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Christopher Wolfe, Ph.D.

Dr. Wolfe is President of the American Public Philosophy Institute, an interdisciplinary group of scholars from various universities, supported by local business and professional leaders, that promotes a natural law public philosophy rooted in the principles of the American Founding – one that pursues freedom and prosperity, grounded on the moral integrity of the culture and of our social and political institutions.  For more information on its activities at UD, in the Dallas area, and nationally, go to

Dr. Wolfe’s recent work includes:

  • Natural Law Today: The Present State of the Perennial Philosophy eds. C. Wolfe and S. Brust (Lexington Books, 2018)
  • “Originalist Reflections on Constitutional Freedom of Speech” SMU Law Review, Vol. 72, No. 3 (Summer 2019)
  • “Natural Law and Politics” in The Cambridge Companion to Natural Law Ethics ed. Tom Angier (Cambridge University Press, 2019)
  • The Concept of Social Justice ed. C. Wolfe (forthcoming, St. Augustine Press)
  • “Are Some Men Angels? Modern Catholic Social Thought and Trust in Government” in Catholic Social Teaching: A Volume of Scholarly Essays eds. G. Bradley and E. C. Brugger (forthcoming, Cambridge University Press)
  • McCulloch v. Md. and Marshall's Constitutional Interpretation” in McCulloch v. Maryland at 200 (forthcoming, AEI)


Ph.D. Boston College, 1978
B.A. University of Notre Dame, 1971

Academic Appointments

University of Dallas, Professor of Politics, 2014-     
Co-Director of the Thomas International Center (2005-2013 )
Marquette University,
            Emeritus Professor, 2008-
            Professor, 1992 - 2008  (Chair, 1997-2000)
            Associate Professor, 1985-1992
            Assistant Professor, 1978-85
Assumption College, Instructor, 1975-78

Recent Courses

Religion and the Constitution
Civil Liberties
Catholic Social Thought
Constitutional Law
Freedom of Speech
American Political Thought

Research Interests

Constitutional Law, American Political Thought, Natural Law and Liberal Political Theory

Selected Publications


The Naked Public Square Reconsidered: Religion and Politics in the Twenty-First Century, editor (ISI Books, 2009).

Natural Law Liberalism (Cambridge University Press, 2006).

That Eminent Tribunal: Judicial Supremacy and the Constitution, editor (Princeton University Press, 2004), including the Introduction and a chapter on “The Rehnquist Court and ‘Conservative Judicial Activism’”.

Same-Sex Matters: The Challenge of Homosexuality, editor (Spence Publishing Company, 2000); including "Preface: The Challenge of Homosexuality," a chapter on "A Reasonable Public Stance on Homosexuality," and an afterword "Hatred, Bigotry, and Intolerance."

Natural Law and Public Reason, editor (with Robert George) (Georgetown University Press, 2000); including the introduction and a chapter on "Natural Law and Liberal Public Reason" (with Robert George).

Homosexuality and American Public Life, editor (Spence Publishing Co., 1999).

The Family, Civil Society, and the State, editor (Rowman and Littlefield, 1998).

How to Read the Constitution: Originalist Essays on Constitutional Interpretation and Judicial Review (Rowman and Littlefield, 1996).

Liberalism at the Crossroads: An Introduction to Contemporary Liberal Political Theory and Its Critics, editor (with John Hittinger)  (Rowman and Littlefield, 1994); contributed a chapter on "The Legal Philosophy of Ronald Dworkin"; editor, second revised edition (Rowman and Littlefield, 2003).

Judicial Activism: Bulwark of Freedom or Precarious Security? (Brooks/Cole Publishing Co., 1991; revised edition, Rowman and Littlefield, 1997).

The Rise of Modern Judicial Review: From Constitutional Interpretation to Judge-Made Law (Basic Books, l986); Spanish edition (Editorial Civitas, S.A., 1991) ; Second, revised edition (Rowman and Littlefield, 1994).

Articles and Book Chapters

“Natural Law and Contemporary Liberalism: John Rawls and Ronald Dworkin” in A Second Look at First Things: A Case for Conservative Politics ed. F. Beckwith (St. Augustine Press, 2013).

“Free Exercise, Religious Conscience, and the Common Good” in Challenges to Religious Liberty in the Twenty-First Century ed. Gerard V. Bradley (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012), pp. 93-110.

“Natural Law Liberalism” in the Josephinum Journal of Theology Volume 16, Number 2 (Summer/Fall, 2009), pp. 339-56.

“A University for All” in The Idea of a Catholic University: Proceedings From the 30th Annual Convention of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, ed. K. Whitehead (Fellowship of Catholic Scholars and University of Scranton Press, 2009), pp. 101-16.

“The Supreme Court and Changing Social Mores” in Ourselves and Our Posterity: Essays in Constitutional Originalism ed. B. Watson (Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, 2009), pp. 153-74.

“Natural Law Liberalism: A Framework for Promoting the Sanctity of Human Life” in Life and Learning XVIII Proceedings of the Eighteenth University Faculty for Life Conference (2008), ed. Joseph Koterski, pp. 165-90.

