When I wrote you last year, I had just joined the Regent Law faculty and the Robertson Center for Constitutional Law was just an idea. A year later, much has changed!
With your help, in June of 2020 we established the Robertson Center for Constitutional Law. Our Center strategically pairs advocacy and scholarship to advance first principles in constitutional law, including originalism, separation of powers, limited government, freedom of speech, and religious liberty.
Think of the Center’s mission as a series of three concentric circles. In the core, you’ll find our law students. Training them is the heart of our mission. In the next circle out, you’ll find the courts and the legal academy. We want to be more than just an “academic” center; we want to put our work and ideas directly before the courts (while training our students to do the same). Finally, in the last circle out, you’ll find the culture. We must educate all Americans about the importance of constitutional values if those values are to be preserved and defended.
We’ve been blessed with great partners and important work. Our Advisory Board includes Hon. John Ashcroft, Hon. Kenneth Starr, Jay Sekulow, Hon. Walter Kelley, former congressman Bob McEwen, former Deputy Solicitor General Tom Hungar, several former state supreme court justices and other federal and state court judges. Many faculty members have also given their time to the Center, including professors Hernandez, Duane, and Jacob.
The Center filed its first brief in May 2020—before we even formally launched. We represented former Indiana Senator Daniel Coats and former Congressman David Weldon in New York v. Department of Health and Human Services. Their brief explained the meaning of legislation they sponsored protecting the conscience rights of healthcare workers.
In June of 2020, the Center made its debut in the United States Supreme Court. We filed an amicus brief in a major case involving the meaning of the Free Exercise Clause, Fulton v City of Philadelphia. The Center’s brief explained why stare decisis should not prevent the court from overruling Employment Division v. Smith. We were honored to have Ken Starr work closely with us and sign the brief. That case was argued in the U.S. Supreme Court on November 4.
The Center’s brief in Fulton serves as the basis for a scholarly article that assesses the cultural impact of the limited religious protections offered by Smith. That article, titled Fulton and the Future of Free Exercise, is forthcoming in the Regent University Law Review.
And this semester, we collaborated with Judge Jeffrey Sutton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to launch a new course focusing on state constitutional law.
The Center’s first few months have been busy. We’re already making an impact in the courts and in the classroom. I invite you to read more about the Center (and check out our briefs and articles), at https://constitutionallaw.regent.edu/. There, you’ll also find a link where you can donate to our work. We’re committed to stewarding your gifts wisely—and to operating the Center on a limited budget without taking tuition dollars from current programs.
I hope you’ll consider a gift to the Robertson Center for Constitutional Law before the end of the year.
These are exciting times at Regent Law. I hope you’ll join me in supporting the work of the Center. Together, we can have a powerful impact on our students, the legal academy, and our Nation.
Bradley J. Lingo
Executive Director, Robertson Center for Constitutional Law
Associate Professor, Regent University School of Law