Patrick McKinley Brennan came to Villanova in 2004 as the inaugural holder of the John F. Scarpa Chair in Catholic Legal Studies. Previously, Brennan was Professor of Law and Vice Dean at Arizona State University College of Law. Brennan clerked for Hon. John T. Noonan, Jr., on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco.
Professor Brennan works in the tradition of reflection on natural law and natural rights to examine a wide range of contemporary questions in jurisprudence and public law, including sovereignty, equality, authority, the rule of law, constitutionalism, the family, and punishment and forgiveness, as well as topics in administrative law, constitutional law, federal jurisdiction, religious liberty, and criminal law. He has regularly taught constitutional law, administrative law, federal courts, criminal law, and a wide range of courses in jurisprudence and in law and religion. Brennan has published four books and some seventy articles, book chapters, and essays, and is currently completing two books. His articles and essays have appeared in the principal law reviews of the University of Pennsylvania, University of Michigan, Boston College, Emory University, University of Notre Dame, Villanova University, Fordham University, Pepperdine University, and the University of San Diego, among many others. They have also appeared in such peer-reviewed journals as the American Journal of Jurisprudence, Review of Metaphysics, Law and Philosophy, Punishment and Society, Journal of Law and Religion, American Catholic Studies, Journal of Catholic Legal Studies, and Journal of Catholic Social Thought.
Professor Brennan has been a visiting professor in the Boston College Law School and a senior research fellow at the Robbins Collection of Canon and Civil Law at U.C. Berkeley, and has served as an elected member of the board of the American Catholic Philosophical Association.
At Villanova, Brennan organizes the annual John F. Scarpa Conference on Law, Politics, and Culture. Keynote speakers have included the late Avery Cardinal Dulles, Justice Antonin Scalia, Martha Nussbaum, Joseph Vining, John Ferejohn, William Eskridge, John Finnis, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, and Judge John T. Noonan, Jr. Other speakers have included Jeremy Waldron, Geoff Stone, Jesse Choper, Lee Bollinger, Roderick Hills, Jane Schacter, Kristin Hickman, Jefferson Powell, Henry Paul Monaghan, Amy Uelmen, Richard Garnett, Kent Greenawalt, Peter Steinfels, Bryan Hehir, Candace Vogler, William Cardinal Levada, and many others.
In 2014, Brennan was awarded the degree D. Litt. (honoris causa) by the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology (Berkeley).
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Berkeley Law (Boalt Hall), U.C. Berkeley, J.D.
University of Toronto, M.A.
Yale College, B.A. in philosophy with honors and distinction.