Yet Another Law School with a Mission

There is apparently a new Christian law school coming on line – this one affiliated with Louisiana College. It will be apparently be housed in a vacant federal courthouse in Shreveport.  The school apparently will have a “biblical worldview”  and “train future lawyers to defend conservative Christian values in courtrooms and politics.”

Writing at the Mirror of Justice, Rob Vischer wishes that the new school would train Christian lawyers to “advocate for culturally transformative and difficult-to-pin-down-on-the-American-political-spectrum Christian values.”

At the risk of causing draws to drop, this seems right to me. I don’t think that it is meaningless to adopt a Christian approach to law and policy. As I suggest in a recent symposium piece in the University of St. Thomas Law Journal, it will require that certain questions be asked and that certain assumptions be either acknowledged or ruled out. It will not imply that one be a Democrat or Republican or a liberal or conservative.

Responding to Rob’s comments, Matt Bowman, a bright young lawyer with the Alliance Defense Fund specializing in life issues, argues that a “conservative biblical view” implies certain positions on things like abortion and family, but is not synonymous with conservatism writ large. I trust that the new Judge Paul Pressler School of Law at Louisiana College will keep this observations in mind.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Gordon Hylton

    The idea of a law school training lawyers from a distinct religious perspective is really quite new. At least at the level of ABA accredited law schools, the idea really began with the Oral Roberts Law School (now Regent) in the 1970’s. But the appearance of Ave Marie and Liberty and now Louisiana College suggests that this may be part of the future landscape of legal education.

    Of course American law schools before the second World War frequently endorsed a very general form of Christianity. John Barbee Minor, who taught at the University of Virginia from 1845-1895, conducted a weekly Sunday School class focusing on the Bible and many of his students attended, but his religious views did not appear to affect the way the law school presented its curriculum.

    The same can be said for most Roman Catholic law schools. There was very little about Catholic legal education that was distinctively Catholic. When Catholic University Law School attempted to establish a distinctive form of Catholic legal education in the 1930’s, it was working with a completely blank slate and for all practical purposes, the effort failed.

    At Marquette, the only noticeable feature that distinguished its curriculum from that of a secular law school was a natural law based jurisprudence course that was required intermittently during the school’s early history. (It has now been decades since such a course was required.)

    The recent movement at St. Thomas, Notre Dame, and elsewhere to make Catholic legal education more “Catholic” is not an effort to re-establish something that once existed. Training lawyers, even at religiously affiliated law school, was historically a very secular task.

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