conference on the Administrative State here.

Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino at the Heritage Foundation

“Justice on Trial” with Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino

It was our pleasure to co-sponsor a panel discussion at the Heritage Foundation with Mollie Hemingway and Carrie Severino about their bestselling book, “Justice on Trial.” The book reveals what really happened during the confirmation process of Justice Kavanaugh.

Read more about the event, watch a video, and listen to an exclusive podcast with the authors here.

Prof. William Jacobson with Prof. Arkes in the Kirby Center

“Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College: Campus Identity Politics on Trial” With Prof. William Jacobson

JWI was happy to host Prof. William Jacobson of Cornell University Law School and Legal Insurrection to present on the case of Gibson’s Bakery. Prof. Jacobson discussed the issues of campus identity politics and how they impacted a local family bakery. He further presented on what this case may mean in the coming years as the courts continue to determine these issues.

Watch the video and see more about the event here.

Ed Whelan responding to questions about Antonin Scalia’s jurisprudence

“Antonin Scalia and James Wilson: On Faith, On Justice, On Judging” With Prof. Mark Hall and Ed Whelan

JWI hosted Prof. Mark Hall of George Fox University and Edward Whelan of EPPC at the beautiful DACOR Bacon House for an evening discussion about their latest books on the heritage of American jurisprudence in faith.

See more about the event and watch the video here.

Tags: ,

Law and liberty cannot rationally become the objects of our love, unless they first become the objects of our knowledge.
— James Wilson, Lectures on Law, 1790