Natural Law Theory: Contemporary Essays

– Oxford University Press, 1992.
Description from Publisher: Natural law theory is enjoying a revival of interest in a variety of scholarly disciplines including law, philosophy, political science, and theology and… More

Natural Law, Liberalism, and Morality

– Oxford University Press, 1996.
Description from Publisher: This work brings together leading defenders of Natural Law and Liberalism for a series of frank and lively exchanges touching upon critical issues of… More

The Autonomy of Law: Essays on Legal Positivism

– Oxford University Press, 1996.
Description from Publisher: This collection of original essays from distinguished legal philosophers offers a challenging assessment of the nature and viability of legal positivism, an… More

In Defense of Natural Law

– Oxford University Press, 1999.
Description from Publisher: In Making Men Moral, his 1995 book, George questioned the central doctrines of liberal jurisprudence and political theory. In his new work he extends his… More

Great Cases in Constitutional Law

– Princeton University Press, 2000.
Description from Publisher: Slavery, segregation, abortion, workers’ rights, the power of the courts. These issues have been at the heart of the greatest constitutional controversies… More

Natural Law and Public Reason

– With Christopher Wolfe, eds. Georgetown University Press, 2000.
Description from Publisher: “Public reason” is one of the central concepts in modern liberal political theory. As articulated by John Rawls, it presents a way to overcome the… More

The Meaning of Marriage: Family, State, Market and Morals

– With Jean Bethke Elshtain, eds. Spence Publishing, 2006.
Description from Publisher: The movement for same-sex marriage has triggered an unprecedented crisis in the social norms and laws governing marriage. All great civilizations have sought to… More

Embryo: A Defense of Human Life

With Christopher Tollefsen. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2008. Reprinted by The Witherspoon Institute, 2011.
Description from Publisher: The bitter national debates over abortion, euthanasia, and stem cell research have created an unbridgeable gap between religious groups and those who insist that… More

Body-Self Dualism in Contemporary Ethics and Politics

– With Patrick Lee. Cambridge University Press, 2008.
Description from Publisher: This book treats the question of what a human person is and the ethical and political controversies of abortion, hedonism and drug-taking, euthanasia, and sex… More

What Is Marriage?: Man and Woman: A Defense

– With Sherif Girgis and Ryan T. Anderson. Encounter Books, 2012.
Description from the Publisher: Until yesterday, no society had seen marriage as anything other than a conjugal partner­ship: a male-female union. What Is Marriage? identifies and defends… More

Reason, Morality, and Law: The Philosophy of John Finnis

– With John Keown, eds. Oxford University Press, 2013.
Description from Publisher: John Finnis is a pioneer in the development of a new yet classically-grounded theory of natural law. His work offers a systematic philosophy of practical… More

A Second Look at First Things: A Case for Conservative Politics

– With F. Beckwith and S. McWilliams, eds., St. Augustine’s Press, 2013.
Excerpt: The conservative movement in America seems to have fallen on hard times. Even though conservative talk radio is at its height, and President Obama had to shift to the political… More

Conjugal Union: What Marriage Is and Why It Matters

– With Patrick Lee. Cambridge University Press, 2014.
Description from the Publisher: This book defends the conjugal view of marriage. Patrick Lee and Robert P. George argue that marriage is a distinctive type of community: the union of a man… More


Recent Criticism of Natural Law Theory

University of Chicago Law Review 55:4 (Fall, 1988). Reprinted in Tom Campbell (ed.), International Library of Essays in Law and Legal Theory (Dartmouth Publishing Co. and NYU Press, 1991).

Human Flourishing as a Criterion of Morality: A Critique of Perry’s Naturalism

Tulane Law Review 63:6 (June, 1989). Reprinted in Tom Campbell (ed.), International Library of Essays in Law and Legal Theory (Dartmouth Publishing Co. and NYU Press, 1991).
In Morality, Politics, and Law, Michael Perry adumbrates a “naturalist” account of moral knowledge. According to Perry, such knowledge is “primarily about what sort of… More

Individual Rights, Collective Interests, Public Law, and American Politics

Law and Philosophy 8:2 (August, 1989). Reprinted in Tom Campbell (ed.), International Library of Essays in Law and Legal Theory (Dartmouth Publishing Co. and NYU Press, 1991); and as “Natural Law, the Common Good, and American Politics,” in William E. May and Kenneth D. Whitehead (eds.), The Battle for the Catholic Mind (St. Augustine’s Press, 2001).

Social Cohesion and the Legal Enforcement of Morality

American Journal of Jurisprudence 35:1 (1990).
IN SEPTEMBER OF 1957, THE COMMITTEE on Homosexual Offences and Prostitution, chaired by Sir John Wolfenden, issued its Report recommending to the British Parliament that “homosexual… More

Where Babies Come From

First Things, October 1990.
Excerpt: Recent reports from a French laboratory contain some good news and some bad news for the prochoice movement. The good news is that abortion is not the taking of human life. Studies… More

Conscience and the Public Person

– In Russell E. Smith (ed.), Catholic Conscience: Foundation and Formation (Pope John XXIII Medical-Moral Research Center, 1991).

Judges and Natural Law

Washington Post, August 12, 1991.
Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas has expressed a belief in natural law and natural rights. In the overheated, brightly lit arena of Supreme Court politics, that simple allegiance has… More

Academic Freedom: The Grounds for Tolerating Abuses

– In Ralph McInerny (ed.), Proceedings of the Wethersfield Institute Vol. 4 (Ignatius Press, 1992).
We are all familiar indeed, all too familiar with abuses of academic freedom. Consider, for example, the following two cases. A controversy currently raging in this city of controversies… More

Natural Law and Human Nature

– In Robert P. George (ed.), Natural Law Theory: Contemporary Essays (Oxford University Press, 1992). Reprinted in Spanish translation in Anuario de Filosofia Juridica y Social 20 (2000).

