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Robert P. George
George Robert PCBE.jpg
Robert P. George
Born Robert Peter George
(1955-07-10) July 10, 1955 (age 59)
Nationality American
Occupation Professor of jurisprudence

Robert Peter George[1] (born July 10, 1955) is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, where he lectures on constitutional interpretation, civil liberties and philosophy of law. He also serves as the director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions. George has been called America's "most influential conservative Christian thinker."[2] He is a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, and the Herbert W. Vaughan senior fellow of the Witherspoon Institute. He is also a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School.


George grew up in Morgantown, West Virginia,[2] the grandson of immigrant coal miners. He was educated at Swarthmore College (BA), Harvard Law School (JD), Harvard Divinity School (MTS), and Oxford University (DPhil). At Oxford he studied under John Finnis and Joseph Raz.

Academic career[edit]

George joined the faculty of Princeton University as an Instructor in 1985. The following year he became a tenure-track Assistant Professor. In 1988-89 he spent a sabbatical leave at Oxford University as a Visiting Fellow in Law, working on his book Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality, which was published by Oxford University Press in 1993. The book challenged key premises of contemporary liberal political philosophy, and drew praise even from thinkers working firmly within the liberal tradition. One prominent political philosopher, Jeffrie Murphy, stated that “Robert George has, I must admit, made me nervous about my commitments to liberalism.”[3] In 1994, George was awarded tenure at Princeton and promoted to the rank of Associate Professor. In 1999, he was elevated to the rank of Professor and installed in Princeton’s McCormick Chair of Jurisprudence, a celebrated endowed professorship previously held by Woodrow Wilson, Edward S. Corwin, Alpheus T. Mason, and Walter F. Murphy. George founded Princeton’s James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions in 2000 and continues to serve as its Director.[4] George, described by The New Yorker as "a widely respected conservative legal philosopher" who has "played [intellectual] godfather to right-leaning students on campus."[5]

George is an award-winning teacher at Princeton, where his courses are heavily subscribed and, according to the Princeton University Undergraduate Course Guide, are among the most highly rated in the university. Since 2007, George has been teaching with his friend and colleague Cornel West, a leading left-wing public intellectual, in undergraduate seminars on leading thinkers in western intellectual history. Readings have included Sophocles' Antigone, Plato's Gorgias, St. Augustine’s Confessions, Marx and Engels’ The Communist Manifesto, Dubois’ The Souls of Black Folk, Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks, Strauss’s Natural Right and History, and King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail. The George-West collaboration has drawn attention both on and off campus, and is widely noted as an example of how scholars can work together across ideological lines of division to enhance the quality of higher education.[6]

Public service and professional activity[edit]

In 2012 George was appointed to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom by the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. In 2013, he was elected Chairman of the Commission. In announcing his election, outgoing Chairwoman Katrina Lantos Swett, a Democrat appointed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, praised George as “a true human rights champion whose compassion for victims of oppression and wisdom about international religious freedom shine through all we have accomplished.”[7] He served from 1993 to 1998 as a presidential appointee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights, and from 2002 to 2009 as a member of the President's Council on Bioethics. He is a former Judicial Fellow at the Supreme Court of the United States, where he received the Justice Tom C. Clark Award. He has served on UNESCO’s World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST), of which he remains a corresponding member. He is a member of the boards of the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Ethics and Public Policy Center, the American Enterprise Institute, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, and several other organizations.[8] He serves on the editorial boards of Touchstone, First Things, and Public Discourse magazines, as well as several academic journals. He is of counsel to the law firm of Robinson & McElwee PLLC in Charleston, West Virginia, and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Supreme Court Justice and former Harvard Law School Dean Elena Kagan praised George as "one of the nation’s most respected legal theorists", saying that the respect he had gained was due to "his sheer brilliance, the analytic power of his arguments, the range of his knowledge", and "a deeply principled conviction, a profound and enduring integrity".[9]

Political activity[edit]

George twice served as Governor of the West Virginia Democratic Youth Conference, and attended the 1976 Democratic National Convention as an alternate delegate. George moved to the right in the 1980s, largely due to his views on abortion,[2] and left the Democratic Party as a result of what he saw as its increasingly strong commitment to legal abortion and its public funding, and his growing skepticism about the effectiveness of Great Society social welfare projects in Appalachia and other low income rural and urban areas. George is founder of the American Principles Project,[10] which aims to create a grass-roots movement around his ideas.[2] He is a past chairman of the National Organization for Marriage, an advocacy group opposed to same-sex marriage,[2] and co-founder of the Renewal Forum, an organization fighting the sexual trafficking and commercial exploitation of women and children.

George drafted the Manhattan Declaration, a manifesto signed by Orthodox, Catholic and Evangelical leaders that "promised resistance to the point of civil disobedience against any legislation that might implicate their churches or charities in abortion, embryo-destructive research or same-sex marriage."[2]

Along with other public intellectuals, George played a key role in creating the "theoconservative" movement and integrating it into mainstream Republicanism.[11]


On December 8, 2008, George was awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal by President George W. Bush.[2] On May 4, 2010, in Warsaw, he received the Honorific Medal for the Defense of Human Rights of the Republic of Poland. He is a recipient of the Canterbury Medal of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and he was one of four winners of the 2005 Bradley Awards for Civic and Intellectual Achievement. He is also a recipient of the Sidney Hook Memorial Award of the National Association of Scholars and the Philip Merrill Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Liberal Arts of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. In 2007, he gave the annual John Dewey Lecture in Philosophy of Law at Harvard University, on the subject of natural law. He has given the annual Judge Guido Calabresi Lecture at Yale University, the Sir Malcolm Knox Lecture at the University of St. Andrews, and the Frank Irvine Lecture at Cornell University. George holds honorary doctorates of law, letters, science, civil law, humane letters, ethics, divinity, and juridical science.

