I have been honored to receive the Christian Legal Society (CLS) National Conference’s “William Bentley Ball Award for Defending Religious Liberty and the Sanctity of Human Life”. I accepted the William Bentley Ball Award today in Boston, where I offered the following remarks:
I’m grateful to the CLS Board of Directors for the 2023 William Bentley Ball Award for Life and Religious Liberty Defense. Thank you very much.
But whatever I have accomplished has been as part of a series of teams at Americans United for Life and has been inspired by a number of mentors over the years—I think of Dennis Horan, Victor Rosenblum, Edward Grant, David Louisell, John Noonan, Mary Ann Glendon & Paige Cunningham—and required the support of my dear wife and family and friends.
And I want to specifically thank Steve Aden, AUL’s Chief Legal Officer and General Counsel. I’m honored to have worked for and with him since 2017—the 5 years leading up to the Dobbs decision.
So, I accept this award on behalf of the series of teams at Americans United for Life and on behalf of those who have sacrificially supported AUL’s work since 1971.
In my latest book, with Alexandra DeSanctis, Pushing Roe v. Wade Over the Brink, I aimed to capture what it took to overturn Roe over the past 50 years. I hope it contributes to an understanding of that long, long struggle.
The intellectual virtue of prudence was necessary for that success and for all the lawyers involved. I think of Brett Harvey, Kevin Todd, and Rick Claybrook, who are here today. Prudence is the essential, necessary virtue for lawyers—practical wisdom oriented to the moral good. It is a biblical virtue and a classical virtue. We can’t talk too much about it, especially with the challenges since Dobbs.
And I’m sure that I will echo the experience of many of you when I say that a strong spiritual life is necessary for the inspiration to persevere against all odds. Its necessity is captured by Jesus in John 10 when he says, “I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”
I’ve also learned the importance of strong civic and religious institutions that exist between the State and the individual to strengthen civil society. Yuval Levin explains it well in his recent book, A Time to Build. CLS is one of those necessary institutions. Support CLS, contribute to CLS, strengthen CLS.
To make progress on the journey, I know that encouragement is needed. So, thank you for the encouragement of this award. God bless you all.