The Moral Fragility of Constitutionalism

First Things, January 1993.
Excerpt: In this collection of characteristically brilliant essays, Harvey C. Mansfield Jr., one of our nation’s most eminent conservative political theorists, defends the American… More

Can Sex Be Reasonable?

Columbia Law Review 93:3 (April, 1993).
In his Introduction to Sex and Reason, Richard A. Posner says that his “ambition is to present a theory of sexuality that both explains the principal regularities in the practice of… More

Religious Liberty and Political Morality

– In Stephen Krason and Donald D'Elia (eds.), We Hold These Truths and More: Reflections on the American Proposition (University of Steubenville Press, 1993).

On Veritas Splendor

First Things, January 1994.
Not long ago, I was brought up short by the redoubtable Janet Smith when I complained that students come to college these days already fully indoctrinated into moral relativism. “Ask… More

The New Natural Law Theory: A Reply to Jean Porter

American Journal of Jurisprudence 39 (1994), with Gerard Bradley.
The theory of practical reasoning and morality proposed by Germain Grisez, and developed by him in frequent collaboration with John Finnis and Joseph Boyle, is the most formidable… More

Rule by Law

National Review, February 26, 1996, with Ramesh Ponnuru.

The New Abortion Debate

First Things, April 1996.
Over the last few months, certain intellectuals on both sides of the debate over abortion have publicly expressed newfound doubts about their side’s positions and tactics. Notable… More

Natural Law and International Order

– In Terry Nardin (ed.), The Constitution of International Society (Princeton University Press, 1996). Reprinted in Kenneth Grasso, et al. (eds.), Catholicism, Liberalism, and Communitarianism (Rowman and Littlefield, 1995).

Natural Law and Positive Law

– In Robert P. George (ed.), The Autonomy of Law:  Essays on Legal Positivism (Oxford University Press, 1996). Reprinted in David McLean (ed.), Common Truths:  New Perspectives on the Natural Law (ISI Books, 1999); in Aileen Kavanagh and John Oberdiek, Arguing about Law (Routledge, 2009); and in Spanish translation in Persona y Derecho 39 (1998).

Vices Here and Abroad

Boston Review, October/November 1996.
Yael Tamir states that her purpose in “Hands Off Clitoridectomy” is “to reveal the smug, unjustified self-satisfaction lurking behind the current condemnation of… More

Natural Law Ethics

– In Philip L. Quinn and Charles Taliaferro (eds.), A Companion to the Philosophy of Religion (Blackwell Publishers, 1996).
Natural law is the body of moral norms and other practical principles which provide reasons (including moral reasons) for action and restraint. The most basic precepts of natural law direct… More

The Tyrant State

First Things, November 1996. Reprinted in Mitchell S. Muncy (ed.), The End of Democracy? The Judicial Usurpation of Politics (Spence Publishing, 1997).
America’s democratic experiment has been remarkably successful. Constitutional democracy in the United States has survived a civil war, a great depression, and two world wars. Our nation… More

Natural Law and Liberal Public Reason

American Journal of Jurisprudence 42:1 (January 1997), with Christopher Wolfe.
As the century winds to a close, John Rawls remains a–perhaps the–central figure in Anglo-American political philosophy. In his 1993 book, Political Liberalism, Rawls… More

Law, Democracy, and Moral Disagreement

Harvard Law Review 110:7 (May 1997).
Reviewed Works: Democracy and Disagreement: Why Moral Conflict Cannot Be Avoided in Politics, and What Should Be Done about It by Amy Gutmann, Dennis Thompson; Legal Reasoning and Political… More

Making Children Moral: Pornography, Parents, and the Public Interest

Arizona State Law Review 29 (Summer 1997). Reprinted in T. Campbell (ed.), International Library of Essays in Law and Legal Theory, 2nd Series (Dartmouth Publishing Co. and Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2003).
On two occasions in October of 1965, Sam Ginsberg, proprietor of Sam’s Stationery and Luncheonette in Bellmore, New York, sold magazines containing photographs of nude women to a… More

On the Supreme Court’s 1996-97 Term

First Things, October 1997.
The first key decision of the Supreme Court’s most recent term was Agostini v. Felton, handed down June 23, 1997, concerning the proper interpretation and application of the First… More

Justice, Legitimacy, and Allegiance

Loyola Law Review 44:1 (1998). Reprinted in Mitchell Muncy (ed.) The End of Democracy II:  A Crisis of Legitimacy (Spence Publishing Co., 1998); and in Sotirios Barber and Robert P. George (eds.) Constitutional Politics:  Essays on Constitution Making, Maintenance, and Change (Princeton University Press, 2001).

Marriage and the Illusion of Moral Neutrality

– In T. William Boxx and Gary Quinlivan (eds.), The Political Order and Culture: Towards the Renewal of Civilization (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1998). Reprinted in Christopher Wolfe (ed.), Homosexuality and American Public Life (Spence Publishing Co., 1998); Kenneth D. Whitehead (ed.), Marriage and the Common Good (St. Augustine’s Press, 2001); Francis Beckwith (ed.), Do the Right Thing (Wadsworth/Thompson Learning, 2001); and Lynn D. Wardle, Mark Strasser, and David Orgon Coolidge (eds.), Marriage and Same Sex Unions (Praeger, 2003).

Abusive Power

National Review, November 9, 1998, with William C. Porth.

