Michael M. Uhlmann

Michael Martin Uhlmann (1939-2019) served as professor of government in the department of politics and policy at Claremont Graduate University and Claremont McKenna College. Prior to teaching at Claremont, Dr. Uhlmann was a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Vice President for Public Policy Research at the Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and taught at the George Mason University Law School.

recent articles

Seamless Garment or Political Comforter?

In the 1970’s, the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin and his episcopal allies advanced the notion that Catholic politicians should not be judged only, or even primarily, by their position on abortion. Abortion was merely one strand in a rich and finely woven “seamless garment” of Catholic social teaching in defense of life. Numerous other issues, … Read more

Late Edition: The Times Marches On

The New York Times, the intellectuals’ equivalent of a drug addict’s first hit of the day, prides itself on being the nation’s “newspaper of record.” That is true only in the sense once guilelessly captured by the late New Yorker film critic, Pauline Kael, who expressed astonishment at Richard Nixon’s 1972 electoral landslide; after all, … Read more

Seeing Things: Paradise of Nations

An election year demands a certain perspective about where our great, increasingly adrift, nation stands in the world. We have been nettled over France lately, with good reason. France claims political and cultural importance, a sad self-deception for a once-great nation. And then there’s Italy. No one—especially Italians—thinks of Italy as politically important, though it … Read more

Late Edition: Who’s in Charge Here?

Concerning the denial of the Eucharist to pro-abortion Catholic politicians, a few observations: (1) Contrary to what certain American bishops have implied, abundant canonical authority exists to justify withholding the Sacrament. (See, e.g., Canons 915, 916, and 1364-1399 of The Code of Canon Law (1983); sections 19-20 of Evangelium Vitae (1995); the Doctrinal Note on … Read more

Late Edition: Seamless Garment or Political Comforter?

In the 1970’s, the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin and his Episcopal allies advanced the notion that Catholic politicians should not be judged only, or even primarily, by their position on abortion. Abortion was merely one strand in a rich and finely woven “seamless garment” of Catholic social teaching in defense of life. Numerous other issues, … Read more

Late Edition: Eroding Roe

Nothing strikes greater fear into the liberal breast than the delicacy of having to explain what, or more precisely who, is killed during an abortion. In his Roe v. Wade opinion, Justice Harry Blackmun took one look at the problem and realized that it had to be avoided at all costs. “We need not,” he … Read more

Late Edition: Lead, and They Will Follow

Early last year, Bishop William Liam Weigand of Sacramento issued the canonical equivalent of a cease-and-desist order against California’s then-governor, Gray Davis. A self-described Catholic, Davis nevertheless had been pursuing an aggressively pro-abortion agenda. Bishop Weigand offered the governor a choice: He could either be a Catholic in good standing or he could support abortion, … Read more

Late Edition: Setting Things Right

Sir Winston Churchill’s description of Russia (“a mystery inside a riddle wrapped in an enigma”) could apply as well to the Vatican, where the ancient art of plausible deniability routinely acquires new layers of definition. Even seasoned observers of the Curia’s arcane cus­toms and back-channels are often co-­founded when “reliable sources” turn out to be, … Read more

Late Edition: Betting on the Court

These days, no self-respecting bookie would lay odds on how the Supreme Court will decide a case. To be sure, the justices have often been difficult to predict, but the current crop seems unusually inclined toward free-form constitutional interpretation. Last term brought us a pair of affirmative action cases, which sent conflicting messages on whether … Read more

Late Edition: A Daunting Task

On November 21, by a 4-3 vote, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled that the people of that state were constitutionally forbidden from expressing in law their understanding that marriage is the union between a man and a woman (Goodridge v. Department of Public Health). In the commonwealth whose first constitution was penned by … Read more

Late Edition: Blind Barbarism

The good news is that Americans remain solid in their opposition to partial-birth abortion. In late October, their elected representatives for the fourth time in the past decade voted to ban that barbaric practice. The bad news is that the law was immediately blocked by a Nebraska federal judge. Indeed, even before President Bush had … Read more

Late Edition: What We Can’t Not Know

When Justice Harry Blackmun and his Supreme Court colleagues delivered up Roe v. Wade 30 years ago, they seem to have believed that judicialization would tame the abortion controversy. Removing the debate from the heat of the political arena to the cool deliberation of the courtroom would clarify the issues and calm people down. The … Read more

Late Edition: Good Cause, Flawed Advocate

According to an old saw, hard cases make bad law. The same sentiment often applies to those who beget litigation without thinking through possible adverse consequences. A case in point is Chief Justice Roy Moore of Alabama, who erected a monument to the Ten Commandments in the lobby of the state court house. The American … Read more

Late Edition: The Apostles of Moral Autonomy

Save on rare occasions when a crisis loomed or a personal interest was at stake, it was once possible for the average citizen to ignore the musings of Supreme Court justices. Those days are long gone. For 50 years or more, the Court has been up to its eyeballs in political and cultural matters, empowering … Read more

Late Edition: Embarrassed by Orthodoxy

What are the chances that Pope John Paul II could receive an honorary degree from Georgetown University? Not much, apparently— if, that is, you were to ask the 70-odd faculty members of that eminent institution who protested the May 17 commencement address of Francis Cardinal Arinze. The worthy Nigerian prelate, whose personal piety, intellectual rigor, … Read more

Late Edition: The Real Offense

Concerning the recent assault by gay-rights activists against Senator Rick Santorum, a few observations: The senator, you will recall, revealed in an Associated Press interview that as a practicing Roman Catholic—stop press!—he embraced Catholic moral teaching on the subject of marriage, family, and sexual behavior. Concerning the case now before the Supreme Court on the … Read more

Late Edition: The Greater Evil

In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, the Holy See launched an unprecedented diplomatic offensive in opposition to the national security policy of the United States. The first public expression of this tension appeared in a statement issued last November by the executive committee of the U.S. bishops’ conference. Stripped to its essentials, that … Read more

Late Edition: A Long Time Coming

Barring a miracle, by the time you read this, the military campaign to relieve the world of Saddam Hussein may already be under way. If so, it’s not a moment too soon; if not, the opening volleys cannot be many days away. But it was a long time getting to go—twelve years and 17 United … Read more

Late Edition: An Army of One?

“As your bishop, I have to say clearly that anyone—politician or otherwise— who thinks it is acceptable for a Catholic to be pro-abortion is in very great error, puts his or her soul at risk, and is not in good standing with the Church. Such a person should have the integrity to acknowledge this and … Read more

Late Edition: Batten Down the Hatches

January 22 brought us the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, that barbaric relic of 20th-century jurisprudence. Justice Harry Blackmun labored mightily to establish a federal constitutional right to abortion. This was no small task: The Constitution, after all, made no mention of the subject, and prior to the 1960s, no one dared argue that … Read more

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