Catholic Law School Gains More Right-Wing Support

Former Domino’s Pizza mogul Tom Monaghan’s Ave Maria School of Law is continuing to gain more support from ultra-conservative, right-wing forces.

Scheduled to open in the year 2000, the school has already attracted many high-profile political leaders. Conservative legal scholar and former U.S. Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork has agreed to teach. Rep. Henry Hyde and Cardinal John O’Connor, archbishop of New York, are members of the school’s board of governors. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has offered advice and support. Bernard Dobranski will leave his post at Washington, DC’s Catholic University to serve as the new law school’s dean.

While Monaghan claims that he built the school “for God,” and to correct what he perceives to be a secularization of Catholic schools. Georgetown University law school professor Rev. Robert Dirnan defended his school against Monaghan’s criticism, saying that the school has combined both sacred and secular elements “before Mr. Monaghan was born.” Noting that the school has 3 full-time Jesuit lawyers and says Mass at noon, he questioned “What more can we do to make it Catholic?”

Dirnan argues that Monaghan’s primary motives are not spiritual, but political. He argues that Monaghan and his allies’ aim, in truth, is to produce masses of politically-conservative lawyers and judges. Referring to Bork, Dirnan commented “he’s not known for any religious faith. They [school planners] want his political views.”

Currently, 24 of the United States’ 181 law schools are Catholic.


AP - April 21, 1999

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