Kelsen and Aquinas on “The Natural Law Doctrine”

– In Georges Mazur (ed.), Hans Kelsen: A Twenty-Five Year Commemoration (Semenenko Foundation, 1999). Reprinted in Notre Dame Law Review 75:5 (August 2000); John Goyette, Mark S. Latkovic, and Richard S. Myers (eds.), St. Thomas Aquinas and the Natural Law Tradition (Catholic University of America Press, 2004). Reprinted in Spanish translation (“El Tribunal de la Teoria Pura”) in Persona y Derecho, Vol. “Cambio Social y Transicion Juridica” (2000).
The fiftieth anniversary of the publication of Hans Kelsen’s influential essay, The Natural-Law Doctrine Before the Tribunal of Science, provides an occasion to revisit a work in… More

Religious Values and Politics

– In Francis A. Eigo (ed.), Religious Values at the Threshold of the Third Millennium (Villanova University Press, 1999), with William Saunders.

One Hundred Years of Legal Philosophy

Notre Dame Law Review 74:5 (1999). Reprinted in Brian J. Shanley (ed.), One Hundred Years of Philosophy (Catholic University of America Press, 2001), and as “What is Law? A Century of Arguments,” in First Things 112 (April 2001).
There is a sense in which twentieth century legal philosophy began on January 8, 1897. On that day, Oliver Wendell Holmes, then a justice of the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts,… More

A Clash of Orthodoxies

First Things, August 1999.
A few years ago, the eminent Harvard political scientist Samuel Huntington published in Foreign Affairs a widely noted article called “The Clash of Civilizations.” Looking at… More

What Can We Reasonably Hope For?

First Things, January 2000.
Anyone gazing into a crystal ball with the aim of divining the future of relations among members of different religious communities in the new millennium would do well to remember how… More

Natural Law and Public Reason

– In Robert P. George and Christopher Wolfe (eds.), Natural Law and Public Reason (Georgetown University Press, 2000), with Christopher Wolfe.
Stephen Macedo, in his Liberal Virtues and in a number of separately published articles, has defended a liberal doctrine of public reason, one which he considers to be in line with John… More

The Concept of Public Morality

American Journal of Jurisprudence 45:1 (2000). Reprinted in Craig Steven Titus (ed.), The Person and the Polis (Institute for the Psychological Sciences Press, 2006).
Public morality, like public health and safety, is a concern that goes beyond considerations of law and public policy. Public morals are affected, for good or ill, by the activities of… More

A Clash of Orthodoxies: An Exchange

First Things, June/July 2000, with Josh Dever.
I am grateful to Josh Dever for his thoughtful challenge to my essay “A Clash of Orthodoxies.” Professor Dever states candidly his religious views and moral“political commitments: he… More

Remembering Robert Casey

First Things, August 2000.
On the morning of his Commonwealth’s 1992 presidential primary, I got a telephone call from Pennsylvania Governor Robert P. Casey, a man whose pro“life record I knew and admired, but… More

The Clinton Puzzle: Why Do Liberals Love Him So?

Wall Street Journal, October 6, 2000.
Liberals love Bill Clinton; conservatives loathe him. No surprise there, some might say. Yet if one considers any number of things Mr. Clinton has done over the past decade, something of a… More

Reason, Freedom, and the Rule of Law

American Journal of Jurisprudence 46 (2001). Reprinted in the American Philosophical Association Newsletter on Philosophy and Law 1:1 (Fall 2001), Regent University Law Review 15:2 (2002-2003), Charles W. Dunn (ed.), Faith, Freedom, and the Future:  Religion in American Political Culture (Rowman & Littlefield, 2003), The Clarion Review 2 (2004), and Michael  A. Scaperlanda and Teresa Stanton Collet (eds.), Recovering Self-Evident Truths:  Catholic Perspectives on American Law (Catholic University of America Press, 2007).
The idea of law and the ideal of the rule of law are central to the natural law tradition of thought about public (or “political”) order. St. Thomas Aquinas went so far as to… More

The Natural Law Due Process Philosophy

Fordham Law Review 69:6 (2001). Reprinted in T. Campbell (ed.), International Library of Essays in Law and Legal Theory, 2nd Series (Dartmouth Publishing Co. and Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2003).
I am grateful to Joseph Koterski and James Fleming for their comments on my paper. Father Koterski and I agree more than we disagree. Things are the other way with Professor Fleming, so I… More

On Jurisprudence

Claremont Review of Books, Winter 2001.
The flowering of interest in jurisprudence among English-speaking philosophers in the second half of the twentieth century produced a number of outstanding books. The four I discuss in the… More

Natural Law and the Constitution Revisited

Fordham Law Review 70:2 (2001).
James Fleming says that I have misinterpreted him on several points. My essay, Fleming’s critique, and my reply to his critique’ are now before the reader. Happily, anyone who… More

The 28th Amendment

National Review, July 23, 2001.
Marriage is so central to the well-being of children-and society as a whole-that it was, until recently, difficult to imagine that it might be necessary to mount a national political… More

Responding Justly to Terrorism

Crisis Magazine, November 1, 2001.
There is no question that our nation will respond with force to the horrific terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. What will our response look like if it is shaped by the Catholic… More

Legal Positivism

– In Herbert Kritzer (ed.), Legal Systems of the World (ABC-CLIO, 2002).

Oliver Wendell Holmes on Natural Law

Villanova Law Review 48:1 (2002). Reprinted in Regent University Law Review 15:2 (Spring 2002-2003); The Good Society 12:3 (2003); and Jean DeGroot (ed.), Nature in American Philosophy (Catholic University of America Press, 2004).
My dear Laski, Your remark about the “oughts” and system of values in political science leaves me rather cold. If, as I think, the values are simply generalizations emotionally… More

Would a War in Iraq be Ethically Justified?

