Sunday, May 15, 2005
Evangelical Law Schools
Pat Robertson's Regent Law School in Virginia Beach, VA has the following on their home page:
Regent University School of Law is distinctive among law schools approved by the American Bar Association because of the integration of Christian Principles into our curriculum. It is this balance of professional legal training and the affirmation of biblical principles that enables our graduates to provide excellent legal counsel to their clients.While I'm sure this makes excellent press for these evangelical institutions, I'm not overly worried about the resulting lawyers. In time, as graduates become more integrated into the legal community they will find it difficult to overemphasize the "Christian" values in their practices. The "law" in the US is made up of case law and precedent. Unless a compelling argument can be made based on precedent and/or solid interpretation of current law, it is difficult to sway a judge or a jury to some theoretical Christian position . No matter how much some Evangelicals might wish US law was based on Biblical law, it's not true.
I know some in the radical right or the Dominionist movement like to make a great fuss about the few Bush judicial nominees who were not confirmed (12 out of 217.) They say the nominees are being persecuted for applying their religious beliefs to cases before them. Everything I've seen indicates that they were denied confirmation to a federal judgeship because they were bad judges, misinterpreting the law in cases before them. A virtue of precedent law is that it has an enormous inertia behind it. It is very difficult to alter without very major political legislation or legal decisions in the higher courts (i.e., Circuit and Supreme Courts.) This inertia is also the bane of anyone who wants to change longstanding inequities embedded in the system.
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