Snuffing the “Celestial Fire”: From the Constitution of Conscience to the Politics of Compassion
The Annual Herbert W. Vaughan Lecture on America’s Founding Principles
Judge Janice Rogers Brown, U. S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit
Endowed by the late Herbert "Wiley" Vaughan, founding member of the Madison Program's Advisory Council, the Herbert W. Vaughan Lecture on America’s Founding Principles is an endowed Princeton University lecture that is hosted by the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions in the Department of Politics. Its purpose is to promote and advance understanding of the founding principles and core doctrines of American constitutionalism.
America began with a constitution of conscience premised on the idea that man is endowed with inalienable rights—life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It is now ruled by the politics of compassion in which the state ensures all enjoy “Freedom from Want.” Is this shift merely rhetorical? Or have we redefined virtue in a way that undermines the core premises of American constitutionalism?
Judge Janice Rogers Brown was appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in June 2005. She served as a deputy in the Office of Legislative Counsel for the State of California, as a deputy attorney general in the California Attorney General’s Office, and as Deputy Secretary and General Counsel for California’s Business, Transportation and Housing Agency. After a short stint in private practice as a senior associate at the Sacramento law firm of Nielsen, Merksamer, Parrinello, Mueller & Naylor, Judge Brown returned to government service in 1991 as the Legal Affairs Secretary to California Governor Pete Wilson. From 1994 to 1996, she served as an associate justice of the California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District, and from 1996 to 2005, as an associate justice of the California Supreme Court. Judge Brown graduated from California State University, Sacramento, and the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law. She received a Master of Laws from the University of Virginia School of Law.