The Daily Princetonian, September 19, 2002.
How can we decide if an attack on Iraq in ethically justified? Although the early architects of “just war theory” held that punishing past aggression is among the legitimate… More

Lincoln on Judicial Despotism

First Things, February 2003.
After the Supreme Court’s landmark 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Educationordering the desegregation of public schools in Topeka, Kansas, lawsuits promptly were brought to dismantle… More

The Unorthodox Liberalism of Joseph Raz

– Revised and expanded in Christopher Wolfe (ed.), Liberalism at the Crossroads, 2nd Edition (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003). Original version published in The Review of Politics 53:4 (Fall 1991). Reprinted in Christopher Wolfe and John Hittinger (eds.), Liberalism at the Crossroads (Rowman & Littlefield, 1994).
Abstract (from The Review of Politics): In The Morality of Freedom, Joseph Raz has challenged the anti-perfectionism of orthodox liberal political theory and proposed an alternative form of… More

Human Cloning and Embryo Research

Journal of Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 25:1 (2004).
Abstract: The author, a member of the U.S.President’s Council on Bioethics, discusses ethical issues raised by human cloning, whether for purposes of bringing babies to birth or for… More

Redefining Marriage Away

City Journal, Summer 2004, with David L. Tubbs.
Conservative advocates of same-sex marriage insist that their goal is not a radical alteration of the institution itself. They favor the legal recognition of same-sex partnerships as… More

Judicial Usurpation and Sexual Liberation: Courts and the Abolition of Marriage

Regent University Law Review 17:1 (Fall 2004). Reprinted as "High Courts and Misdemeanors" in Touchstone 17: 8 (October 2004), and in New Jersey Family Magazine (2005). Reprinted as "Judicial Usurpation: Perennial Temptation, Contemporary Challenge," in Bradley C. S. Watson (ed.), Ourselves and Our Posterity:  Essays in Constitutional Originalism (Lexington Books, 2009).
Judicial power can be used, and has been used, for both good and ill. In a basically just democratic republic, however, judicial power should never be exercised—even for desirable… More

Why We Need a Marriage Amendment

City Journal, Autumn 2004, with David L. Tubbs.
When President George W. Bush declared his support for a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman, his most vitriolic critics, such as… More

Acorns and Embryos

– With Patrick Lee. The New Atlantis, Fall 2004 - Winter 2005.
Excerpt: The prestigious New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) recently invited two members of the President’s Council on Bioethics to reflect on the ethics of using embryonic stem cells… More

Dualistic Delusions

First Things, February 2005, with Patrick Lee.
Disputes about metaphysical issues rarely make the newspapers. The ancient argument about the nature and identity of the human person, however, turns out to be highly relevant to issues… More

The Moral Status of the Human Embryo

Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 48:2 (Spring 2005), with Alfonso Gómez-Lobo. First published as "Statement of Professor George" in Leon R. Kass (ed.), Human Cloning and Human Dignity: The Report of the President's Council On Bioethics (Public Affairs, 2002), pp. 294-306; and Human Cloning and Human Dignity:  An Ethical Inquiry (The President’s Council on Bioethics, 2002).
The subject matter of Human Cloning and Human Dignity (President’s Council 2002) is the production of a human embryo by means of somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) or similar… More

The Wrong of Abortion

– In Andrew I. Cohen and Christopher H. Wellman (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Applied Ethics (Blackwell Publishers, 2005), with Patrick Lee. Reprinted in Carol Levine (ed.), Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Bioethical Issues, 11th edition (McGraw-Hill Publishers, 2006).
Much of the public debate about abortion concerns the question whether deliberate feticide ought to be unlawful, at least in most circumstances. We will lay that question aside here in… More

Independence Day

National Review, May 23, 2005, with Ramesh Ponnuru.
University of Chicago law professor Cass Sunstein thinks that we are entering a new and “worrisome” phase in the political struggles over the courts: The Right is mounting “a… More

Creative Sciece Will Resolve Stem Cell Issues

Wall Street Journal, June 20, 2005, with Markus Grompe. Reprinted in Human Life Review 31:2 (Spring 2005).
The House of Representatives recently passed legislation to loosen President Bush’s restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research. The president has promised to veto… More

The Bad Decision that Started It All

National Review, July 18, 2005, with David L. Tubbs.
Forty years ago, in Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court of the United States struck down state laws forbidding the sale, distribution, and use of contraceptives on the basis of a… More

The Supreme Court’s Private Life

New York Times, September 18, 2005.
WHEN John Roberts, President Bush’s nominee for chief justice of the Supreme Court, told the Senate Judiciary Committee last week that “the right to privacy is protected under… More

Fetal Attraction

The Weekly Standard, October 3, 2005. Reprinted in Human Life Review 31:4 (Fall 2005); in Spanish translation as “Fabricas de Organos,” La Gaceta de los Negocios (October 2, 2006); and in Rafael Domingo et al. (eds.) Hacia Un Derecho Global (Thomson Publishing Co., 2007).
THE JOURNAL Science late last month published the results of research conducted at Harvard proving that embryonic stem cells can be produced by a method that does not involve creating or… More

A Distinct Human Organism

National Public Radio, November 22, 2005.
The key question in the debate over stem cell research that involves the destruction of human embryos is: When does the life of a human being begin? To answer this question is to decide… More

Pope John Paul II

– In John Witte and Frank Alexander (eds.), The Teachings of Modern Christianity on Law, Politics, and Human Nature (Columbia University Press, 2006), with Gerard Bradley.