“Church and State: The Current Constitutional Debate in the USA” in “The United States, the European Union, and Modernity”  Krakowskie Studia Miedzynarodowe ed. A. Bryk number 1 (V) (Kracow, 2008).

“Homosexual Acts, Morality, and Public Discourse” in Contemporary Debates in Social Philosophy ed. Laurence Thomas (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2007), pp. 94-109.

“Why We Should (and Should Not) Be Liberals” in Catholic Perspectives on American Law eds. M. Scaperlanda and T. Collett (Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2007), pp. 131-51.

“Homosexuality and the Church” in Sexuality and the U.S. Catholic Church: Crisis and Renewaleds. Lisa Sowle Cahill, John Garvey and T. Frank Kennedy, S.J., (Rowman and Littlefield, 2006), pp. 144-62.

“Moving Beyond Rhetoric" in the Florida Law Review Volume 57, Number 5 (December, 2005), pp. 1065-1096.

"Why the Federal Marriage Amendment is Necessary" San Diego Law Review, Vol. 42, No. 3 (Summer, 2005), pp. 895-924 (Summer, 2005).

"Non-Traditional Households and 'Just Demands'" in The Catholic Citizen: Debating the Issues of Justice(Proceedings from the 26th Annual Conference of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars) ed. Kenneth D. Whitehead (South Bend: St. Augustine Press, 2004), pp. 36-45.


“Spurning the Inevitable?: Do Contemporary Liberals Appeal to Nature As a Standard of Justice?” at the James Madison Program conference on “Natural Law, Natural Rights, and the American Republic” (May, 2010)

“Have Our Universities Given Up on the Meaning of Life?” at the Thomas International Center Seminar on “Parts Without a Whole: The Missing Link in Contemporary Higher Education” Duke University (April, 2010)

“Free Exercise, Religious Conscience, and the Common Good” at the James Madison Program conference on “Law and Religion: Philosophical and Historical Perspectives” Princeton University (April, 2009)

“Natural Rights, The Bill of Rights, and Judicial Review” at the Tocqueville Forum Conference on “Natural Rights and the American Constitutional Experience” (January, 2009)

“Natural Law Liberalism and Life Issues” at the University Faculty for Life annual meeting, Milwaukee WI (May, 2008)

“A University for All” at the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars annual meeting Washington, DC (September, 2007)

“The Supreme Court and Changing Social Mores” at St. Vincent College Conference “Ourselves and Our Posterity: Constitutional Interpretation and the Public Good” Latrobe, PA (April, 2007)

“Church and State: The Current Constitutional Debate in the U.S.” at the Hillsdale Center for Constructive Alternatives conference on “Church and State: History and Theory” Hillsdale MI (September, 2006)

“Homosexuality and American Public Policy” at the American Public Philosophy Institute Related Group Panel at the American Political Science Association annual meeting, Philadelphia, PA (September, 2006)

“Prudence and the Catholic Social Tradition” at the conference “Prudence, Public Policy, and the Catholic Social Tradition” St. Thomas Law School, Minneapolis (April, 2006)

"Natural Law and Religious Liberty" at the conference "Rediscovering the Roots and the Common Values of Western Culture: The Concept of Law in Thomas Aquinas" Palermo, Italy (October, 2005)

"The Relation Between Natural Law and Positive Law in American Judicial Review" at the conference "Thomistic Understanding of Natural Law as the Foundation for Positive Law" Budapest, Hungary (July, 2005)

"When Constitution and Precedent Collide" at the conference "Lost But Not Forgotten: Reviving the Original Meaning of the Constitution" Heritage Foundation, Washington D.C. (May, 2005)

"Disagreement in the Good Society" at the conference "The Catholic Intellectual Tradition and the Good Society" St. Thomas Law School, Minneapolis  (April, 2005).

Awards & Honors

Thomas International Chair in Public Philosophy, 2007-2013
St. Thomas More Society Faithful Servant Award, 2008
Marquette University Political Science Elmer Plischke Annual Faculty Research Award, 2007
Marquette University Faculty Development Grants, 2005, 2006
Earhart Foundation Summer Fellowships, 1995, 2003
Marquette University Faculty Travel Grants, 1994, 2003
Bradley Institute for Democracy Summer Grants, 1987-88, 1990-93, 1996, 2002
Bradley Foundation Grant, 2000
Lehrman Institute Grant, 2000
Earhart Foundation Grant, 2000
Templeton Honor Rolls for Education in a Free Society, 1997
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, 1994
Randolph Foundation Presidential Grant, 1994
Bradley Institute Travel Grant (to give lectures in Poland), 1991
Intercollegiate Studies Institute/Earhart Foundation Summer Grant, 1989
Benchmark Book of the Year Award, 1987
Bradley Foundation Grant, 1986
Marquette University Summer Faculty Fellowships, 1981, 1986
Institute for Educational Affairs Fellowship Grants, 1982, 1983
Phi Beta Kappa, 1971
Woodrow Wilson Fellow, 1971
New York State Herbert H. Lehman Fellowship, 1971