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UST Law Journal Symposia

Find prior UST Law Journal Symposia information, including topics, content, speakers, agenda, and links to articles where available.

Spring 2021 Virtual Symposium

Preparing for the Next Pandemic: Learning from the Past and the Present

The University of St. Thomas Law Journal invites the community to attend our spring symposium. The event will be held online via Zoom.

Please join the University of St. Thomas Law Journal, in conjunction with the Murphy Institute, as they host a virtual symposium “Preparing for the Next Pandemic: Learning from the Past and the Present” to examine and challenge pre-existing, legal and policy obstacles that are exacerbating the danger of the COVID-19 health crisis to all segments of our society.

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely and negatively impacted nearly every aspect of individuals' lives across the United States. Government responses have varied widely on the local, state, and federal levels. But this is neither the first nor the last time that our country has had to, or will have to, confront a widespread health crisis.

Historical perspectives will be supplemented by assessments of contemporary responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on different interests and vulnerable populations. Speakers will address issues ranging from religious liberty issues, to general considerations of public health policy, to the experiences of specific populations, including Native Americans, prisoners, the homeless, and immigrant communities.

Thursday, April 22, 2021 | 8:45 AM - 4:00 PM (CLE credits applied for)


Speakers and panelists will include:

  • John Fabian Witt, Professor of Law, Yale Law School. His recent book American Contagions: Law of Epidemics from Smallpox to Covid-19, relates the history of our country’s legal responses to epidemics, and offers a compelling framework for this Symposium to explore the success and failures of these responses on different sectors of our society.
  • Paul Scherz, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Moral Theology/Ethics, The Catholic University of America, will present, Theology, Public Health, and the Pandemic. From Cyprian’s De Mortalitate to Pope Francis’ statements over the past year, theological responses to epidemics have called for a faith that overcomes fear and for concrete care of the ill. This talk explores how these Christian responses are challenged by a public health rationality that focuses on predicting future risks and conceptualizes care of other in terms of populations, as well as how to negotiate these different approaches to the crisis.
  • John Inazu, Sally D. Danforth Distinguished Professor of Law & Religion, and Professor of Political Science, Washington University in St. Louis School of Law. Covid, Churches, and Culture Wars.
  • Robin Fretwell Wilson, Director, Institute of Government and Public Affairs, Mildred Van Voorhis Jones Chair in Law, Co-Director, Program in Family Law and Policy, Co-Director, Epstein Health Law and Policy Program, Professor, Department of Pathology, College of Medicine, Illinois College of Law
  • Matthew Fletcher, Foundation Professor of Law & Director of the Indigenous Law & Policy Center, Michigan State University College of Law.  Pandemics in Indian Country, 1918-19 and 2020-21.
  • Fatma Marouf, Professor of Law, Director of the Immigrant Rights Clinic, Texas A&M University School of Law. Contagion in Immigration Detention.
  • Kathryn A. Sabbeth, Associate Professor of Law, University of North Carolina School of Law. 
  • Courtney Anderson, Associate Professor of Law, Georgia State University Law School.  She will discuss the health disparities that affect people experiencing homelessness, and how the disparities were magnified as a result of Covid-19.
  • Lisa Schiltz, Herrick Professor of Law, Thomas J. Abood Research Scholar, University of St. Thomas School of Law.  Intersectionality Plus: The Dangers of Being Disabled in the Time of Covid.
  • Felice Batlan, Professor of Law, Director of the Institute for Compliance & Co-Director of the Institute for Law and the Humanities, Chicago-Kent College of Law. She will discuss the effects of Covid-19 on children and families involved in child abuse and neglect proceedings.
  • Kathryn Meyer Olivarius, Assistant Professor of History, Stanford Center for Law and History. Perverse Incentive: Getting Sick to Survive (and Thrive) in Antebellum New Orleans.
  • Dr. John McKiernan-González, Professor of History, Texas State University.
  • Greg Gonsalves, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology (Microbial Diseases); Associate Professor of Law, Yale Law School; Co-Director, Global Health Justice Partnership; Co-Director, Collaboration for Research Integrity and Transparency.