What Colleges Forget to Teach

City Journal, Winter 2006.
he university is worth fighting for. No other institution can carry the burden of educating our young people. That’s why we must redouble our efforts to restore integrity, civility, and… More

Private Acts, Public Interests

First Things, February 2006.
Theorists of public morality “from the ancient Greek philosophers and Roman jurists on” have noticed that apparently private acts of vice, when they multiply and become… More

The First Fourteen Days of Human Life

– With Patrick Lee. The New Atlantis, Summer 2006.
Excerpt: In the debate about the moral standing of human embryos, some defenders of embryo-destructive research have claimed that human embryos are not human beings until implantation… More

Restricting Reasons, Attenuating Discourse: Rawls, Habermas, and the Catholic Problem

– In Daniel N. Robinson, Gladys M. Sweeney, and Richard Gill (eds.), Human Nature and Its Wholeness (Catholic University of America Press, 2006). Reprinted with abridgments and additions as “Public Morality, Public Reason,” First Things, November, 2006.
A contest of worldviews in our time pits devout Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and other believers against secularist liberals and those who, while remaining within the religious… More

Stem Cells without Moral Corruption

Washington Post, July 6, 2006, with Eric Cohen.
For the past few years many of the world’s leading scientists have promoted so-called therapeutic cloning as the most promising way to produce clinically useful, genetically tailored,… More

Barring Faith

The Weekly Standard, July 17, 2006, with Gerald V. Bradley
TO FULLY APPRECIATE the wrong headedness of a federal district court’s recent decision expelling a faith-based program from an Iowa prison, it is necessary first to take a backward… More

Six Stem Cell Facts

Wall Street Journal, March 14, 2007, with Rev. Thomas V. Berg, L.C. Reprinted in Spanish translation as “Seis Verdades Innegables,” La Gaceta de los Negocias, April 13, 2007.
Americans are divided over the question of whether it is morally acceptable to authorize by law, and fund with taxpayer dollars, research in which human embryos are destroyed. Stating that… More

Natural Law

Harvard Law Review 31:1 (2007).
Excerpt: Oliver Wendell Holmes, the legal philosopher and judge whom Richard Posner has, with admiration, dubbed “the American Nietzsche,” established in the minds of many people a… More

Law and Moral Purpose

First Things, January 2008.
The obligations and purposes of law and government are to protect public health, safety, and morals, and to advance the general welfare” including, preeminently, protecting people’s… More

Slouching Towards Gomorrah Revisited

Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy 31:2 (March 2008).
Abstract: A literary criticism of the book “Slouching Towards Gomorrah: Modern Liberalism and American Decline,” by Robert H. Bork is presented. It praises the accuracy of the… More

The Nature and Basis of Human Dignity

Ratio Juris 21:2 (June 2008), with Patrick Lee.
Abstract: We argue that all human beings have a special type of dignity which is the basis for (1) the obligation all of us have not to kill them, (2) the obligation to take their… More

Natural Law

– In Keith Whittington, R. Daniel Kelemen, and Gregory A. Caldeira (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Law and Politics (Oxford University Press, 2008).
Abstract: Theories of natural law propose to identify fundamental aspects of human well-being and fulfillment (“basic human goods”), and norms of conduct entailed by their integral… More

The President Politicizes Stem Cell Research

Wall Street Journal, March 10, 2009, with Eric Cohen.
Yesterday President Barack Obama issued an executive order that authorizes expanded federal funding for research using stem cells produced by destroying human embryos. The announcement was… More

He Threw It All Away

First Things, March 2009.
Excerpt: In the early 1970s, Lutheran pastor Richard John Neuhaus was poised to become the nation’s next great liberal public intellectual—the Reinhold Niebuhr of his generation. He had… More

What Marriage Is—And What It Isn’t

First Things, August 2009.
Everyone agrees that marriage, whatever else it is or does, is a relationship in which persons are united. But what are persons ? And how is it possible for two or more of them to unite?… More

Gay Marriage, Democracy, and the Courts

Wall Street Journal, August 3, 2009.
Excerpt: We are in the midst of a showdown over the legal definition of marriage. Though some state courts have interfered, the battle is mainly being fought in referenda around the… More

Not a Victimless Crime

National Review, August 10, 2009, with Donna Hughes.
iny Rhode Island prides itself on its history and charm. But since it decriminalized prostitution in 1980, it has become a haven for something decidedly uncharming: the trafficking of girls… More

Business and Family in a Decent and Dynamic Society

– In Samuel Gregg and James R. Stoner, Jr. (eds.), Profit, Prudence and Virtue:  Essays in Ethics, Business and Management (St. Andrews Studies in Philosophy and Public Affairs, 2009). Also published in Rethinking Business Management (The Witherspoon Institute, 2008).

God and Gettysburg

First Things, August 2010.
The Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, and the Constitution of the United States of America”those were the three texts in the blue pamphlet I found on the table in front… More

Solomonic Wisdom

National Review, August 16, 2010, with Matthew J. Franck.
n June 28, the Senate Judiciary Committee began hearings on Elena Kagan’s Supreme Court nomination. On the same day, the Court announced its decision in Christian Legal Society v.… More

Academic Freedom and What It Means Today

– In Roger Scruton (ed.), Liberty and Civilization: The Western Heritage (Encounter Books, 2010). Originally published as "Academic Freedom and the Liberal Arts" in The American Spectator 41:7 (September 2008).
When the flower children and anti-war activists of the 1960s came to power in the universities, they did not overthrow the idea of liberal arts education. In a great many cases, they… More

What is Marriage?

Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy 34:1 (Winter, 2010), with Sherif Girgis and Ryan T. Anderson.
What is marriage? Consider two competing views: Conjugal View: Marriage is the union of a man and a woman who make a permanent and exclusive commitment to each other of the type that is… More

Does Sex Ed Undermine Parental Rights?

– New York Times, October 18, 2011, with Melissa Moschella.
IMAGINE you have a 10- or 11-year-old child, just entering a public middle school. How would you feel if, as part of a class ostensibly about the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, he… More

Marriage or Friendship?

