Skip to main content

George, Robert P. 1955- (Robert Peter George)

George, Robert P. 1955- (Robert Peter George)

PERSONAL:

Born July 10, 1955, in Morgantown, WV; son of Joseph Michael and Catherine Victoria George; married Cindy Schrom, December 11, 1982; children: David, Rachel. Education: Swarthmore College, B.A., 1977; Harvard University, J.D., M.T.S., 1981; Oxford University, Ph.D., 1986; University of Steubenville, D.Ch.E., 2000; Spring Arbor University, L.L.D., 2001; Institute for the Psychological Sciences, L.H.D., 2002; Gonzaga University, L.L.D., 2002; Hillsdale College, Sc.D., 2003; Union University, D.Litt., 2003.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Princeton University, 244 Corwin Hall, Princeton, NJ 08544. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Oxford University, Oxford, England, lecturer at New College, 1982-85, Robinson & McElwee law firm, Charleston, WV, Of Counsel 1990—; U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Washington, DC, presidential appointee, 1993-98; Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, from assistant professor to professor, 1986-99, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, 1999—, director, James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, 2000—; Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, John Dewey Lecturer in Philosophy of Law, 2007. Visiting fellow, Oxford University, New College, 1988.

MEMBER:

Council on Foreign Relations, Institute on Religion and Democracy (2001—), Faith and Reason Institute (advisory council, 2001—); University of Pennsylvania Center for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society (member of director's advisory group, 2002—).

AWARDS, HONORS:

Supreme Court of the U.S. Judicial Fellowship; Justice Tom C. Clark Award, from the U.S. Supreme Court, 1990; Bradley Prize for Intellectual and Civic Achievement and the Philip Merrill Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Liberal Arts, both from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, 2005; Silver Gavel Award, from the American Bar Association; Paul Bator Award, from the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy; holds numerous honorary degrees.

WRITINGS:

Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality, Clarendon Press (Oxford, England), 1993.

In Defense of Natural Law, Clarendon Press (New York, NY), 1999.

The Clash of Orthodoxies: Law, Religion, and Morality in Crisis, Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI) Books (Wilmington, DE), 2001.

(With Patrick Lee) Body-Self Dualism in Contemporary Ethics and Politics, Cambridge University Press (New York, NY), 2008.

(With Christopher Tollefsen) Embryo: A Defense of Human Life, Doubleday (New York, NY), 2008.

EDITOR

Natural Law Theory: Contemporary Essays, Clarendon Press (Oxford, England), 1992.

The Autonomy of Law: Essays on Legal Positivism, Clarendon Press (Oxford, England), 1996.

Natural Law, Liberalism, and Morality: Contemporary Essays, Clarendon Press (Oxford, England), 1996.

Natural Law and Moral Inquiry: Ethics, Metaphysics, and Politics in the Work of Germain Grisez, Georgetown University Press (Washington, DC), 1998.

Great Cases in Constitutional Law, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 2000.

(With Christopher Wolfe) Natural Law and Public Reason, Georgetown University Press (Washington, DC), 2000.

(With Sotirios A. Barber) Constitutional Politics: Essays on Constitution Making, Maintenance, and Change, Princeton University Press (Princeton, NJ), 2001.

Natural Law, Ashgate (Burlington, VT), 2003.

(With Jean Bethke Elshtain) The Meaning of Marriage: Family, State, Market, and Morals, Spence Publishing Company (Dallas, TX), 2006.

Works have been translated into Spanish.

SIDELIGHTS:

Robert P. George was born July 10, 1955, in Morgantown, West Virginia. He attended Swarthmore College, earning a bachelor of arts degree in 1977. He then went on to Harvard University, earning both a juris doctorus and a master of theological studies in 1981, and he earned a doctoral degree from Oxford University in 1986. He has also earned many law degrees and doctorates from various universities, including a doctor of chemical engineering degree and a litterarum doctor. While working toward his graduate degree at Oxford University, George served as a lecturer at New College from 1982 to 1985. He later returned to the university as a visiting fellow in 1988. In 1990, George joined Robinson & McElwee law firm in Charleston, West Virginia, where he continues to serve as Of Counsel. He also served as a presidential appointee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in Washington, DC, from 1993 to 1998. In 1986, George joined the faculty at Princeton University in New Jersey, starting out as an assistant professor and working his way up to full professor, and he became McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence in 1999. He also serves as director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions. In 2007, George served as the John Dewey Lecturer in Philosophy of Law at Harvard University. George has received numerous awards over the course of his career, including the Justice Tom C. Clark Award, from the U.S. Supreme Court, in 1990; the Bradley Prize for Intellectual and Civic Achievement and the Philip Merrill Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Liberal Arts, both from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, in 2005; the Silver Gavel Award, from the American Bar Association; and the Paul Bator Award, from the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy. In addition, George holds numerous honorary degrees. George is the author or editor of numerous volumes pertaining to law, politics, and the U.S. Constitution.

