Fall Semester Recap

Author: Center for Citizenship & Constitutional Government

Faculty, Staff, and Fellows

This fall, Dr. Deborah O’Malley joined the CCCG staff as associate director. Dr. O’Malley brings an array of experience in academia that includes teaching, research and writing on American constitutionalism, and management of civics education programs. Before joining the CCCG, she taught Political Science at Assumption University and served as Associate Director of Assumption’s Moynihan Center for Scholarship and Statesmanship. Dr. O’Malley received her Ph.D. in Political Science from Baylor University. 

The CCCG is hosting Professor Richard Avramenko as a visiting professor for the 2022-2023 academic year. Professor Avramenko teaches Political Science and Integrated Liberal Studies at the University of Wisconsin and is continuing work on his book project, The Crush of Democracy: Tocqueville and the Egalitarian Mind. 

Additionally, Dr. Luke Foster and Dr. Margaret Blume Freddoso have joined the center as postdoctoral research scholars. This fall, Dr. Foster taught the gateway course for Constitutional Studies and will teach a class in the spring on the philosophy of education. Dr. Freddoso has launched the CCCG’s initiative titled, “Natural Economic Order: What are the Necessary Components of a Good Economy?” which explores the relationship between economics and theology. She is developing an undergraduate course, “Economy: Divine and Human,” and writing an undergraduate textbook based upon the course. 

Mary Frances Myler, a Constitutional Studies alumna, also joined the CCCG as a post-graduate fellow. She is writing about Catholic identity in American higher education. 


Undergraduate Education

This semester, Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Amul Thapar and Professor Vincent Phillip Muñoz taught a one-credit class called “Church, State, and the American Supreme Court” for fifteen undergraduate students. The class explored First Amendment jurisprudence and philosophies of religious liberty. 

In the class, students read landmark Supreme Court decisions and explored debates in religious liberty jurisprudence. Students were also challenged to form their own opinions about this jurisprudence based on Supreme Court opinions and founding-era documents. 

The class began with an exploration of the philosophical foundations of religious liberty in both American political thought and Catholic teaching. Then, in subsequent classes, students discussed the First Amendment in light of competing understandings of the role of the judge, grappling with the debates of originalism and judicial activism as applied to the law. 

Public Events

We kicked off the semester with a Supreme Court Recap for the 2021-2022 Term on September 6. CCCG faculty fellow Rick Garnett explained the constitutional significance of the past year’s Supreme Court decisions for an audience of undergraduates and law students. 

On September 8, we welcomed Constitutional Studies alumna Alexandra DeSanctis back to campus for a talk based on her new book, Tearing Us Apart: How Abortion Harms Everything and Solves Nothing. A recording of the lecture is available here. Before the lecture, a small group of Tocqueville Fellows enjoyed a private dinner with DeSanctis. The following day, DeSanctis gave an op-ed writing workshop for Tocqueville Fellows interested in journalism. 

To celebrate Constitution Day, we gathered undergraduates, graduate students, and law students on September 9 for a seminar titled “Is Common Good Constitutionalism…Good?” Participants discussed constitutional law, natural law, and competing theories of constitutional interpretation. 

Hadley Arkes delivered a lecture titled Roe Changed the Culture: Was Dobbs the Antidote?” on September 23, drawing on a lifetime of contributions to the pro-life legal movement to articulate the continued importance of the pro-life movement in a post-Dobbs nation. 

On October 3, Judge Neomi Rao, of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, delivered a lecture titled “The Political Morality of Textualism.” She spoke about constitutional interpretation and administrative law to an audience of undergraduates and law students. 

Congresswoman Liz Cheney visited the CCCG on October 14 and delivered her lecture, “Saving Democracy by Revering the Constitution.” Prior to her remarks, she joined the Tocqueville Fellows for an off the record conversation during a private lunch. A recording of the lecture is available here.

And on October 31, Thomas Pink of King’s College London delivered a lecture on “The Church, the State, and the Authority to Coerce,” in which he discussed the Catholic understandings of political and ecclesial authority. A recording of the lecture is available here.

The CCCG inaugurated the Jeanie Poole O’Shaughnessy Memorial Lecture on November 4 with Senator Tim Scott’s visit to campus and remarks on his recent book, America: A Redemption StoryA recording of the event is available here.

CCCG Director Vincent Phillip Muñoz traveled to Washington, DC for a panel about his new book, Religious Liberty and the American Founding, hosted by the American Enterprise Institute on November 9. The panel, titled “What Would an Originalist Religious LIberty Look Like?” focused on the practical implications of Muñoz’s scholarship for First Amendment jurisprudence. A recording of the panel is available here.

On November 17, Mississippi Solicitor General Scott Stewart—who successfully argued the landmark case of Dobbs v. Jackson before the U.S. Supreme Court—delivered remarks titled “Reflections on Dobbs v. Jackson.” 

The CCCG hosted a book launch and lecture on December 5 for Notre Dame political science professor emeritus Michael Zuckert, who recently published his latest book A Nation So Conceived: Abraham Lincoln and the Paradox of Democratic Sovereignty.