Touchstone, January-February 2012, with Gregory J. Mansour.
No one should be against true friendship, whether friends are of the same sex or opposite sexes. Friendships are good, and they can be very deep and fulfilling. The ideal of friendship as a… More

Religious liberty and the human good

International Journal of Religious Freedom 5:1 (2012).
Abstract: “Religious liberty and the human good” is a defense of a robust conception of the obligations of governments to respect and protect religious freedom for the sake of the… More

Natural Law

– In the International Encyclopedia of Ethics (John Wiley and Sons, 2013), with Christopher Tollefsen.
Abstract: Natural law ethics forms a distinctive family of ethical theories, all of which take the human good, or human well-being, as central to their theoretical approach. After a period… More

Marriage and Politics

National Review, February 11, 2013.
In our new book What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense, we make a rational case for the historic understanding of marriage as a conjugal relationship — a union of a man and a woman at… More

Ruling to Serve

First Things, April 2013.
Those of us who are citizens of liberal democratic regimes do not refer to those who govern as “rulers.” It is our boast that we rule ourselves. We prefer to speak of those who govern… More

The Sanctity of Life, Even in a Test Tube

Wall Street Journal, April 18, 2013.
Sir Robert Edwards, the Nobel Prize-winning British “test tube baby” pioneer who died last week at age 87, devoted his career to developing in vitro fertilization as a technique… More

Infanticide and madness

Journal of Medical Ethics 39:5 (May 2013).
I am, of course, aware that infanticide was accepted and practiced in ancient Greece and Rome, and is still practiced (usually secretly, with winks and nods from public authorities, and… More

Is the Pro-Choice Position on Infanticide “Madness”?

Journal of Medical Ethics 39:5 (May 2013).
As Charles Camosy observes, he and I agree more than we disagree. He believes with no less conviction than I do that deliberately killing infant children is profoundly morally wrong and a… More

Religious Freedom is About More Than Religion

Wall Street Journal, July 25, 2013, with Katrina Lantos Swett.
A common theory about freedom of religion suggests that such a value is grounded in a modus vivendi, or compromise: People agree to respect each other’s freedom in order to avoid… More

Pakistan’s Religious Minority Problem

Foreign Policy, August 9, 2013.
On Sunday, August 11, Pakistan will celebrate National Minorities Day, giving recently-elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif his first formal opportunity to recognize the value of religious… More

The U.S.’s Lagging Commitment to Religious Freedom

Washington Post, August 21, 2013, with Katrina Lantos Swett.
Although religious freedom is a pivotal human right, critical to national security and global stability, key provisions of the landmark International Religious Freedom Act are being… More

Would Bombing Syria be a “Just War”?

Wall Street Journal, September 5, 2013.
Jean Bethke Elshtain, the eminent University of Chicago scholar who died last month at age 72, was a little lady from a small town in Colorado who became a giant in the field of political… More

Liberty and Conscience

National Affairs, Fall 2013.
One of the more dubious achievements of the Obama administration has been to put religious freedom and the rights of conscience back on the agenda in American politics. Most notoriously,… More

Dignity and Marriage

– In Christopher McCrudden (ed.), Understanding Human Dignity (Oxford UP/The British Academy, 2014).

Religious Exemptions are Vital for Religious Liberty

Wall Street Journal, March 23, 2014, with Hamza Yusuf.
The United States is one of the most religiously diverse nations on earth. People of a vast array of traditions of faith live here in a harmony that would have been unthinkable in most of… More

Iran’s Forgotten Prisoners of Conscience

Wall Street Journal, May 19, 2014, with Katrina Lantos Swett.
As Iran approaches the anniversary of Hasan Rouhani’s presidential victory, the Islamic Republic’s human-rights record, particularly its treatment of religious minorities,… More

Supporting Religious Freedom

Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, May 30, 2014.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), of which I am Chairman, released its 2014 Annual Report on April 30. As in previous years, the report analyzed the… More

The Ontological Status of Embryos: A Reply to Jason Morris

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 39:5 (2014), with Patrick Lee and Christopher Tollefsen.
Abstract: In various places we have defended the position that a new human organism, that is, an individual member of the human species, comes to be at fertilization, the union of the… More

Russia’s Extremism Law Violates Human Rights

The Moscow Times, November 26, 2014, with Katrina Lantos Swett.
Last Friday, a video deemed offensive to the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church was ruled “extremist” by a city court in Vladimir. While Alexander… More

Five Pillars of a Decent and Dynamic Society

– In James R. Stoner, Jr. and Harold James (eds.), The Thriving Society: On The Social Conditions of Human Flourishing (The Witherspoon Institute, 2015). First presented as the keynote address at John Paul II Australian Leaders Forum, Sydney, August 2012; Lecture in the Loyola University’s Centennial Celebration, March 2013; Keynote address at Sutherland Institute's 2013 Annual Dinner, April 2013; Lecture at Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture, September 2013.

Non-Catholics for Church ‘Reform’

The Wall Street Journal, October 13, 2016
Clinton allies mock the faithful and demand they embrace secular dogmas. Excerpt: Arthur Schlesinger Sr. said that anti-Catholicism is “the deepest bias in the history of the American… More

Gnostic Liberalism

First Things, December, 2016
Excerpt: The idea that human beings are non-bodily persons inhabiting non-personal bodies never quite goes away. Although the mainstreams of Christianity and Judaism long ago rejected it,… More

Why I Wanted to Debate Peter Singer

Wall Street Journal, Dec 18, 2016.
Excerpt: If you are a student at a college or university, you are there to learn—from the faculty, from the speakers who visit campus, and from each other. It is a precious opportunity.… More

Vetting the Executive Order

– Robert George and Angela Wu Howard. First Things, February 2, 2017.
Excerpt: Robert P. George: Angela Wu Howard is a leading international human rights lawyer and activist with whom I have worked in defense of religious liberty. I admire her and hold her in… More

