hero image
Michael  Moreland, JD, PhD - Villanova University. Villanova, PA, US

Michael Moreland, JD, PhD Michael  Moreland, JD, PhD

University Professor of Law and Religion; Director, Eleanor H. McCullen Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy | Charles Widger School of Law | Villanova University


Michael Moreland, JD, PhD, is an expert in the areas of law and religion, free speech, constitutional law and bioethics.


Areas of Expertise (8)

Free Speech Law and Religion Separation of Powers Constitutional Law Gerrymandering Supreme Court First Amendment Bioethics


Professor Moreland is an expert on topics related to law and religion, free speech, constitutional law, tort law, and bioethics. Moreland previously served as Associate Director for Domestic Policy at the White House under President George W. Bush, where he worked on a range of legal policy issues, including criminal justice, immigration, civil rights and liability reform.

Education (4)

University of Michigan Law School: JD

Boston College: PhD

Boston College: MA

University of Notre Dame: BA

Affiliations (5)

  • AALS Law and Religion Section
  • Witherspoon Institute (Princeton, NJ) Task Force on Conscience Protection
  • Saint Thomas More Society of Philadelphia, Board of Governors
  • Federalist Society, Religious Liberties Practice Group Executive Committee
  • Peer Reviewer: Cambridge University Press, Harvard University Press, Journal of Law and Religion, Journal of Catholic Social Thought, Journal of the American Academy of Religion, Theological Studies

Select Media Appearances (7)

Supreme Court Inaction Could Open New Front in Gerrymandering War



State courts could be a new battleground for groups challenging voter maps after the U.S. Supreme Court opted against intervening in a partisan gerrymandering fight in Pennsylvania … Decisions from state Supreme Courts based on state constitutions are typically insulated from U.S. Supreme Court review, Michael Moreland, a constitutional scholar at Villanova University’s Charles Widger School of Law in Villanova, Pa., told Bloomberg Law.

view more

SCOTUS debates same-sex wedding cake case

WHYY's Radio Times  


The Supreme Court heard arguments last week in the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case. This is the case involving a Colorado baker who refused to make a cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding citing his moral objections to gay marriage and his First Amendment rights … We’ll talk about the legal questions being debated, the oral arguments and the potential ramifications with Villanova University law professor Michael Moreland and Delaware Law School professor John Culhane.

view more

Gay Rights, Religious Freedom At Issue In 'Masterpiece Cakeshop' Supreme Court Arguments

NPR's On Point  


The Supreme Court on Tuesday heard arguments in the case of the baker who wouldn’t make a wedding cake for a gay couple — Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The court's ruling could change the boundaries of free speech and have huge ramifications for religion and gay rights … And from Philadelphia, Michael Moreland joins us. He’s professor of law and religion and director of the McCullen Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy at Villanova University.

view more

SCOTUS Rules In Favor Of Trinity Lutheran In Religious Liberty Case JOSHUA GILL

The Daily Caller  


The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Trinity Lutheran Church Monday, deciding that refusal to grant a public benefit to the church violates the First Amendment. Trinity Lutheran Church sued the Missouri Department of Natural Resources over the department’s refusal to award Trinity a publicly available grant to resurface its school playground. ... While the Court’s ruling is straightforward, Michael Moreland, Professor of Law and Religion at Villanova University, said that the balance of opinion among the justices was notable, showing that the majority supports a broad interpretation of religious liberty.

view more

Supreme Court pick wins applause from religious freedom advocates

Catholic News Agency  


Pro-life leaders and religious freedom advocates hailed President Trump’s choice of Neil Gorsuch to fill the Supreme Court vacancy on Tuesday. Professor Michael Moreland, a visiting law professor at the University of Notre Dame, called the judge “a superb nominee to the Supreme Court” and added that “he is a brilliant and careful jurist, and he has an especially strong record in cases involving religious freedom.”

view more

Report: hundreds of US hospitals follow Catholic rules on reproductive care

The Guardian  


When she was 22 weeks pregnant, Mindy Swank began to bleed. She had known for nearly two weeks that she was miscarrying – and in such a way that she was at risk for infection. ... But Michael Moreland, a bioethicist at Villanova University, has said that the line between what counts as abortion and what counts as an ethical procedure to save the life of the mother is not so clear. “When a baby is in medical distress, and the mother is in medical distress, and the directives point to an imperative to protect both human lives, those are the really difficult cases that hospital ethics committees grapple with,” he said.

view more

President Obama Is Criticized Over Funeral for Scalia

The New York Times  


The White House on Thursday tried to fend off criticism of President Obama’s decision not to attend the funeral this weekend of Justice Antonin Scalia, but even some administration allies lamented the move as a missed opportunity to ease the partisan warfare that has followed the justice’s death. ... Michael Moreland, a law professor at Villanova University who is Catholic and was on the White House staff of Mr. Bush, said both sides had valid points.
The event on Friday at the Supreme Court is the more appropriate place for a presidential visit, he said, but Mr. Obama’s attendance at the funeral “could have been a nice occasion for reducing polarization of D.C.’s political culture.”

view more

Select Academic Articles (5)

A History of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Abortion Jurisprudence (Book Chapter) Perspectives on Abortion

Alireza Bagheri


Justice, Love, and Duties of Care in Tort Law (Book Chapter) Agape and Law

Robert Cochran, Zachary Calo


view more

Institutional Conscience: From Free Exercise to Freedom of Association and Church Autonomy The Conscience of the Institution

Michael Moreland


Ethical and Legal Issues in Assisted Ventilation Assisted Ventilation of the Neonate

Michael Moreland, John Paris, SJ, and Michael Schreiber


A Legal Revolution? The Bush Administration’s Effect on the Judiciary and Civil Justice Reform Judging Bush

Michael Moreland, Robert Maranto, Tom Lansford, Jeremy Johnson