The James Wilson Foundation on Natural Rights and the American Founding

Festschrift Celebrates New JWI Co-Director Gerry Bradley in San Antonio

JWI Co-Directors Professor Hadley Arkes and Professor Gerry Bradley on stage at the event in Professor Bradley’s honor

JWI, along with gracious co-sponsor First Liberty Institute’s Center on Religion Culture and Democracy and host St. Mary’s University School of Law, held a conference in honor of our new Co-Director Prof. Gerry Bradley in San Antonio in March.

The conference, organized around a forthcoming festschrift, or collection of articles commemorating the intellectual gifts of Prof. Bradley, gathered former students, colleagues, and close friends for three days of close consideration of his life’s work on law, morality, and faith. Chiefly organized by Prof. Bradley’s former student, St. Mary’s law professor Adam MacLeod, the conference discussed Prof. Bradley’s writings on the Establishment Clause, criminal law, parental rights, constitutional law, and Natural Law. We are immensely grateful to have friends and partners who share our same desire to honor Prof. Bradley’s work and our broader mission to restore a sense of coherence to our moral and legal culture.

Professor Bradley and his former student, Professor Adam MacLeod

Though most of the conference sessions were limited to the scholars presenting in-progress drafts for the festschrift to be published in the Journal of Religion, Culture, and Democracy, three public lectures headlined the event. Prof. Robert George, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, opened the conference with warm stories of his close friendship with Prof. Bradley before delivering a lecture on the role of moral judgments in legal reasoning. The second public lecture featured Dr. Ryan Anderson who shared tales of teaching Prof. Bradley’s children how to play the drums before giving a talk on the importance of bearing public witness for truth, as Prof. Bradley has done his entire career, and building parallel institutions when our leading institutions do not to vindicate the truth. Finally, JWI Founder & Co-Director Hadley Arkes mixed wit and humor in providing a thorough, praising account of the challenge Prof. Bradley has made to practitioners of an originalism that does not provide a sufficient account of the bearer of rights, the human person. We are delighted to share recordings of those talks below.

This conference was just one of many events we will be featuring to showcase the breadth and depth of the scholarship of Prof. Bradley. More to come!

See more pictures here

Remarks from Hadley Arkes
Remarks from Robert George
Remarks from Ryan Anderson

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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