On Peter Simpson on “Illiberal Liberalism”

The American Journal of Jurisprudence, Volume 62, Issue 1, 1 June 2017, pp. 103–110.
Abstract: Is “liberalism,” as the term is used by leading contemporary self-described liberals such as the late John Rawls and the late Ronald Dworkin, and as put into practice by the… More


Conservative Heavyweight

– Anne Morse, Crisis Magazine, September 1, 2003.
Excerpt: Professor Robert P. George is pacing around a Princeton auditorium before 200-plus undergraduates, preparing to wage an intellectual shock-and-awe campaign against illogical… More

Heretic in the Temple

– J. I. Merritt, Princeton Alumni Weekly, October 8, 2003.
Excerpt: The lecturer in Politics 315 – Constitutional Interpretation, or “Coninterp,” as generations of students have called it – came to class, as usual, wearing a dark… More

A Mind on the Right

– Paul Wachter, Swarthmore Bulletin, January, 2009.
Excerpt: Robert George ’77, a leading conservative public intellectual, remembers the precise moment that he was set on the path to becoming an academic: It was when he first encountered… More

The Conservative-Christian Big Thinker

– David Kirkpatrick, New York Times, December 16, 2009.
Excerpt: At the center of the event was Robert P. George, a Princeton University professor of jurisprudence and a Roman Catholic who is this country’s most influential conservative… More

“Sustained by Faith”: An interview with Robert P. George

– Kevin Spinale, America: The National Catholic Review, November 7, 2011.
As the holder of the McCormick Chair in Jurisprudence at Princeton University and the founding director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, is well known for… More


Remarks on Public Morality

– University of St. Thomas, February 2, 2005, YouTube.
This lecture was given on February 2, 2005, as part of the University of St. Thomas Archbishop Michael J. Miller Lecture Series, sponsored by the Center for Catholic Studies, Sr. Paula Jean… More

Robby George on the Banjo

– Published June 24, 2008 by nnlp35, YouTube.
Robert George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, plays the banjo after the First Things board meeting in 2008.

Matters of Principle: Unconstitutional Judicial Activism

– American Principles in Action, published August 5, 2009, YouTube.
Dr. Robert George, Founder of the American Principles Project, discusses the ways in which judicial activism has intruded upon the Constitution. For more information, visit our website at… More

What’s Sex Got to Do With It: Sexual Ethics and the Meaning of Marriage

– Love and Fidelity Network's Second Annual National Conference on Sexuality, Integrity, and the University, November 13, 2009, YouTube.
Summary: Today’s dominant views on sex and relationships often create a disconnect between sex and marriage. George contends that such views misrepresent the nature of sex and marriage by… More

Matters of Principle: The Cost of Pornography

– American Principles in Action, published December 18, 2009, YouTube.
American Principles Project Founder, Robert George, discusses the social costs of pornography and why the cultural influence of porn calls for principled action.

The Clash of Orthodoxies

– Manhattan Forum Lecture at the St. Anthony of Padua Institute, August 25, 2010, YouTube.
In this lecture, the eighth in the Manhattan Forum series, Dr. Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, tackles the issues at the heart of the… More

Robert George and Cornel West on Bloggingheads

– Princeton University, published December 15, 2010,
Robert George and Cornel West discuss irreducible human dignity, how to keep power from corrupting , the evil of greed, why the left is on the wrong side of history when it come to… More

What is Marriage?

– Keynote address at The Wheatley Institution Conference on Defense of the Family: Natural Law Perspectives, Brigham Young University, January 27, 2011, YouTube.

Natural Law, God, and Human Dignity

– Gospel and Culture Lecture at the Center for Faith & Work, March 20, 2011, YouTube.
Natural law theorists believe that since all humans are made in the image of God, every person possesses irreducible capacities for rationality, freedom, and moral discernment. Natural law… More

Religious Liberty and the Human Good, The Conversation

– Institute for American Values, May 29, 2012, YouTube.
From “Religious Liberty and the Human Good” a conversation with Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University. Hosted by David Blankenhorn,… More

The Undermining of the Family: A Long-term Project

– Can Do Australia's Voice, published on August 14, 2012, YouTube.
Professor Robert P. George, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, visited Sydney recently as keynote speaker at the John Paul II Leaders Forum. Praised by US… More

Religious Liberty and the Human Good

– Lecture at the University of New Orleans, January 24, 2013, published by Chris Surprenant, YouTube.
This talk took place on 1/24/2013 at the University of New Orleans as part of the Tocqueville Project’s Lectures on Liberty series. For more information, please visit… More

What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense

– The Wheatley Institution, April 10, 2013, YouTube.
Lecture entitled, “What is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense” given by Sherif Girgis, Ryan Anderson, and Robert George at The Wheatley Institution on April 10, 2013.

Address at Russell D. Moore Inauguration

– The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Washington, DC, September 10, 2013, YouTube.
Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, outlines the challenges for Christians in our society.

Dr. Robert P. George on His Letter to the President

– NewsmaxTV, September 25, 2013, YouTube.
Dr. Robert P. George, Chairman of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, joins Steve to discuss his letter to the President about attacks committed against… More

Was Jesus a Socialist? With Robert George and Ron Sider

– John W. Pope Lecture at the Clemson Institute for the Study of Capitalism, November 7, 2013, YouTube.
Distinguished scholars Robert P. George, Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, and Ron Sider,… More

2014 Cardinal O’Connor Keynote

– Georgetown University, January 20, 2014, YouTube.
The Keynote Address by Robert P. George, Princeton’s McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, is entitled, “Abortion and the Attack on Conscience” and took place on January… More

Robert George in Dialogue with Cornel West

– Video recording of discussion at Swarthmore College, February 10, 2014,    
Robert George and Cornel West talk discuss human dignity, the evils of greed, compassion v. love, and building deep democracy

The Nature and Basis of Religious Freedom

– Keynote address at Franciscan University of Steubenville’s conference on “Truth, Conscience, and Religious Freedom,” April 4-5, 2014, YouTube.
Dr. Robert George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University discusses the importance of asking questions in this excerpt from his talk entitled “The Nature and… More

10th Annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast

– Guest speaker at the 10th annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, Washington, DC, May 13, 2014, published by the American Principles Project, YouTube.
Robert George speaks at the Catholic National Prayer Breakfast on the trials of being a faithful christian in the modern world.

