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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Goodbye, Good Man

It is with sorrow that I report to Fumare's readership the firing of Prof. Charles Rice by Ave Maria School of Law's current dean, Bernard Dobranski.

Dr. Rice is a Notre Dame Law School professor emeritus, an internationally-acclaimed author with several books on the Natural Law, current EWTN host of "The Good Code," which covers the same themes as his books, and -- until last Friday -- teacher of arguably the most fundamental class offered at Ave Maria School of Law: Jurisprudence. (Prof. Rice taught other classes at AMSL, including First Amendment, but none more crucial to the professed mission of the law school than Jurisprudence.)

Click here to read Dobranski's August 11 letter to Prof. Rice. Given what the letter sets out to accomplish, it should surprise nobody that Dobranski blames the firing on Prof. Rice's own letter of May 5, 2006. Interestingly, Dobranski waited until just after the recent New York Times article and other negative publicity -- the truth of which must have stung -- before lashing out as he has.

In the meantime, it is the current and future student body of Ave Maria School of Law that will most suffer from Dobranski's latest misstep.

UPDATE: Don't just take my word for it. Here is what the law school said about Prof. Rice before he disagreed with Dean Dobranski:

Charles E. Rice will teach Constitutional Law and Jurisprudence at Ave Maria School of Law. He is a Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame Law School, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1969.

"I regard it as a privilege to be a visiting professor at the Ave Maria School of Law," said Rice. "Ave Maria, unlike any other law school, combines a solid, nuts-and-bolts legal education with a systematic study of the moral and social teachings of the church and their application to the law and society."

Rice is an internationally recognized Constitutional Law scholar. He has authored a number of books, articles and briefs involving the right-to-life, euthanasia, and bioethics, and serves as a co-chair of Free Speech Advocates, a project of Catholics United for Life.

Rice has been a consultant to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and a member of the Education Appeal Board at the U.S. Department of Education (1981-93). In 1996, he was named to the board of trustees of Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio.

A member of the New York Bar since 1957, Rice engaged in private practice in New York City until 1961 and has taught law as a lecturer at C.W. Post College and New York University, and as a professor at Fordham University.

Rice received an A.B. degree from the College of Holy Cross, a Juris Doctor from Boston College Law School, and a LL.M. and J.S.D. from New York University.
UPDATE TWO: On August 15, Professor Rice responded to Dean Dobranski. Click here.