Office of Communications
Stanhope Hall
Princeton, New Jersey 08544-5264
Telephone 609-258-3601; Fax 609-258-1301

Feb. 20, 2001

Contact: Marilyn Marks (609) 258-5748,

New Princeton program to explore constitutional law and government

John DiIulio, head of White House office on faith-based initiatives, to speak

Princeton, N.J. -- A new Princeton University program aimed at exploring issues of constitutional law and government is sponsoring a series of lectures this spring, including a talk by John DiIulio Jr., the director of President Bush’s new White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.

The James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions was created last summer to support scholarship, teaching and public debate on the relationship between political thought and public law. It "opens new areas of research for scholars who are interested in fundamental questions that Americans have debated since the nation's founding," said Jeffrey Herbst, chairman of the Department of Politics.

Program director Robert P. George, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, said the Madison program will "focus on basic principles of constitutional democracy, inquiring into the proper relationship of civil society and law." Among the questions studied by scholars in the program are many issues recently in the public spotlight, such as November’s presidential election, judicial independence, executive leadership, and the place of religion in American public life.

So far, the Madison Program has obtained more than $5 million in grants and pledges. Major donors include foundations such as the John M. Olin Foundation and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, as well as individuals.

"We have been delighted by the support from foundations, alumni and other generous individuals who have made it possible to launch the James Madison Program," said Dr. Donald Drakeman, CEO of Medarex, Inc. and chairman of the program’s advisory council. "Alumni and other concerned citizens are aware of the urgent need for civic education at the college level, especially at Princeton, which is shaping the minds of future leaders."

The program sponsors numerous teaching and research initiatives. Applications are now being accepted from scholars interested in becoming visiting fellows for the 2001-02 academic year. A major conference, on the Declaration of Independence, has been scheduled for next fall. In addition, the program supports course development in constitutional studies and political thought, and will award an annual prize to the undergraduate whose senior thesis best contributes to understanding American ideals and institutions.

The Madison Program also sponsors campus lectures such as the John M. Olin Foundation Lectures on the Moral Foundations of American Democracy, which are free and open to the public. In the spring semester’s first lecture, Judge Edith Jones, who serves on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, will speak on "Contemporary Threats to the Rule of Law, Feb. 27 at 8 p.m. in Room 104 of the Computer Science Building.

DiIulio, a widely published expert on faith-based programs and juvenile crime, is slated to lecture on "Compassionate Conservatism," especially as it relates to his new position in the Bush administration. His lecture is planned for 4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 27, in 50 McCosh Hall.

A former Princeton professor of public affairs, DiIulio was a professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania when President Bush tapped him last month to head the first federal office intended to promote the integration of religious groups into federally financed social services. Creation of the office, the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, was a signature campaign issue for the new president. It has drawn criticism from groups that advocate a strict separation of church and state.

Other lectures planned by the James Madison Program for the spring semester are:

Richard Epstein, the James Parker Hall Distinguished Service Professor in the University of Chicago Law School, will speak March 7 on "Whether Moral Degradation is the Inevitable Result of the Prosperity Generated by Capitalism." Epstein is the author of "Principles for a Free Society: Reconciling Individual Liberty with the Common Good."

Writer Rick Brookhiser and Executive Producer Michael Pack will present a screening of their documentary "The Character of George Washington" on April 26.

James Madison, the nation’s fourth president and the principal architect of the U.S. Constitution, was a Princeton University alumnus and is considered the University’s first graduate student in a field other than theology.

For more information about Princeton’s new James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions, its programs and events, visit