Princeton Prof. Robert George Honored for Protecting Rights of the Unborn

Professor and legal scholar Dr. Robert P. George—the co-author of an amicus brief on the historic Dobbs Supreme Court case—recently received the University of Notre Dame’s 2023 Evangelium Vitae Medal, one of the nation’s most prestigious pro-life awards.

George, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program on American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University received his medal at a ceremony hosted by Notre Dame’s de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture on April 29, 2023.

Professor Robert George Honorary

“In his life of work, study, writing, and teaching, Professor George asserted, boldly and joyfully—over and over again—the essential dignity of the human person, the role of law in its defense, and the possibility of our collective philanthropic reasoning to promote it,” said O. Carter Snead, director of the de Nicola Center in a university news release. “Professor George’s patient, consistent exposition of the proper relationship between civil and moral law helped lay the groundwork for a renewed appreciation of the rights of the unborn and an understanding of the proper role of law in the defense of those rights, following decades of grave injustice.”

In 2021, George and John Finnis, Professor Emeritus of Law at Notre Dame, co-authored a amicus brief in Dobbs against Jackson Case of the Women’s Health Organization Supreme Court. They argued that Mississippi’s law banning elective abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy was constitutional and Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey should be reversed.

At the Evangelium Vitae Medal ceremony and celebration, George rejoiced in the fact that justice for the unborn had finally been served in the United States.

“For forty-nine years, five months, and two days, our law has taught a great moral lie,” George said. “It has taught generations of our people that the choice to destroy a child in the womb is a fundamental freedom, indeed a fundamental right; it taught that the child itself was nothing—a drop of tissue, a meaningless mass, a mere object, a piece of property instead of a human being with dignity and a right to life. That is a false teaching. It’s our job to help people who can’t learn.”

In his role as a professor at Princeton University, George is known for his Socratic style and ability to engage in civil dialogue with those with differing viewpoints.

“He had faith in the capacity for open-minded people seeking the truth to get there through reason and argument and evidence,” said Melissa Moschella, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Catholic University.

Moschella’s comments are featured in a video done in conjunction with the medal ceremony. Notre Dame Law School Associate Professor Sherif Girgis, a former student of George’s at Princeton, was also interviewed.

“As a teacher, Professor George set the highest standards for intellectual rigor, moral courage, and devotion to truth and the common good while modeling a cheerful generosity to each of his intellectual adversaries. often blossom into true friendships,” says Girgis.

“You get to Princeton’s campus and you realize one of the most respected people, who is widely considered deadly brilliant, is very pro-life.”

George, a former chairman of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, has authored, co-authored, or edited more than 13 books, including Embryo: A Defense of Human Life (2nd edition, Doubleday, 2011).

“Christians have a great obligation to be seekers of truth because our Lord is truth himself,” George said. “You can’t really be, ultimately, a determined truth-seeker if you don’t become a courageous truth-teller.”

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