by Amanda Hollis-Brusky and Joshua C. Wilson
Reviewed by Daniel Brown
The conservative religious right in the United States, disappointed by national electoral politics, considered society as a whole and the legal system in particular, an enemy to be confronted in order to be faithful to their own convictions. Given that premise, several charismatic leaders—Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and Tom Monaghan-- chose to mount a concerted attack on the legal establishment for its radical transformation by creating a cadre of fervent lawyers willing to undertake this revolution. They could have chosen to marshal their considerable wealth to infiltrate established religious law schools by endowing chairs and scholarships--Notre Dame and Baylor, for example. But they considered those very schools to be the problem. Or they might have chosen to establish networking seminars for prospective and practicing attorneys to carry the legal agenda, like the Blackstone Legal Fellowship, but their personal influence would be limited. What they actually did, the most expensive option, they founded entirely new law schools to embody their vision for making distinctively Christian lawyers. This carefully researched study examines the intellectual and financial resources needed to create and sustain the structures for a successful, influential social institution. This book carefully examines the law schools in question—Robertson’s Regent, Falwell’s Liberty and Monaghan’s Ave Maria—their faculty, student bodies, law reviews, and graduates. All three schools are placing significantly more alumni in government positions, educational institutions and public interest law than the national average. But are they being taken seriously in important places or are they struggling to enter the academic marketplace? Was it worth the price? It remains to be seen.