Public Policy and Law Alumnus Brooke LePage Writes for The Hill

By Brendan W. Clark ’21

Brooke LePage ’19, a Public Policy and Law alumnus. Photo courtesy of Brooke LePage. 

Public Policy and Law Alumnus and former contributor to The Policy Voice Brooke LePage ’19 recently co-authored a piece in The Hill that addresses the important policy issue of student loan debt and offers some solutions to the crisis. You can read LePage’s piece here.

The Department could not be prouder of our alumnus Brooke and encourages all current and prospective students to read the piece and engage with the questions it raises.

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Leonard E. Greenberg Center Hosts Conference On Natural Law and Catholicism

By Brendan W. Clark ’21

Thomas Aquinas was a leading thinker who redefined religious understandings of natural law in the 13th century. Photo courtesy of The Yorck Project. 

On Columbus Day, the Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life at Trinity College held a conference at the Smith Alumni and Faculty House, titled “Natural Law & Co.: Making Faith-Based Claims in the American Public Square,” on Catholic law and natural rights. The conference, which was inspired by Mark Massa’s The Structure of Theological Revolutions: How the Fight Over Birth Control Transformed American Catholicism, included two panels of speakers addressing natural law and its alternatives in various iterations of natural law in the public sphere.

Speakers on the first panel, which spoke to questions of natural law, were from several institutions and included the Darrald and Juliet Libby Professor of Theology M. Cathleen Kaveny (Boston College Law School), President of Hartford Seminary Joel Lohr, Professor of Political Science Paul Brink (Gordon College), Professor of Philosophy Maurice Wade (Trinity College), and Professor and Director of the Boisi Center for Religion and American Life (Boston College). The speakers on the first panel spoke, in order, from the Roman Catholic, mainline Protestant, Evangelical, and secular perspectives. Massa offered his response to comments and critiques on his text and attendees had an opportunity to share their responses and thoughts.

Speakers on the second panel, which spoke to alternative approaches to natural law, included Director of the Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life and Professor of Religion in Public Life Mark Silk (Trinity College), Professor of Religious Studies Emerita Ellison Findly (Trinity College), Associate Professor of Islamic Studies Hossein Kamaly (Hartford Seminary), Visiting Associate Professor of Conflict Resolution Elizabeth H. Prodromou (Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University), and Massa. The speakers on the second panel spoke, in order, from the Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, and Greek Orthodox perspectives. Similar to the first panel, Massa also offered a response to the commentary.

Silk spoke with The Policy Voice and emphasized that “there is a tradition in Roman Catholicism of appealing to natural law and this conference serves to examine this tradition and how other traditions approach this too.” Silk was pleased that the conference address the “various philosophical and theological perspectives that came to the forefront of discussions.”

The conference was followed by a reception and dinner. Silk, Director of the Greenberg Center at Trinity, is a frequent contributor to the Religion News Service (RNS) and mentioned discussion s from the conference and Massa’s work in a recent post addressing United States Attorney General William Barr’s comments on religious liberty. You can read Silk’s post here to learn more and explore the implications of this discussion!

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Program Director Honors the Late Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens

By Brendan W. Clark ’21

The late Justice John Paul Stevens (1920-2019) at a lecture in 2015. Photo courtesy of the United States Supreme Court.

Public Policy and Law Program Director Renny Fulco recently spoke with New England Public Radio about the legacy of the late Justice John Paul Stevens, who passed away earlier this month.

Fulco reminds us that “Justice Steven’s North Star was fundamental fairness, the bedrock upon which our legal system stands,” and praises his collegiality and respect for the courts.

You can listen to the full segment at WFCR’s website here.

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Public Policy and Law Department Recognizes the Class of 2019 and Faculty Achievements

This gallery contains 5 photos.

By Brendan W. Clark ’21 Editor-in-Chief The Public Policy and Law Department confers its congratulations on all of the graduates of the Trinity College Class of 2019, who received their diplomas at the College’s 193rd Commencement on May 19th. The … Continue reading

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Tiara Desire-Brisard ’19 Speaks On Public Humanities in Hartford

By Brendan W. Clark ’21


Tiara Desire-Brisard ’19, a Public Policy and Law and English major, was recently featured in a post on the Center for Hartford Engagement and Research (CHER) website. Desire-Brisard is a model student who demonstrates an engagement with a core principle of the Public Policy and Law Department: collaborative work with an emphasis on community.

The Department could not be prouder of Desire-Brisard and her contributions with CHER.  Check out her commentary at the link below!

Tiara Desire-Brisard ’19 Talks Public Humanities in Hartford

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Patrick McCarthy ’15 Soon To Be An Army JAG

By Brendan W. Clark ’21


First Lieutenant and soon-to-be Army JAG Patrick J. McCarthy ’15. Photo courtesy of Patrick McCarthy.

Patrick McCarthy ’15, a Public Policy and Law and Economics double major, will soon be a commissioned Judge Advocate and First Lieutenant in the United States Army. McCarthy spoke with the Voice about his experience at Trinity and how the Public Policy and Law program shaped his journey to military service.

At Trinity, McCarthy recalls two courses as particularly influential. One was the late Professor of Public Policy and Law Ned Cabot’s Law, Argument, and Public Policy course which offered a “round table discussion of the law which mirrored a law school class.” Another was Public Policy and Law Program Director Adrienne Fulco’s course on the Supreme Court and Public Policy, which McCarthy credits for developing a “sound foundation of the court system” which was later indispensable in law school.

McCarthy subsequently attended New England School of Law (NESL) in Boston, Massachusetts. McCarthy did well, graduating number six in his class, emphasizing that “everything I did was geared towards becoming a JAG.” McCarthy was offered a position as a JAG at the end of his second year of law school and, since graduating, has spent time at Fort Benning, Georgia. McCarthy was commissioned as an officer and thereafter underwent basic training.

McCarthy is presently at the Army JAG school in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he is completing his training. As a JAG, McCarthy’s responsibilities will include prosecuting cases under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ, 64 Stat. 109, 10 U.S.C. §§ 801-946), which governs the legality of actions within the United States armed forces. McCarthy is especially interested in operational law, which focuses on “the law of armed conflict, the rules of engagement, and the rules of war.”

McCarthy is part of the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps, which serves under Charles N. Pede, the 40thJudge Advocate General of the United States Army and a Lieutenant General in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. The Judge Advocate General is responsible for advising the Joint Chiefs of Staff on the legality of military actions.

As a JAG, McCarthy hopes to be assigned to advise a commander on the legality of actions in a one-on-one capacity. McCarthy “always wanted to serve” and considered a career with the marines prior to enrolling at Trinity. McCarthy characterized military law—in terms of concepts—as not greatly divergent from civil and criminal law in civilian courts. “The substantive law is pretty much the same,” said McCarthy, except that the “procedure differs” and there is an assumption of honor because those charged “serve their country.” McCarthy will practice in a court system distinct from the federal courts, but with a similar structure—with trial courts, appellate courts, and supreme court—except that all members, both advocates and the judge, are enlisted members of the armed services.

McCarthy credits the Public Policy and Law program with “sparking his intellectual motivation and desire to achieve.” Further, McCarthy told the Voice that he “doesn’t know if I would be where I am today without the track that the program provided.”

If you were wondering: yes, McCarthy has seen Tom Cruise’s A Few Good Menand, when asked about its accuracy in depicting military law, McCarthy said that “it is pretty much spot on, except for the fact that the movie’s charge—‘conduct unbecoming a marine’—is not an actual crime. The correct crime would in fact have been ‘conduct unbecoming an officer.’”

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