News

September 29, 2022

On September 27, 2022, the Project on Constitutional Originalism and the Catholic Intellectual Tradition (CIT) hosted a special inaugural lecture by The Honorable Samuel A. Alito, Jr., Associate Justice, Supreme Court of the United States. Justice Alito was named the Honorary Chair of the Advisory Council of CIT last April.

August 31, 2022

The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law is pleased to announce the donation of $4 million to establish a new endowed faculty chair: the Knights of Columbus Professor of Law and the Catholic Tradition. The new chair will be filled by Prof. Kevin C. Walsh, who has also joined the law school as the co-director of the Project on Constitutional Originalism and the Catholic Intellectual Tradition (CIT). Prof. Walsh will be formally installed in the new chair during a ceremony on November 8, 2022.

Catholic Law’s Project on Constitutional Originalism and the Catholic Intellectual Tradition (CIT) announced on August 19, 2022, its lineup of speakers for the fall 2022 semester. This will be the first semester of CIT’s speakers program, a core component of CIT. As CIT has previously announced, its inaugural lecture will be delivered by Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., in September 2022. 

Catholic Law’s Project on Constitutional Originalism and the Catholic Intellectual Tradition (CIT) announced on July 27, 2022, the inaugural class of its new Aquinas Fellowship. The Aquinas Fellowship is a program for young lawyers in the D.C. area that examines the relationship between the Catholic intellectual tradition and American constitutionalism. The program will consist of eight monthly seminar-like discussions conducted by leading scholars in the fields of theology, philosophy, and constitutional law.

July 6, 2022

The Supreme Court’s 2021-22 term is almost over. There were important cases involving religious liberty (Kennedy v. Bremerton School District), vaccine mandates (NFIB v. OSHA), immigration (Biden v. Texas), the Second Amendment (New York Rifle v. Bruen), administrative law (West Virginia v. EPA), abortion (Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization), and much more. CIT Co-Director Joel Alicea joins other scholars to break down what you need to know from the landmark cases, Breyer’s retirement, Ketanji Brown Jackson’s confirmation, and even the Dobbs leak.

July 1, 2022

CIT Fellow Chad Squitieri joins Professor Jenn Mascott to discuss the Supreme Court’s ruling in West Virginia v. EPA and what it means for the administrative state moving forward.

By J. Joel Alicea

June 24, 2022

Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey are no more. Like Plessy v. Ferguson before them, Roe and Casey were constitutionally and morally indefensible from the day they were decided, yet they endured for generations, becoming the foundation of a mass political movement that did all it could to prevent their overruling. Thus, like the overruling of Plessy, the overruling of Roe and Casey was by no means inevitable; it was the result of a half-century of disciplined, persistent, and prudent political, legal, and religious effort. The victory in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization was earned by the coalition of teachers and students, priests and parishioners, lawyers and politicians, who, through efforts as humble as parish potlucks and as prominent as federal litigation, brought about the most important legal and human rights achievement in America since Brown v. Board of Education.

By J. Joel Alicea

May 3, 2022

Constitutional theorists on the right are engaged in a debate about the moral foundations of originalism, the theory that government officials, including judges, are bound by the original meaning of the Constitution. I recently offered a defense of originalism’s moral authority grounded in the natural-law tradition. Harvard law professor Adrian Vermeule and his sometime co-author, University of Liverpool law professor Conor Casey, recently responded to my draft article, as did another supporter of Vermeule’s theory, lawyer and blogger Pat Smith. In the interest of furthering this important discussion about the moral foundations of originalism, I respectfully offer this reply.

By J. Joel Alicea

April 20, 2022

We are living in a time of confusion about, and division over, the nature and future of American constitutionalism. Much of this tumult is the result of appointments to the Supreme Court. Legal conservatives have succeeded in appointing a majority of justices committed to originalism, which holds that government officials, including federal judges, are bound by the meaning that constitutional provisions had when they were enacted. Since originalism started gaining ground in law and politics in the 1980s, scholars and activists on the left have argued that this approach to judging perpetuates injustices rooted in the Founding. More recently, some Catholic scholars and activists on the right have also attacked originalism, arguing that it has failed to halt progressive legal victories on contested social and political questions and lacks the moral principles to do so. Despite the significant differences among these critics of originalism, they agree on at least one thing: Originalism is a morally empty theory that cannot justify the results it produces in important and controversial cases.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 6, 2022

Catholic University of America’s law school, the Columbus School of Law, has launched its newly established Project on Constitutional Originalism and the Catholic Intellectual Tradition (CIT), with programming to begin this fall.

April 12, 2022

CIT co-director Joel Alicea joins Sarah Isgur and David French to discuss his new law review article, “The Moral Authority of Original Meaning.”