Patrick McKinley Brennan came to Villanova in 2004 as the inaugural holder of the John F. Scarpa Chair in Catholic Legal Studies. Previously, he was Professor of Law and Vice Dean in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, Arizona State University, where he taught for eight years.
In addition to more than seventy articles, essays, and book chapters, Brennan has published five books: Christian Legal Thought: Materials and Cases (Foundation Press, 2017) (with Brewbaker), By Nature Equal: The Anatomy of a Western Insight (Princeton University Press, 1999) (with Coons); Civilizing Authority: Society, State, and Church (Lexington, 2007); The Vocation of the Child (Eerdmans, 2008); Legal Affinities: Explorations in the Legal Form of Thought (Carolina Academic Press, 2014) (with Powell and Sammons).
Brennan has regularly taught constitutional law, administrative law, federal courts, criminal law, and a wide range of courses in jurisprudence, law and religion, and political theory.
Brennan organizes the John F. Scarpa Conference on Law, Politics, and Culture at Villanova. Speakers at the annual conference have included Justice Antonin Scalia, Martha Nussbaum, Joseph Vining, Jeremy Waldron, Geoff Stone, Jesse Choper, Lee Bollinger, Roderick Hills, Jane Schacter, Paul Kahn, Kristin Hickman, John Manning, Gillian Metzger, H. Jefferson Powell, Henry Paul Monaghan, Amy Uelmen, Richard Garnett, Kathryn Tanner, Kent Greenawalt, John Ferejohn, William Eskridge, John Finnis, Judge John T. Noonan, Jr., Peter Steinfels, Bryan Hehir, and Candace Vogler, among many others including William Cardinal Levada, Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., and Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, OFM, Cap.
In 2014, Brennan was awarded the degree D. Litt. (honoris causa) by the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology (Berkeley), where he serves as a Fellow. Brennan serves as an elected member of the editorial board of the American Journal of Jurisprudence and has also served as an elected member of the executive council of the American Catholic Philosophical Association.
Following law school, Brennan clerked for the Honorable John T. Noonan, Jr., on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, and later was associated with major law firms in San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
Office: Rm 224, Law School Building
Berkeley Law (Boalt Hall), U.C. Berkeley, JD
University of Toronto, MA
Yale College, BA in philosophy with honors and distinction