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Bruce Ledewitz
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Bruce Ledewitz is Professor of Law at Duquesne University School of Law in Pittsburgh, where he has taught since 1980. He is a recognized expert in the fields of criminal law and constitutional law. His new book, Church, State, and the Crisis in American Secularism will be published on May 30, 2011 by Indiana University Press. He has been active in public life, serving as Secretary to the National Coalition Against the Death Penalty from 1985-1990. His Platform for Reform of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court was recently the subject of a statewide series of debates sponsored by the Pennsylvania League of Women Voters. He has written widely in both specialized legal journals and national media such as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the Chicago Tribune. Professor Ledewitz is the author of Hallowed Secularism: Theory, Belief, and Practice, and American Religious Democracy: Coming to Terms with the End of Secular Politics. Professor Ledewitz’ views on the role of religion in the 2008 Presidential campaign have been published in the Denver Post, Baltimore Sun, Newsday and other newspapers. Professor Ledewitz received a B.S.F.S. degree from Georgetown School of Foreign Service in 1974 and his J.D. from Yale Law School in 1977. He served as Law Clerk to the Honorable Robert Taylor, Federal District Judge, Eastern District of Tennessee, 1977-1979 and as a Assistant Public Defender in Allegheny County from 1979-1980. He is a listed co-author with Harry Jaffa of Original Intent and the Framers of the Constitution: Disputed Question (Regnery Gateway 1994).

Entries by Bruce Ledewitz

A New Understanding of Legislative Prayer

(1) Comments | Posted November 12, 2013 | 11:29 AM

Oral argument last week in the legislative prayer case, Town of Greece v. Galloway, produced just the kind of confused meandering by the Justices that both the critics and supporters of legislative prayer have long criticized. Legislative prayer is the practice of opening various kinds of governmental meetings and activities...

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Time to Repeal Campaign Contribution Limits

(11) Comments | Posted November 9, 2012 | 9:54 AM

This past presidential election campaign demonstrated that the Supreme Court has bequeathed to America the worst of all campaign finance regimes -- upholding campaign contribution limits to candidates, while striking down all independent spending limits, including restrictions on corporations.

The result of this combination of judicial decisions was not, as...

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Well, Don't We Liberals Hate the Public God?

(360) Comments | Posted June 29, 2011 | 1:15 PM

Ok, so GOP Rep. Todd Akin is a demagogue. He knew he was exaggerating when he said that "the heart of liberalism really is a hatred of God." Plenty of liberals are theists and many who are not are perfectly respectful of God (though there is a strain...

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Why I'm Glad That Torture Works

(64) Comments | Posted May 9, 2011 | 10:36 AM

John Yoo, author of the infamous torture memo that manipulated legal materials to justify the use of torture for interrogation during the Bush Administration, has been crowing all over the media that the death of Osama bin Laden shows that torture works. I'm glad that Yoo is able to make...

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A Fundamental Rights Ruling Masquerading Under the Commerce Clause

(90) Comments | Posted December 21, 2010 | 8:03 AM

Don't be fooled by all the talk about Congress' Commerce Power in the recent District Court decision holding the Obamacare health care mandate unconstitutional. Although couched in terms of commerce, the ruling actually involves a different area of constitutional law: fundamental rights. To see this, ask yourself whether the opponents...

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Why Fight About the Pledge of Allegiance?

(92) Comments | Posted March 19, 2010 | 10:29 AM

Yesterday, in an Op-ed in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Victor Bernard, who is affiliated with the Center for Inquiry, wrote a thoughtful and impassioned challenge to the recent Ninth Circuit decision upholding the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. Bernard was particularly critical of the court for...

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Netroots Nation Confronts Church and State

(6) Comments | Posted August 19, 2009 | 11:51 AM

Last week, at the Netroots Nation Convention in Pittsburgh, a panel debated a proposal concerning the future of the separation of church and state in America. The proposal was entitled, A New Progressive Vision for Church and State: How I Learned to Accept "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance...

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Arlen Specter: The Pennsylvania Perspective

(23) Comments | Posted April 29, 2009 | 10:17 AM

I was listening to Jim Roddey, Republican leader and Chief Executive of Allegheny County from 2000-2004 yesterday, reacting to the news that Arlen Specter was changing party affiliation. It struck me that the one aspect of the story that the national media was ignoring was how Arlen Specter had let...

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Vermont and Iowa Take Different Paths to Gay Marriage

(12) Comments | Posted April 15, 2009 | 4:02 PM

I love legislatures. When a legislature considers an issue, there is an opportunity to build coalitions. Ordinary people can communicate with their representatives. Compromises are possible. The process is open. Legislatures are where democracy happens.

That is why the action of the Vermont legislature overturning the gubernatorial veto of a...

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Secular Life in Post-Christian America

(284) Comments | Posted April 8, 2009 | 12:09 PM

Less than five years after Christian America's greatest political achievement -- the reelection of George W. Bush in 2004 -- Newsweek magazine announces "The Decline and Fall of Christian America" on its April 13 cover. The issue's lead article is "The End of Christian America" by Jon Meacham.

These stories,...

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President Obama Straddles the Wall of Separation

(7) Comments | Posted March 30, 2009 | 8:58 AM

President Barack Obama has nominated Federal District Judge David F. Hamilton to the federal 7th Circuit Court of Appeals. Nomination hearings are expected to begin this week. Hamilton seems assured of confirmation, especially since Indiana's Republican Senator, Richard Lugar, announced that he "enthusiastically" supports the nomination.

Because this is...

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The Religious/Secular Divide at the New School

(3) Comments | Posted March 8, 2009 | 8:27 AM

The New School For Social Research just concluded a conference on the Religious/Secular Divide in the United States. The Conference was held for two days, 3/5-6, to standing room only crowds at the Tishman Auditorium in New York City. The New School brought in many well known names, including Charles...

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The Fight for the Soul of Secularism

(259) Comments | Posted March 3, 2009 | 9:07 PM

Austin Dacey, the well-known atheist thinker, writes in The Secular Conscience that secularism is in danger of losing its soul to relativism. Dacey is part of new secular wave that is exploring topics that used to be thought of as "religious", such as the objectivity of values, the meaning of...

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The Future of Secularism in American Politics

(12) Comments | Posted December 8, 2008 | 10:13 AM

This may seem a strange time to discuss the future of secularism, since we have just concluded a faith-saturated presidential election campaign. From the start, from Barack Obama's 2006 Keynote Address to the Sojourners Call to Renewal Conference to the over-the-top faith confessions by Obama, Clinton, and Edwards, the Democrats...

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