Before Michelle Bachmann announced her candidacy for president, the most famous person associated with Oral Roberts School of Law was Anita Hill, the law professor who testified in the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination hearings.
After the 2012 election season is over, Hill will once again be the most famous person associated with Oral Roberts University Law School. But I could be wrong.
A recent piece in The New York Times explores Bachmann’s experience at ORU. Here is a taste:
Today, as a Republican congresswoman from Minnesota seeking her party’s nomination for president, Mrs. Bachmann often talks of her work as a lawyer, describing herself as a “former federal tax litigation attorney,” though not identifying her employer as the Internal Revenue Service. She points to her master’s degree from the College of William and Mary in Virginia, from a nine-month program in tax law.
But the far more formative experience was one she rarely discusses in front of secular audiences: the legal education she received at Oral Roberts University, founded by the Christian televangelist and Pentecostal faith healer of that name. It was, one fellow student recalls, a “Petri dish of conservatism and Judeo-Christian thought.”
Mrs. Bachmann’s studies here exposed her to ideas — God is the source of law; the Constitution is akin to a biblical covenant, binding on future generations; the founders did not intend for a strict separation of church and state — that are percolating throughout the 2012 race for the presidency, as social conservative candidates like Gov. Rick Perry of Texas and Rick Santorum, the former senator from Pennsylvania, court the evangelical Christian vote.
But the philosophy has its best-known advocate in Mrs. Bachmann, whose bid for the presidency has exposed a wider audience of Americans to views long espoused by social conservative scholars.
On the campaign trail, she bills herself as a “constitutional conservative,” and holds that judges must limit themselves to the text and original understanding of the Constitution, rather than regard it as a living document whose meaning can evolve. At a forum last month in South Carolina, she criticized President Obama’s policies on health care, immigration and education as unconstitutional, saying the 2012 election would turn on how candidates interpret “that sacred document.”
Here, Mrs. Bachmann worked as a research assistant to John Eidsmoe on his 1987 book, “Christianity and the Constitution: The Faith of Our Founding Fathers,” which argues that “religion and politics cannot be totally separated” and that “America was and to a large extent still is a Christian nation.“ She studied “legal institutions and values” with Herb Titus, a Harvard-trained lawyer who hears his philosophy in Mrs. Bachmann’s words.
“Her belief is consistent with a biblical and a Christian understanding of the Constitution,” Mr. Titus said.
Read the rest here.