Honoring Michael McConnell: professor, scholar, advocate, and public servant

The 2023 Canterbury Medal Gala honored Professor Michael W. McConnell, Director of the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School and a former federal judge, for his decades-long commitment to the cause of religious liberty. As a professor, scholar, advocate, and public servant, Professor McConnell’s career has provided a strong and unfailing defense of religious liberty for all.  

In his distinguished career, Professor McConnell has played a key role in advancing the principle of religious freedom for all people. As an advocate, Professor McConnell has argued many religious liberty cases in the U.S. Supreme Court and other federal courts. Following his unanimous confirmation by the Senate, Professor McConnell served as a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit from 2002-2009. He also played a central role in founding the first religious liberty law clinic at Stanford Law School, where he continues to teach courses on constitutional law, the First Amendment, and constitutional history. 

Read Professor McConnell’s Speech

Becket has unique, specialized experience launching legal clinics at the nation’s top law schools, offering cutting-edge opportunities to train the rising generation of scholars and advocates to defend the fundamental rights of people of all faiths. Over ten years ago, Becket helped launch the nation’s first religious liberty clinic at Stanford Law School and has since launched many other clinics nationwide. The importance of clinical education in law school as well as the integral contributions of Professor McConnell and Dean Cole to launch the Stanford Religious Liberty Clinic and Notre Dame’s Religious Liberty Initiative respectively are captured in this video 

Becket was pleased to bestow the 2023 Legal Service Award on Dean G. Marcus Cole for his trailblazing expansion of the clinic concept in launching Notre Dame’s Religious Liberty Initiative.