George edited Great Cases in Constitutional Law, a collection of the stories of various important cases overseen by the U.S. Supreme Court through the years, almost all of which altered, in some way, future law making by the Supreme Court. George shows how certain cases resonated with both the public and the power of the Supreme Court, and often included very extreme reactions to either side of the case. The cases that George analyzes in Great Cases in Constitutional Law include Dred Scott v. Sandford Brown, Brown v. Board of Education, and Roe v. Wade. Vernon Ford, in a review of the book for Booklist, stated succinctly that "the central argument is that the Supreme Court is not always supreme." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly found the assorted essays to be "scholarly but accessible," and concluded that the book "thoughtfully explains the views of those who advocate more of the original Constitution, and less of the Supreme Court, in American political life."

In The Clash of Orthodoxies: Law, Religion, and Morality in Crisis, George discusses the twenty-first century attitudes toward the separation of government, religion, and morality. In the past, these three subjects were inextricably linked in the minds of most Americans. In the twenty-first century, though, any grouping of government, religion, and morality is often perceived as an offense and can result in legal action. George advocates a return to what he considers to be Judeo-Christian morals, which he also refers to as "secular orthodoxy." Carol Iannone, a contributor to the National Review, commented that "George aims to puncture the notion that secular liberalism is merely a matter of tolerance and procedure, possessing no substantive vision of its own. He shows instead how it is actually based on definite, if faulty, ideas about human nature and human life, and how under the guise of its supposed neutrality, it is aggressively imposing its vision on the rest of us." Throughout The Clash of Orthodoxies, George examines issues pertaining to sexual behavior, marriage, and family, attempting to define a stable, strong family foundation. Iannone concluded that "George has done a great service in demonstrating that traditional morality still has an authoritative role to play in modern life."

The Meaning of Marriage: Family, State, Market, and Morals, which was edited by George with Jean Bethke Elshtain, addresses the validity of the issue of legalizing same-sex marriage. The book consists of a series of essays that analyze marriage and family and what these words mean in a larger historic context. Jason Lee Steorts, a contributor to the National Review, noted that "many pages are devoted to cataloguing the social benefits of bundling together marriage, procreation, and sex, and to noting the [alleged] mischief that their unbundling has done at all levels of society. These claims are … supported … by a wealth of social-science data. Whether they are useful is another question."

Written with Christopher Tollefsen, Embryo: A Defense of Human Life marks the thirty-fifth anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which overturned U.S. state and federal laws restricting or outlawing abortion that conflicted with the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, regarding a constitutional right to privacy. George is against this ruling for both moral and legal reasons, and while his moral choices are personal, his opinions regarding the legal ramifications of the case are quite clear. According to George, the Supreme Court had no valid reason to overturn the laws that had been made by individual states regarding how they intended to handle abortions. The decision, George asserts, went against the Constitution, which clearly delineates how laws should be adhered to based upon the positioning of individual states versus the federal government. Critics varied widely in their opinion of the book, most seemingly swayed by the subject matter. In an interview with Justin Taylor for the Between Two Worlds Web log, George remarked: "The justices who manufactured a right to abortion in Roe [v. Wade] violated and dishonored the very Constitution they purported to interpret by substituting their own moral and political judgments for those of the elected representatives of the people." A reviewer for Publishers Weekly, however, commented that "this book provides no compelling new evidence about the moral status of the embryo." Wesley J. Smith, in a review for the National Review, remarked that "while George and Tollefsen write very intelligently and mount their case with impeccable logical precision, the book is highly readable and their argument readily accessible to the average reader."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

America, December 24, 2007, John F. Kavanaugh, "In Defense of Human Life 2," review of Embryo: A Defense of Human Life, p. 8.

American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, January 1, 1998, Patrick Lee, review of Natural Law Theory: Contemporary Essays, p. 136.

American Journal of Jurisprudence, January 1, 1997, Steven D. Smith, review of Natural Law, Liberalism, and Morality: Contemporary Essays, p. 299; January 1, 2000, Daniel N. Robinson, review of In Defense of Natural Law, p. 117.

American Political Science Review, September 1, 1994, Richard C. Sinopoli, review of Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality, p. 734; March 1, 2000, Stanley C. Brubaker, review of In Defense of Natural Law, p. 174.

American Spectator, March 1, 2008, "Wise Counsel," review of Embryo, p. 76.

Australian Journal of Political Science, March 1, 2001, Damian Grace, review of Natural Law and Moral Inquiry: Ethics, Metaphysics, and Politics in the Work of Germain Grisez, p. 206.

Booklist, April 1, 2000, Vernon Ford, review of Great Cases in Constitutional Law, p. 1417.

Cambridge Law Journal, March 1, 1995, William Lucy, review of Making Men Moral, p. 176.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, February 1, 2007, B. Weston, review of The Meaning of Marriage: Family, State, Market, and Morals, p. 1063.

Christianity Today, June 1, 2006, "The Phone Book Test: Robert P. George Explains How a Simple Experiment Reveals the Great Divide in Our Culture," author interview, p. 44; July 1, 2006, review of The Meaning of Marriage, p. 58.

