Friday, June 4, 2021

The Essential Works of Thomas More

Steve Donoghue reviewed The Essential Works of Thomas More, edited by Gerard B. Wegemer and Stephen W. Smith*, at Open Letters Review.

"There’s no denying this enormous volume is worth that price tag, even though it can be neither bought nor read casually. It’s beautifully designed, with the frontispiece showing Pablo Eduardo’s gorgeous sculpture portrait of More from the Boston College Law School (and a close-up of Holbein’s famous portrait of an unshaven, worried-looking man), a barrage of textual footnotes on every page, and a binding strong enough for [the] thing’s immense weight."
*Yale University Press, 2020, $100.

Revisiting 'Smith':

'Stare Decisis and Free Exercise Doctrine', by Branton J. Nestor, at the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy.

"'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ... .
—U.S. Const. amend. I'
The Supreme Court held in Employment Division v. Smith that the Free Exercise Clause does not generally protect religiously motivated conduct from neutral laws of general applicability. That holding, although good law, remains controversial, with many scholars and judges now asking whether, if Smith was wrong, it should be overturned. Wading into this debate, this Article suggests that one common stare decisis consideration—a precedent’s consistency with related decisions—likely cuts against retaining Smith, at least to the extent that Smith’s holding and rationale are compared to the Supreme Court’s broader approach to the Religion Clauses. This Article first argues that Smith broke from prior Free Exercise Clause precedent and that, although Smith remains good law, it is in tension with many strains of Free Exercise Clause precedent today. This Article next argues that Smith is in tension with the ascendant focus on text, history, and tradition that has become increasingly central to contemporary Establishment Clause doctrine. While this Article does not fully resolve Smith’s stare decisis fate, it suggests one important weakness confronting any attempt to defend Smith on stare decisis grounds—with that weakness, and the doctrinal tensions it reveals, pointing the way toward how to reform contemporary Free Exercise Clause doctrine to better account for the text, history, and tradition of the Religion Clauses."

Friday, May 7, 2021

What is Caesar’s, What is God’s:

'Fundamental Public Policy for Churches'

Lloyd Hitoshi Mayer and Zachary B. Pohlman at the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy.

"Bob Jones University v. United States is a highly debated Supreme Court decision, both regarding whether it was correct and what exactly it stands for, and a rarely applied one. Its recognition of a “fundamental public policy doctrine” that could cause an otherwise tax-exempt organization to lose its favorable federal tax status remains highly controversial, although the Court has shown no inclination to revisit the case, and Congress has shown no desire to change the underlying statutes to alter the case’s result. That lack of action may be in part because the IRS applies the decision in relatively rare and narrow circumstances. The mention of the decision during oral argument in Obergefell v. Hodges raised the specter of more vigorous and broader application of the doctrine, however. It renewed debate about what public policies other than avoiding racial discrimination in education might qualify as fundamental and also whether and to what extent the doctrine should apply to churches, as opposed to the religious schools involved in the original case. The IRS has taken the position that churches are no different than any other taxexempt organizations in this context, although it has only denied or revoked the tax-exempt status of a handful of churches based on this doctrine."

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

2021 Annual Meeting February 22nd

The St. Thomas More Lawyers Society of Wisconsin held its annual meeting virtually due to the current pandemic.


If you have not already paid your dues, 
or wish to make a contribution, send the following:

Name: ________________________
Email: _______________________

2021 membership dues ($30): ....................... $_____

Become a Chancellor Member, additional $250: ......$______     
(lifetime member of the Society)

Contribution to the Bishop Perry Scholarship Fund: $______

Total Enclosed: ...................................$______

Please make checks payable to St. Thomas More Lawyers Society and send to:
Brian Tokarz, Treasurer
c/o Meissner Tierney, 111 Kilbourn Avenue, 19th Floor, Milwaukee, WI 53202

Officers, Governors, Chaplain

President: Charlie Stevens
President-Elect: John Remington
Secretary: Paul Dedinsky
Treasurer: Brian Tokarz
Past President: John Herbers

Board of Governors:

Standing for Election
Mark Andres
Paul Dedinsky
Anthony LoCoco

Continuing Governors
Joseph Bukowksi
Jane Carrig
Teddy Chadwick
Matt Fricker
Shawn Govern
Ann Maher
David Strifling

Very Reverend Paul B. R. Hartmann, M. Div., J.C.L.
Fr. Brad Krawczyk

Treasurer's Report

2019 Ending Checking Account Balance 7,321.29
BOG Meetings                            35.00
First Fridays                           24.00
Bishop Perry Scholarship Donations     415.00
Annual Meeting                        -155.41
Membership Dues                        180.00
Chancellor Membership Payment          250.00
Red Mass                              -645.00

12/31/20 Checking Account Balance    7,424.88

Red Mass
Cathedral                             -600.00
Trophy Athletic                        -45.00

Friday, December 4, 2020

In defence of Thomas More

An essay by Eamon Duffy on The trouble with Hilary Mantel’s Tudor world, at The Times Literary Supplement. [Alas, behind the paywall.]
"Mantel's [Wolf Hall] trilogy has reconfigured perception of Tudor England for the early twenty-first century, just as surely as, and even more persuasively than, [Robert] Bolt's Man for All Seasons did for the last decades of the twentieth."

Friday, October 2, 2020

Red Mass October 1, 2020 video

At the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Milwaukee Wisconin.

Friday, September 25, 2020

Is Christianity True? The Existence of God, the Discoveries of Science, and a Closing Argument for the Resurrection.

An essay by Judge William Griesbach prepared for the annual reception and dinner which had been planned to follow the yesterday's Red Mass of the St. Thomas More Society of Green Bay.