A Reformed Liberalism: Michael McConnell's Contributions to Christian Jurisprudence

Daniel Dreisbach & Mark David Hall, Great Christian Jurists in American History (Cambridge University Press, Forthcoming)

University of Georgia School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2018-15

24 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2018 Last revised: 30 Apr 2018

See all articles by Nathan S. Chapman

Nathan S. Chapman

University of Georgia School of Law

Date Written: 2017

Abstract

Michael McConnell is one of the most influential constitutional scholars of the past thirty years. He has written a great deal about religious liberty, but relatively little about how his own religious beliefs may relate to his constitutional jurisprudence. This essay is the first to explore the connection between McConnell’s religious views and scholarship. The essay engages with a short piece by McConnell that sketches the outlines of a “reformed liberalism.” McConnell argued that reformed Christian theology is compatible with the classical liberalism that animated the framing of the U.S. Constitution. Though he did not develop this account into a full-blown theory, McConnell’s view deserves to be considered alongside others, whether they are liberal theories that downplay the importance of religion, or Christian political theologies that reject liberalism. McConnell’s view also illuminates his scholarship on religious liberty, religion in public discourse, and judicial humility.

Keywords: Michael McConnell, reformed liberalism, religious liberty, church and state, liberal theory, political theology, conservative legal theory, liberalism, reformed theology

Suggested Citation

Chapman, Nathan S., A Reformed Liberalism: Michael McConnell's Contributions to Christian Jurisprudence (2017). Daniel Dreisbach & Mark David Hall, Great Christian Jurists in American History (Cambridge University Press, Forthcoming), University of Georgia School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2018-15, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3164940

Nathan S. Chapman (Contact Author)

University of Georgia School of Law ( email )

225 Herty Drive
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(706) 542-5235 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.uga.edu/profile/nathan-s-chapman

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