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66 Fordham L. Rev. 1089 (1998)


Two old friends and colleagues died in the spring of 1997. Both share with me a Baptist boyhood and a Roman Catholic middle age. Both showed me that the relevance of religion to a lawyer's work is best approached with believers' irony.

Frank Booker, descendant of Cherokee Indians, Missouri farmers, railroaders, and Baptist ministers, taught law at Stetson and then Notre Dame, with a style all his own and with a steady eye on how important the law is. After his funeral, one of his students remembered for me a day in Frank's first-year torts class. They were several weeks into law school and were full of the majesty of Cardozo's Palsgraf opinion—hell-bent on acculturation into the law. Frank summoned up his preacher's voice for them: "Remember," he said, "the common law is no friend of the common man."

Bill Lewers was a Holy Cross priest. He taught at Kentucky and Illinois before he became a Roman Catholic and found his way to Notre Dame. Somebody once asked him why he became a Catholic. He said he came in because he believed in the social teachings of the Church. And then, he said, he looked around and found out he was the only one who did.

The honor I owe my friends moves me to what I hope is a radical point for this project. The point is this: Faith tends to subvert legal order. Or, as Bill Lewers would say—it doesn't much, but it should.

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Religion Law Commons



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