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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.






Addressing Justice Kennedy's Retirement (June 2018) Possible SCOTUS nominees (July 2018)



Areas of Expertise (11)

Brett Kavanaugh Anthony Kennedy Bioethics First Amendment Gerrymandering Constitutional Law Separation of Powers Supreme Court Law and Religion Free Speech Travel Ban


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)

What’s next after Catholic Church sexual abuse report? Advocates want stricter laws.

The Washington Post  


But legal experts say the grand jury report will lend new momentum to statute-reform efforts that have been percolating in Pennsylvania and beyond for years. “This will reignite these battles at the state level,” said Michael Moreland, a law professor at Villanova University, a Catholic school outside Philadelphia.

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Trump's Supreme Court Nominee

WHYY Radio Times  


President Trump nominated Federal Appeals Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy on the Supreme Court. If confirmed, Kavanaugh will give conservatives on the court a definitive 5-4 majority. This hour, we will discuss Kavanaugh’s record, the politics behind Trump’s pick, and what it might mean for the direction of the court on issues like abortion, health care, gun rights, voting rights, civil rights and big business. Guests: Laura Little, Michael Moreland

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Supreme Court Upholds Trump Travel Ban, Strikes Down California Law Regulating Pregnancy Clinics

NPR's On Point  online


The Supreme Court announced decisions in two major cases today, and each could have significant implications down the road. In Trump v. Hawaii, more commonly known as the Trump travel ban case, the court ruled 5-4 to uphold the travel ban. In a second 5-4 decision, the court found that California could not compel pregnancy centers to provide information about abortion. We talk with legal experts about how the court reached each decision, and what the future ramifications of those decisions might be. Guests include Michael Moreland, professor of law and religion at Villanova University.

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Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Colorado Baker In Cakeshop Case

NPR's On Point  online


The Supreme Court ruled Monday in the case of the baker who wouldn’t make a wedding cake for a gay couple. In a 7-2 decision, justices decided in favor of the Colorado baker. This has been one of the most watched-for rulings this session with big implications for free speech and religious and gay rights … program guests include Michael Moreland, professor of law and religion and director of the McCullen Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy at Villanova University.

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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.

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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.

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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.”

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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


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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