|Professor Brauch with the leadership of the CLS chapter|
I had a great visit to East Lansing, Michigan this week to discuss the existence of a higher law with about 80 Michigan State University College of Law students. Together we explored whether there is a transcendent standard of moral right and wrong that provides a basis for human law and a standard by which human law can be evaluated. We began by discussing Dr. Martin Luther King's appeal to a higher law to justify his willingness to disobey laws that protected racial segregation. We then discussed the rich heritage of higher law thinking found in the Anglo-American legal tradition (from Bracton to Coke, Blackstone, Jefferson, and King). And we discussed the deep skepticism that exists today about the existence of such a law.
Probably the most important part of our discussion was why the idea of a higher law is more than just an interesting philosophical or historical discussion. Whether there is a higher law matters deeply to how we approach such pressing issues as biotechnology and human rights today. The students were engaged and asked great questions. It was a joy to be with them.
Thanks to the warm and generous student organizations that sponsored my visit: Christian Legal Society, St. Thomas More Society, and the Federalist Society. And special thanks to CLS president Micaiah Owens who took care of all of the arrangements. It was a fun - and I hope meaningful - visit.
See Professor Brauch's scholarship related to professional development and ethical fromation on CEFLER's Regent Law Faculty Publications page >