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FUMARE

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

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Naples News Reports That Ave Maria Law Gets ABA Approval

From the Naples News, Tuesday, February 17, 2009:
The Ave Maria School of Law has received a final blessing from the American Bar Association for its move to Southwest Florida and will relocate to Collier County from Ann Arbor, Mich., on July 1.
......

Ave Maria founder Tom Monaghan, who sits on the boards of both Ave Maria University and the law school, served as keynote speaker for the event. Monaghan said the trials and tribulations that surrounded the sanctioning of the move are in the past now.

"We were originally going to be located on 1,600 acres near the Domino's headquarters in Michigan, but we couldn't get the zoning approval, so we decided to come to the best place in the world - Southwest Florida," said Monaghan, who founded Domino's Pizza in 1960 and once owned the Detroit Tigers.

Monaghan said many of the same problems that plagued the opening of Ave Maria University also plagued the law school's move to Naples.

"It's proved incredibly difficult," he said. "There were some faculty members who really dug in their heels and resisted the move, in addition to waging a smear-campaign in the media. With the final hurdles out of the way for the move to Florida, we're a little wounded, but the most important components are still intact."

Those components, Monaghan said, include a world-class faculty and the goal of establishing a top-tier Catholic law school.

"There's a real need to have a law school that produces ethical lawyers," Monaghan said. "Lawyers run the country, and unfortunately, most of the law schools are blatantly liberal. This country needs a school like the Ave Maria School of Law to bring God back into our courtrooms and back into society. Everything is in place for us now to become one of the finest Catholic law schools in the country, and one of the finest law schools, period."

A couple of observations:

1. The article notes that "Ave Maria founder Tom Monaghan, who sits on the boards of both Ave Maria University and the law school, served as keynote speaker for the event." Can anyone say "conflict of interest"?

2. "... we decided to come to the best place in the world - Southwest Florida." Monaghan has this quirk about always using superlatives, which gets more and more unrealistic the longer you listen to him. It must be the salesman in him.

3. "Lawyers run the country, and unfortunately, most of the law schools are blatantly liberal. This country needs a school like the Ave Maria School of Law to bring God back into our courtrooms and back into society." That's an unfortunate quote, the type of quote which harms AMSL's credibility among the legal community. Monaghan needs to be more knowledgeable about AMSL's mission and needs to discuss it thoughtfully in terms of natural law and the Catholic intellectual tradition, instead of using language which is so overly simplistic and inaccurate ("Law schools are blatantly liberal!" "Bring God into the courtrooms!") But I don't think that Monaghan has the intellectual ability to articulate the mission of AMSL. It's almost proof that Monaghan didn't start AMSL himself, but that the original mission came from elsewhere (i.e., Safranek, Myers, et al.)

4. "There were some faculty members who really dug in their heels and resisted the move, in addition to waging a smear-campaign in the media." No comment from Monaghan on whether falsely accusing someone of sexual harassment is an example of a smear-campaign or not.

UPDATE: AveWatch has commentary.

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