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2008 AALS News 1 (2008)

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the president's message

Institutional Pluralism

ByJohn H. Garve
The following is the Presidential Address ofJohn H. Garveg before the House of Representatives at the 2oo8


Annual Meeting inJanuag.
   I consider it a great honor to
have been elected President of
the Association of American Law
Schools. I mean this most sin-
cerely. If I look at it dispassion-
ately, I must confess that I am an
unlikely candidate. Not for lack of
attachment to the Association. I
have been involved in its affairs for
32 years as member of the con-
gregation, speaker, section head,
committee chair. I have met many
of my best friends there. So I don't
mean unlikely in that sense. I
feel as though I owe a great deal to
the AALS, and a term as President
won't begin to repay the debt.
   But I sometimes feel as though
my relation to the Association has
been like Disraeli's to Gladstone
- the leader of Her Majesty's Loyal
Opposition. Disraeli was the leader
of the protectionist wing of the
Conservative Party, and often at
odds with William Gladstone, the
Liberal Party leader and four times
prime minister. Though I esteem



[in this issue]
9     Conference on Clinical
      Legal Education

11    Mid-Year Meeting

19    Proposals for Professional
      Development Programs
21    Open Source Program Proposals


the Association above all things,
am attached to it by bonds of per-
sonal friendship and duty, and am
prepared to defend it against all
enemies foreign and domestic, yet
I find I am often a critic at home in
her councils.
   Let me give some examples.
Most of my career I have taught at a
public university, the University of
Kentucky. But for the last 14 years
I have taught at Catholic schools
Notre Dame and Boston College.
Those schools, like a number of
religiously affiliated law schools,
have a particular interest in re-
cruiting faculty who feel a special
commitment to the university's
religious mission. At BC and
Notre Dame this doesn't mean
just Catholics; but it does imply a
certain appreciation for the link
between faith and one's vocation as
a lawyer. This culture is part of the
appeal of religiously affiliated law
schools. I found myself wondering,
is there something the AALS can
do to help them find what they are
looking for?
   I would not want to ask candi-
dates, on the AALS Recruitment
Conference form, to list their
religious affiliation. It's not a crazy
idea. We ask about race and sex.
But it would be wrong for state
schools like Kentucky to consider
religious affiliation, so why tempt
them? I would feel uncomfortable


Dean John H. Garveg, Bgston College
     2008 AALS President


about injecting religion into hir-
ing practices even at private schools
like Cornell and Tulane (to pick
two non-religious private schools).
The solution I proposed was to let
religiously affiliated law schools
hold a reception open to all candi-
dates, and let candidates self-iden-
tify. It took a few years to sell this
idea to the Association. The chief
reservation was that most standard
of bureaucratic concerns - If we
let you do it, we're going to have to
let Ioo other groups do it too. I
suspect there was also an element
of uncertainty - about allowing
avowedly religious groups to play
an approved role in the recruiting
process. There is in our culture a
well respected school of thought
which holds that we shouldn't dis-
cuss religion in public, far less give
its adherents a semi-official role
in things like hiring, education,
zoning, etc. Eventually we settled
on the idea that the Section on Law
and Religion could hold a recep-
tion, which we now do.

                     Continued on page 2


Printed as a Public Service by West Law School Publishing and Foundation Press.
                 STANFORD LAW LIBRARY

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