The 2016 Joseph T. McCullen Jr. Symposium: Emerging Questions in Adoption Law and Catholic Social Thought

VLS seal

The 2016 Joseph T. McCullen Jr. Symposium on Catholic Social Thought and Law brings together leading scholars to explore Emerging Questions in Adoption Law and Catholic Social Thought. Topics include embryo adoption, international adoption and state nondiscrimination mandates applied to religious adoption agencies. The event will take place on Friday, April 22, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., in the Martin G. McGuinn '67 Ceremonial Courtroom (Room 201) at Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law (299 North Spring Mill Road, Villanova, PA). This program is approved by the Pennsylvania Continuing Legal Education Board for 3 CLE substantive credits.

To register for this event, click here.

 

Registration: 8:30 a.m.
 

Welcoming Remarks: 8:55 a.m.

 

Panel 1: 9-10 a.m., “Embryo Adoption: The Legal, Human Rights and Social Justice Questions”

An estimated one million human embryos in the United States are cryopreserved as a result of assisted reproductive technology practices. Decisions regarding the future of these embryos can be morally, emotionally and legally fraught. This panel will address the complicated legal questions raised by embryo adoption and what bearing embryo adoptions have on the practice of gestated child adoption.

  • Sarah-Vaughan Brakman, PhD, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Villanova University
  • Claire Horner, JD, Clinical Ethics Fellow, Center for Biomedical Ethics Education and Research, Alden March Bioethics Institute, Albany Medical Center

Panel moderated by David S. Caudill, JD, PhD, Professor of Law and Arthur M. Goldberg ’66 Family Chair, Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law

 

Panel 2: 10:05-11:05 a.m., “Whither International Adoption?”

International adoption can be a complex institution, raising profound cross-cultural issues about family life, gender and global inequality. Some urge subsidiarity as a guiding principle, others call for greater development of domestic adoption within each nation and still others question whether these responses truly protect the poor and promote the common good.

  • David M. Smolin, JD, The Harwell G. Davis Professor of Constitutional Law and Director of the Center for Children, Law and Ethics at Cumberland School of Law, Samford University
  • Sally J. Scholz, PhD, Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Department of Philosophy, Villanova University

Panel moderated by Michele R. Pistone, JD, LLM, Professor of Law and Director of Clinic for Asylum, Refugee and Emigrant Services, Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law

 

Break: 11:05-11:15 a.m.

 

Panel 3: 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m., “Free Exercise, Catholic Adoption Agencies and State Nondiscrimination Mandates: Liberty, Equality and Compromise”

States have handled differently the balance between religious liberty and civil equality for the LGBT community. This panel will explore the different responses and the legal, religious and ethical dilemmas presented by states’ nondiscrimination mandates. This discussion will examine the Utah compromise and other legal options for respecting civil equality while accommodating the participation of the religiously affiliated social service agencies.

  • Robin Fretwell Wilson, JD, Roger and Stephany Joslin Professor of Law and Director of the Program in Family Law and Policy, University of Illinois College of Law
  • Stephen Napier, PhD, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Villanova University

Panel moderated by Michelle Madden Dempsey, JD, LLM, D Phil, Associate Dean for Faculty Research and Development and Professor of Law, Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law

 

Concluding Remarks: 12:15 p.m.

 

The annual Catholic Social Thought and Law symposium is named for Joseph T. McCullen Jr., in recognition of his generous support of Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law.