RALEIGH, N.C. - Campbell Law Assistant Professor Amos Jones lectured at the University of Düsseldorf’s law school on Wednesday, June 11 in connection with a 2013 invitation from the German-American Lawyers Association to discuss constitutional matters of Church and State.
From the title “Cultures and the Common Law: Explaining the United States, Constitutionally and Politically,” Jones addressed an audience of law students who are spending a term examining the Anglo-American legal tradition.
“German millennials need to understand why law and politics in the United States seem to differ so profoundly at times from those of our western European friends,” Jones said. “So I argued first that understanding culture is a key to understanding how societies function and, second, that the U.S. can sometimes perform law and policy so differently from the European approach because of a religious dynamic that is uniquely — if not profusely — Protestant.”
Focusing on interdisciplinary work of sociologists and historians, Jones then pivoted to the most provocative part of his presentation, subtitled “Things that Make You Go ‘Hmmm.’” In that portion, he identified contemporary U.S. issues thought to perplex European students and scholars alike, framing the law and politics of each within the theoretical lens established in the first part of the lecture: George W. Bush’s presidency, climate change, guns, healthcare, racial relations, immigration, and gay marriage.
The response was delivered by convenor Andrew Hammel, a law professor at Düsseldorf and member of the German-American Lawyers Association.
Jones, who spent his first year following graduation from the Harvard Law School as a Fulbright/Visiting Scholar in the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Comparative Constitutional Studies in Australia, joined the Campbell Law faculty in 2011. He teaches Contracts and Professional Responsibility and consults in the areas of anti-discrimination and appellate constitutional litigation.
On April 17, the Supreme Court of Kentucky ruled unanimously in favor of Jones’s position in a First Amendment case he argued in August. In Kirby v. Lexington Theological Seminary, a tenured theologian presented unique circumstances of first impression at the intersection of religious freedom, antidiscrimination law, and contracts. After nearly four years on appeal, Jones effected the reversal of a unanimous 2012 Court of Appeals decision against Dr. Jimmy Kirby, leading to what some leading constitutional commentators are highlighting as the most comprehensive set of legal opinions to date on the ministerial exception following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2012 recognition of this common-law employment doctrine in a unanimous opinion that Jones had publicly and accurately predicted a year before the opinion was published.
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