Lawyers from throughout the Triangle gathered at the Catholic Center in Raleigh on Saturday, March 24 for the first Convocation of Catholic Lawyers. The event was hosted by the St. Thomas More Society of the Triangle. Monsignor David Brockman, who serves as chaplain for the society, celebrated Mass to begin the convovation.
Breakfast, fellowship and a free one-hour Continuing Legal Education (CLE) program followed. The CLE, led by Dr. Phillip Thompson of the Aquinas Institute at Emory University, was titled “Perfecting Away Our Humanity: Buck v. Bell and the Catholic Opposition to Eugenics.”
Buck v. Bell is a 1927 decision of the United States Supreme Court written by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. in which the Court ruled that in certain cases, state statutes promoting compulsory sterilization did not violate the Due Process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The decision is seen by many as a promotion of negative eugenics and forced sterilization. This topic is of special interest to local attorneys as North Carolina recently finalized reparation payments for thousands of victims sterilized by the State of North Carolina’s Eugenics Board program.
Over two dozen men and women attended the event and represented a wide range of legal professional backgrounds including private practice, in-house counsel, government attorneys, judges and academia.
The St. Thomas More Society of the Triangle was founded in 2015 with a purpose of creating a community of legal professionals who glorify God and model their professional lives on St. Thomas More, the patron of lawyers. President of the Society and local attorney Luke Farley says, “Catholic lawyers in the Triangle are on fire for the faith. The enthusiasm in the room was palpable. We want to tap that energy. Our goal is to build a community of lawyers who support each other in both the practice of the law and their Catholic faith and who generously serve the Church.”