A Reflection on U.S. International Religious Freedom Policy

– Council on Foreign Relations, panel discussion, June 19, 2014.
Princeton University’s Robert P. George leads a conversation on U.S. international religious freedom policy fifteen years after the International Religious Freedom Act, as part of… More

Robert P. George Trio – Bluegrass

– With Michael Smith on guitar and David George on bass, published by Cafe Improv, August 23, 2014, YouTube.
Guitarist Michael Smith and guitarist-and-banjo-player Robby George offer an eclectic mix of American music from bluegrass instrumentals, to popular standards, to 60s folk numbers. They… More

Plough Interviews Robert P. George on Biblical Justice

– Plough Publishing, published October 8, 2014, YouTube.
Raised in West Virginia as the grandson of immigrant coal miners, Robert P. George is now McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University. All the same, his renown as a public… More

Faith, Sex, and Freedom

– Speech at Love and Fidelity Network's Seventh Annual National Conference on Sexuality, Integrity, and the University, Princeton University, November 8, 2014, YouTube.
Professor George will discuss the threats posed by the legal recognition of same-sex partnerships as “marriages,” especially when combined with “Sexual Orientation and… More

What is Marriage? A Philosophic-Juridical Dialogue

– Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, November 20, 2014, YouTube.
How can one describe marriage from the philosophic and juridical point of view? What differentiates other types of unions? The two scholars respond briefly to these questions — Robert… More

Address at SFLA’s 2015 National Conference

– Defenders of Life Award Speech, Students for Life of America, January 23, 2015, YouTube.
Students for Life of America (SFLA) is one of the nation’s most active pro-life organizations and the largest youth pro-life organization. We are the only national pro-life organization… More

Remarks on the Future of the Pro-Life Movement

– The SpeakOut Illinois 2015 conference, Illinois Family Institute, January 31, 2015, YouTube.
Professor Robert George, renowned scholar on religious liberty at Princeton University, spoke with IFI’s Monte Larrick at the recent pro-life SpeakOut Illinois conference.

Hauenstein Center American Conversations: Robert P. George and Cornel West

– A Dialogue on "A Workable Armistice in the Culture Wars," between keynote speakers, Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies, Grand Valley State University, April 2, 2015, YouTube.
Professors Robert P. George and Cornel West visited GVSU for the Hauenstein Center’s final American Conversations keynote of the 2014-2015 season. Their talk “A Workable… More

Do Not Be Ashamed of the Gospel

– Church of St. Gregory the Great, April 7, 2015, YouTube.
A year ago, Professor Robert George’s keynote address at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast drew national attention. He challenged Catholics to bear witness boldly to the sanctity of… More

The Case Against Divestment at Princeton University

– Princeton University, April 16, 2015, published by Jeremy Rosenthal, YouTube.
Professor Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, speaking as part of the panel discussion held at Princeton on April 16th, 2015. The full panel… More

Keynote Address at IWP Commencement

– Institute of World Politics, May 16, 2015, YouTube.
Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence a Princeton University, gave the keynote address at The Institute of World Politics Commencement Ceremony on May 16, 2015.

Robert P. George’s Wilberforce Award Speech

– Colson Center, published June 11, 2015, YouTube.
Dr. Robert P. George, recipient of the 2015 William Wilberforce Award, speaks on standing up for Christian values in an Ivy League institution.

Consequences of an Idea: The Social Cost of Redefining Marriage

– AWC Family Foundation Lecture at Hillsdale College, June 23, 2015, YouTube.
Advocates of redefining marriage assured the public that their proposal would injure no one’s rights or interests. Today it is clear that this is the very reverse of the truth. What are… More

Remarks at Jalsa Salana USA 2015

– Speech at the 67th Jalsa Salana (Annual Convention) of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA, Harrisburg, PA, August 15, 2015, YouTube.

Why We’re Losing Liberty

– Prager University online course, published September 7, 2015, YouTube.
Was the Constitution written in a way that was designed to protect freedom and limit the government’s size? Has it been effective in doing that? And what’s the Supreme… More

Reporting on Religious Persecution: A Global Challenge

– Panel discussion at the Newseum Institute, with panelists Katrina Lantos Swett, Libby Liu, Asia Akbar Shahid Ahmed, Former U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, and Tom Gjelten, September 21, 2015, YouTube.
Journalists and activist organizations reporting on the persecution of religious minorities around the world face challenges and dangers. This panel discussion features journalists and… More

C-SPAN Appearances

Follow the link to all of Robert George’s video lectures and discussions of religious freedom, U.S. foreign policy, immigration, the Constitution and more.

The Constitution and Morality

– Eighth Annual Rosenkranz Debate at Federalist Society’s 2015 National Lawyers Convention, with John O. McGinnis, moderated by Hon. William H. Pryor Jr., introduced by Eugene B. Meyer, Washington DC, November 14, 2015, YouTube.


Academic Positions

Harvard University Visiting Professor, Harvard Law School, 2012–2013; Fall, 2013; Fall, 2014 Princeton University McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, 1999– Director, James Madison… More