Commonweal, September 27, 2002, review of The Clash of Orthodoxies: Law, Religion, and Morality in Crisis, p. 18; May 23, 2008, "In the Beginning," review of Embryo, p. 26.

Conscience, June 22, 2003, review of The Clash of Orthodoxies, p. 47.

Contemporary Review, March 1, 1997, Radmila May, review of The Autonomy of Law: Essays on Legal Positivism, p. 159.

Criminal Justice Ethics, June 22, 1994, David A.J. Richards, review of Making Men Moral, pp. 93-101.

Ethics, July 1, 1995, Danny Scoccia, review of Making Men Moral, p. 943; October 1, 2001, William H. Wilcox, review of In Defense of Natural Law, p. 148; January 1, 2002, Philip L. Quinn, review of Natural Law and Moral Inquiry, p. 381.

First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, August 1, 2000, Gregory J. Sullivan, review of Great Cases in Constitutional Law, p. 68; February 1, 2002, review of The Clash of Orthodoxies, p. 74; November 1, 2006, Erin M. Palazzolo, review of The Meaning of Marriage, p. 61; March 1, 2008, "Robert P. George Recently Offered a Thoughtful Response upon Receiving the Sidney Hook Memorial Award at the Meeting of the National Association of Scholars in Cambridge, Massachusetts," author information, p. 69.

International Philosophical Quarterly, December 1, 1999, Anthony J. Lisska, review of Natural Law and Moral Inquiry, p. 479.

Issues in Law & Medicine, March 22, 2008, review of Embryo, p. 311.

Journal of Church and State, June 22, 2007, J. Budziszewski, review of The Meaning of Marriage, p. 558.

Journal of Law and Religion, June 22, 2001, Kevin P. Lee, review of Making Men Moral, p. 835.

Journal of Religion, July 1, 2000, Darlene Fozard Weaver, review of Natural Law and Moral Inquiry, p. 538.

Library Journal, March 15, 2000, Steven Anderson, review of Great Cases in Constitutional Law, p. 108.

Modern Age, March 22, 1997, John M. Vella, review of Making Men Moral, p. 177; September 22, 2000, Joseph W. Koterski, review of In Defense of Natural Law, p. 415; September 22, 2000, Joseph W. Koterski, review of Natural Law and Moral Inquiry, p. 415.

National Review, February 25, 2002, Carol Iannone, "Morals Charge," review of The Clash of Orthodoxies, p. 50; February 27, 2006, Jason Lee Steorts, "Tough, and Uphill," review of The Meaning of Marriage, p. 48; January 28, 2008, Wesley J. Smith, "Rock-solid Logic," review of Embryo, p. 48.

New York Times Book Review, February 10, 2008, William Saletan, review of Embryo, p. 24.

Perspectives on Political Science, January 1, 2003, Marc Guerra, review of The Clash of Orthodoxies, p. 59.

Philosophical Quarterly, January 1, 1998, review of Natural Law Theory, p. 115.

Public Interest, March 22, 2005, "Bradley Prizes: Congratulations to the 2005 Bradley Prize Recipients," author information, p. 164.

Publishers Weekly, March 20, 2000, review of Great Cases in Constitutional Law, p. 80; October 8, 2007, review of Embryo, p. 47.

Reference & Research Book News, August 1, 1998, review of Natural Law and Moral Inquiry, p. 9; November 1, 2003, review of Natural Law, p. 173.

Revue Generale de Droit, March 1, 2001, Richard Bastien, review of In Defense of Natural Law, p. 211.

SciTech Book News, March 1, 2008, review of Embryo.

Theological Studies, December 1, 2000, Edward Collins Vacek, review of In Defense of Natural Law, p. 794.

ONLINE

Between Two Worlds,http://theologica.blogspot.com/ (January 21, 2008), Justin Taylor, "Roe vs. Wade, 35 Years Later: An Interview with Robert P. George."

Journal of Markets & Morality Online,http://www.acton.org/publications/mandm/ (August 13, 2008), Samuel Gregg, review of The Clash of Orthodoxies.

National Review Online,http://www.nationalreview.com/ (March 21, 2005), "Always to Care, Never to Kill," author interview.

President's Council on Bioethics Web site,http://www.bioethics.gov/ (August 13, 2008), council member profile.

Princeton University Web site,http://www.princeton.edu/ (August 13, 2008), faculty profile.

Street Prophets,http://www.streetprophets.com/ (November 5, 2007), Frank Cocozzelli, "George of the Neocon Jungle, Parts One and Two," author information.

OTHER

National Review Online (NRO) Radio, January 10, 2008, "Robert P. George on Embryo," audio file.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"George, Robert P. 1955- (Robert Peter George)." Contemporary Authors. . Encyclopedia.com. 14 Nov. 2018 <https://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"George, Robert P. 1955- (Robert Peter George)." Contemporary Authors. . Encyclopedia.com. (November 14, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/george-robert-p-1955-robert-peter-george

"George, Robert P. 1955- (Robert Peter George)." Contemporary Authors. . Retrieved November 14, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/arts/educational-magazines/george-robert-p-1955-robert-peter-george

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.