GOD ON TRIAL: RELIGION AND LAW IN AMERICAN SOCIETY
Peter H. Irons - Emeritus Professor of Political Science at UC San Diego
Friday September 18, 2009
Crawford Hall - Room 9
Case Western Reserve University
As TIME magazine reports, “the never-ending march of court cases about church and state sometimes seems so rapid that they blur together.” These cases involve complex technical issues of constitutional interpretation. But they also involve people and passion on each side. There are national groups which turn cases into causes, but also the individuals in each community – a parent, a school principal – who believe their rights are threatened.
In God on Trial: Dispatches from America’s Religious Battlefields, Peter Irons discusses six cases, from communities across the country. For each, he provides oral histories of a partisan on each side of the case. Thus he illuminates both the legal and human dimensions of the judicial politics of religion. Although Irons himself was directly involved as a lawyer in the case against a 43-foot Latin Cross erected in a veterans cemetery in San Diego, the book was blurbed by Jay Sekulow, perhaps the leading attorney in the Christian Conservative bar, as “a book on the struggle for religious freedom that goes beyond the hype and the headlines…a must read book.”
Peter Irons is one of the nation’s leading scholars of the judicial politics of rights. Now Professor Emeritus of Political Science from UC San Diego, Dr. Irons earned his Ph.D. from Boston University in 1973 and his J.D. from Harvard in 1978. Five of his books have won the Silver Gavel Award from the American Bar Association. Among his books are A People’s History of the Supreme Court; Justice at War: The Story of the Japanese-American Internment Cases; The New Deal Lawyers; The Courage of Their Convictions: Sixteen Americans Who Fought Their Way to the Supreme Court; and Jim Crow’s Children: The Broken Promise of the Brown Decision.
TIME interviewed Dr. Irons after publication of the God on Trial book; the interview may be read at: http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1626609,00.html
Our Friday lunch schedule has recently been revised. Please see the revised schedule below. As usual, we will gather in Room 9 of the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence, on the lower level of Crawford Hall, for free cookies, beverages, and brown bag lunch.
About Our Guests
Peter H. Irons is the author of numerous books on the Supreme Court and constitutional litigation, including The New Deal Lawyers (1982); Justice at War (1983); The Courage of Their Convictions (1988); Justice Delayed (1989); Making Law: The Case for Judicial Activism (1991); May It Please the Court: 23 Live Recordings of Landmark Cases As Argued Before the Supreme Court, Including the Actual Voices of the Attorneys and Justices (1993); May It Please the Court; Brennan Vs. Rehnquist: The Battle for the Constitution; May It Please the Court: Arguments on Abortion (1995); May It Please The Court: The First Amendment (1997); A People’s History of the Supreme Court (1999); May It Please the Court: Courts, Kids, and the Constitution (2000); Jim Crow’s Children: The Broken Promise of the Brown Decision (2002), Cases and Controversies: Civil Rights and Liberties in Context (2004); War Powers: How the imperial Presidency Hijacked the Constitution (2005); and God on Trial: Dispatches from America's Religious Battlefields (2007). He has also contributed to numerous law reviews and other journals. He was chosen in 1988 as the first Raoul Wallenberg Distinguished Visiting Professor of Human Rights at Rutgers University. He has been invited to lecture on constitutional law and civil liberties at the law schools of Harvard, Yale, Berkeley, Stanford, and more than twenty other schools. In addition to his academic work, Professor Irons has been active in public affairs. He is a practicing civil rights and liberties attorney, and was lead counsel in the 1980s in the successful effort to reverse the World War Two criminal convictions of Japanese-Americans who challenged the curfew and relocation orders. He was also elected to two terms on the national board of the American Civil Liberties Union.
REVISED Friday Lunch Upcoming Topics and Speakers:
September 25: Where is Germany Heading? The September 27 Elections. With Mark Cassell, Associate Professor of Political Science, Kent State University
October 2: Burning River Reborn? The State of the Cuyahoga. With Michael Scott, The Cleveland Plain Dealer
October 9: ***Special Location - Clark Hall Room 206, the Baker-Nord Center Seminar Room*** Bush, Barack, and the Meltdown. With Kathryn C. Lavelle, Ellen and Dixon Long Associate Professor of World Affairs. Room to be determined
October 16: Virtue, Vice, and Contraband: The History of Contraception in America. With James M. Edmonson, Curator, Dittrick Medical History Center and Museum
October 23: Reforming Cuyahoga County Government. Speakers TBA
October 30: The University’s “Internationalization” Initiative. With David Fleshler, Associate Provost for International Affairs
November 6: Unhealthy Claims About “Healthy” Foods. With Hope Barkoukis, Associate Professor of Nutrition
November 13: What Should the Common Reading for New Students Do? With Mano Singham, Director, University Center for Innovation in Teaching and Education and Mayo Bulloch, Director, Educational Enhancement Programs at Case Western Reserve University
November 20: Chesapeake Bay and the Need for Dark Green Environmentalism. With Howard R. Ernst, Associate Professor of Political Science, U.S. Naval Academy
November 27: Thanksgiving Break
December 4: What the Health Care Reform Legislation Will Do, or Why Health Care Reform Failed, or Health Care Reform: What Next? or All of the Above. With Joe White, Professor of Political Science
The Friday Lunch discussions are held on the lower (ground) level of Crawford Hall. Visitors with mobility issues may find it easiest to take advantage of special arrangements we have made. On most Fridays, a few parking spaces in the V.I.P. lot in between Crawford Hall and Amasa Stone Chapel are held for participants in the lunch discussion.
Visitors then can avoid walking up the hill to the first floor of Crawford by entering the building on the ground level, through the garage area under the building. The further door on the left in that garage will be left unlocked during the period before the Friday lunch. On occasion, parking will be unavailable because of other university events.
For more information about these and other Center for Policy Studies programs, please see http://policy.case.edu.