Panel Discussion on "Natural Law in Court"

May 18, 2017
Loyola University Chicago School of Law, Power Rogers & Smith Ceremonial Courtroom (10th Floor)
25 E Pearson St.
Chicago, IL 60611
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R. H. HelmholzUniversity of Chicago

Michael MorelandVillanova University

Jeffrey PojanowskiUniversity of Notre Dame

Adrian VermeuleHarvard University


$25 Registration / Free for Current Students and Faculty / 1 CLE CREDIT for an additional fee of $10

This program has been approved by the Illinois MCLE Board for 1 hour of General CLE credit. Cosponsored by the Catholic Lawyers Guild of Chicago and the Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

Join us for a reception and panel discussion of the recent book by R. H. Helmholz, Natural Law in Court: A History of Legal Theory in Practice (Harvard University Press, 2015). Copies of the book will be available for purchase.

Until very recently, lawyers in the Western tradition studied natural law as a part of their training, and the task of the judicial system was to put its tenets into concrete form, building an edifice of positive law on natural law’s foundations. Although much has been written about natural law in theory, surprisingly little has been said about how it has shaped legal practice. Natural Law in Court asks how lawyers and judges made and interpreted natural law arguments in England, Europe, and the United States, from the beginning of the sixteenth century to the American Civil War.


5:15PM   Registration and Reception

6:15PM   Program

7:30PM   Close

R. H. Helmholz is Ruth Wyatt Rosenson Distinguished Service Professor of Law at the University of Chicago, where he has taught since 1981. A graduate of Harvard Law School, he also received an A.B. in French literature from Princeton University and a PhD in medieval history from the University of California at Berkeley. His teaching interests have been centered in the law of property and in various aspects of natural resources law. His research interests have been concentrated in legal history. In the latter, his principal contribution has been to show the relevance of the Roman and canon laws to the development of the common law. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Fellow of the Medieval Academy of America, a Member of the American Law Institute, and a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy. Helmolz's many books include The History of the Canon Law and Ecclesiastical Jurisdiction, 597-1649; Marriage Litigation in Medieval England; The Spirit of Classical Canon Law; and, most recently, Natural Law in Court.


Michael Moreland is Professor of Law at Villanova University and Mary Ann Remick Senior Visiting Fellow at the Center for Ethics and Culture and Concurrent Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame. He holds a BA in philosophy from Notre Dame, an MA and PhD in Theological Ethics from Boston College, and a JD from the University of Michigan. He teaches and writes in the areas of torts, bioethics, and law and religion. Professor Moreland served as the project leader for The Libertas Project, a program from 2013 to 2015 at Villanova sponsored by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation exploring religious and economic freedom in American public life, and served as Associate Director for Domestic Policy at the White House under President George W. Bush.

Jeffrey Pojanowski is Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame. He holds an A.B. in Public Policy with highest honors from Princeton University and graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2004, where he was Articles Co-Chair for the Harvard Law Review. After law school, he served as a law clerk to then-Judge John Roberts on the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and then to Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court of the United States. Professor Pojanowski teaches and writes in the areas of administrative law, jurisprudence, legal interpretation, and torts. In 2013, he was named Distinguished Professor of the Year. He has published work in the Georgetown Law Journal, Northwestern University Law Review, Texas Law Review, UCLA Law Review, and the Virginia Law Review, among other publications.

Adrian Vermeule is the Ralph S. Tyler, Jr. Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard University. He was previously the Bernard D. Meltzer Professor of Law at the University of Chicago. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2012. His research focuses on administrative law, the administrative state, the design of institutions, and constitutional theory. Having grown up in Cambridge and attended Harvard College '90 and Harvard Law School '93, Vermeule lives in Cambridge still. Professor Vermeule is author or co-author of nine books, most recently Law's Abnegation: From Law's Empire to the Administrative State (2016), The Constitution of Risk (2014) and The System of the Constitution (2012).