• “Recovering a Conservative State Legal Theory” — Jeffrey Bristol in Anchoring Truths and Law & Liberty

    by James Wilson Institute on January 28, 2022
    Responding to Holden Tanner and Jesse Merriam, Jeffrey Bristol argues that state courts limit themselves by adopting the same sort of originalism as federal courts–and that Erie, far from wrenching common law reasoning from the states, actually returned state courts to power.  Some excerpts: “It may seem surprising to say that originalism ignores state power. […]
  • “When ‘Matter’ Really Matters” — Jesse Merriam

    by James Wilson Institute on January 17, 2022
    Jesse Merriam argues that Engel and Schempp are here to stay because the “matter” of modern-day society has corrupted the “form” of American jurisprudence. Rather than attempting to overturn these cases, conservative legal scholars and judges should learn how to make Founding ideas work in the twenty-first century. Some excerpts: “Incorporation of the Establishment Clause…means […]
  • “States, Courts, and Common-Good Conservatism” — Holden Tanner

    by James Wilson Institute on January 3, 2022
    Holden Tanner continues his dialogue with Josh Hammer and Jesse Merriam, arguing that to reform American jurisprudence conservatives need a new synthesis of the natural law tradition and the Antifederalist vision of state power. Some excerpts: “Hammer is correct that abstract human reason alone cannot restore conservative jurisprudence—careful attention to our history and traditions as […]
  • “And All the Students Said, ‘Amen’” — Keisha Russell

    by James Wilson Institute on December 17, 2021
    Keisha Toni Russell, Counsel at First Liberty Institute, argues that young Americans learn to respect religious liberty–and individual rights more generally–when religion flourishes in public. Some excerpts: “In the early 1960s, the Supreme Court reviewed two cases involving voluntary school prayer and Bible reading. The cases, Engel v. Vitale (1962) and Abington Township School District v. Schempp (1963), contained […]
  • ‘Dobbs’ and the Conservative Legal Movement – Gerald V. Bradley in National Catholic Register

    by James Wilson Institute on December 7, 2021
    James Wilson Institute’s Senior Scholar, Gerry Bradley, writes in the National Catholic Register about Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization and how if Roe is overturned, it would not necessarily mean the end of abortion or even the beginning of the end of it.  Some excerpts from the piece: “Although the conservative legal movement has […]
  • “A Common Call to Prayer” — Gunnar Gundersen

    by James Wilson Institute on December 6, 2021
    Continuing our symposium on school prayer, JWI Affiliated Scholar Gunnar Gundersen argues that the Establishment Clause gives federal judges no right to restrict religious activity in American public education. By forbidding school prayer, judges have encouraged a culture of relativism. Some excerpts: “Until recently, community prayer was not only non-controversial, but considered a necessary element […]
  • Takeaways from Oral Arguments in Dobbs- Hadley Arkes in First Things

    by James Wilson Institute on December 2, 2021
    After the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the Dobbs v Jackson Woman’s Health Organization, JWI Founder and Director Hadley Arkes proffered his thoughts on what happened and what it means for pro-lifers. Some excerpts from the piece: “One side, we might say, was “morally challenged” or imbecilic, and the other side wasn’t sure just […]
  • “Common Good and Common Belief in the Common Law” — Timon Cline

    by Chloe Edwards on November 30, 2021
    Analyzing past Supreme Court decisions on religion and public health, Timon Cline argues that the best judges consider public opinion as they attempt to rule in favor of the common good. Some excerpts: “The simple conclusion to be drawn from Locke, Viemeister, and Cole is that cognizance of the common good is a matter of prudential governance and that […]
  • “Corporations, Churches, Persons, and the Natural Law” — Robert Miller

    by James Wilson Institute on November 23, 2021
    Responding to Professor MacLeod, Robert Miller argues that the government should respect associations not because these associations themselves constitute “persons” with natural rights, but because the people involved have rights. Some excerpts: “Professor McLeod says that the question before us is ‘whether churches and other associations of people have an existence of their own, prior to their […]
  • “Abortion as Anti-Law” – Hadley Arkes in National Review

    by James Wilson Institute on November 20, 2021
    In anticipation of the Dobbs v Jackson Woman’s Health Organization oral argument, JWI Founder and Director, Hadley Arkes opines on the real possibility the Supreme Court issues an opinion reshaping its jurisprudence on abortion in the print edition of National Review. Arkes, joined by Robert George, Ramesh Ponnuru, Michael Brendan Dougherty, and Carter Snead, contributed […]