Musical activity[edit]

George is a finger style guitarist and bluegrass banjo player. His guitar playing is in the style of Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed. His banjo playing mixes the styles of Earl Scruggs, Don Reno, and Bela Fleck. As a teenager, he performed with folk groups and bluegrass bands in coffee houses, rod and gun clubs, and at state and county fairs in West Virginia, Maryland, and Virginia. At Swarthmore he led "Robby George and Friends," a country and bluegrass band. He performs in New Jersey with the band "Blue Heart."[12]




  • "Law, Democracy, and Moral Disagreement," Harvard Law Review, Vol. 110, pp. 1388–1406 (1997)
  • "Public Reason and Political Conflict: Abortion and Homosexual Acts," Yale Law Journal, Vol. 106, pp. 2475–2504 (1997)
  • "The Concept of Public Morality," American Journal of Jurisprudence, Vol. 45, pp. 17–31 (2000)
  • "Human Cloning and Embryo Research," Journal of Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, Vol. 25, No. 1, pp. 3–20 (2004)
  • George, Robert P. (20 March 2009). "He Threw It All Away". First Things. Retrieved 20 July 2009. 


  1. ^ http://www.encyclopedia.com/article-1G2-2284500076/george-robert-p-1955.html
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Kirkpatrick, David D. (20 December 2009). "The Conservative-Christian Big Thinker". The New York Times. 
  3. ^ Murphy, “Legal Moralism and Liberalism,” Arizona State Law Review, 1995, pp. 73-93.
  4. ^ “Bringing Civic Education Back to Campus”, Scott Walter, Philanthropy (February 1, 2009)
  5. ^ Toobin, Jeffrey. ""THE ABSOLUTIST: Ted Cruz is an unyielding debater—and the far right’s most formidable advocate."". www.thenewyorker.com. The New Yorker. Retrieved June 25, 2014. 
  6. ^ Eric Quinones, “Wrestling with Great Books and Ideas”, Princeton Weekly Bulletin (April 9, 2007)
  7. ^ http://www.uscirf.gov/news-room/whats-new-at-uscirf/4065-press-release-robert-p-george-elected-uscirf-chair-vice-chairs-also-elected-july-23-2013.html
  8. ^ The Bradley Foundation Board of Directors
  9. ^ US Senate Video
  10. ^ American Principles Project
  11. ^ Sullivan, Andrew. The Conservative Soul: How We Lost It, How to Get It Back. New York: HarperCollins, 2006.
  12. ^ http://www.blueheartband.com[dead link]


External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_P._George — Please support Wikipedia.
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268 news items

Breitbart News

Breitbart News
Fri, 22 Aug 2014 12:46:30 -0700

Breitbart News spoke with Dr. Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, about his call to action to destroy the Islamic State Terror group, the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities in the Middle ...

Breitbart News

Breitbart News
Mon, 25 Aug 2014 16:03:45 -0700

Princeton University Professor and world-renowned intellectual Dr. Robert P. George authored a petition calling upon President Obama and Congress to not stop, not contain, but destroy the Islamic State terror group. Dr. George has been called by The ...

Christian Post

Christian Post
Fri, 15 Aug 2014 13:02:04 -0700

Robert P. George, McCormick professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University and chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, delivers the "lay guest speaker" address at the 10th annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast ...

Christian Post

Christian Post
Tue, 19 Aug 2014 05:00:00 -0700

Judges who have been overturning marriage laws are misreading the U.S. Supreme Court rulings and ignoring counterarguments in order to promote their own ideological agenda, Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton ...

Breitbart News

Breitbart News
Tue, 26 Aug 2014 11:57:04 -0700

On August 22, Breitbart News published Part I of an exclusive interview with Dr. Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence at Princeton University, about the importance of destroying the Islamic State terror group. In Part 2 of the ...
First Things (blog)
Thu, 28 Aug 2014 07:26:15 -0700

Although I am grateful to Peter Leithart for his interest in my work and his efforts to understand my views about basic human goods, his critique of my thought on the subject seems to me to have gone (to use his term) awry. By “basic human goods” I and ...

First Things (blog)

First Things (blog)
Tue, 19 Aug 2014 13:37:30 -0700

Victoria Beeching is a celebrity in the world of evangelical Christian music. The singer made big news last week when she announced that “I am gay and God loves me just the way I am.” A little while before her announcement, she had endorsed same-sex ...

First Things (blog)

First Things (blog)
Sat, 02 Aug 2014 10:48:45 -0700

Advice to young scholars and, especially, to aspiring public intellectuals: Although it is natural and, in itself, good to desire and even seek affirmation, do not fall in love with applause. It is a drug. When you get some of it, you crave more. It ...

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