Dr. Ryan Anderson, William E. Simon Fellow at the Heritage Foundation, delivers his talk entitled “Marriage Equality and Marriage Reality at the Supreme Court: What You Need to Know About Marriage and the State.” Dr. Anderson’s talk was part of the Distinguished Speakers Series at Franciscan University of Steubenville.
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Robert A. Destro, Director of the Interdisciplinary Program in Law and Religion at the Columbus School of Law, Catholic University of America, delivers his talk entitled “Rethinking the ‘Non-Establishment’ Principle: Text, Structure, and the Politics of Power”. Professor Destro’s talk was part of the Truth, Conscience, and Religious Freedom Conference, sponsored by the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville.
Serious Catholics and political conservatives since the 1950s have strongly criticized the Supreme Court for making public policy and acting as a kind of “super-legislature” to further a leftist socio-political agenda, instead of interpreting the law and judging. We have seen such judicial lawmaking on pornography, abortion, legislative reapportionment, sodomy laws, and the list could go on. While this has certainly been a valid and much-deserved ongoing criticism of the Court, cases in each of its last three terms indicate a new, contrary problem: over-deference to the political branches on both the federal and state levels.
In 2011, the Court decided the companion cases of Camreta v. Greene and Alford v. Greene, which concerned whether a child protective system (CPS) operative and a law enforcement official who backed him up could be sued under federal civil rights laws for an aggressive interrogation of a nine-year-old girl—which under international norms possibly constituted psychological torture—to get her to say that her father abused her. Along with many other organizations, the Society of Catholic Social Scientists filed an amicus curiae brief supporting the girl’s claim (I drafted the brief), mostly because we wanted to focus the Court’s attention—as we tried to do over a decade before in the important parental rights case of Troxel v. Granville—on the CPS’s systemic misconduct that in one article I called “a grave threat to the family.”
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