Volume 35, Issue 2


Symposium Spring 2021: The Ethics of Government Service

The Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy 2021 Symposium, co-hosted with the Notre Dame Law School Program on Ethics, Compliance & Inclusion with the support of the Robert & Marion Short Scholar Endowment, focused on the ethics of government service. This Journal was founded with the intention that it would “examin[e] legal propositions through an ethical lens.” The events of the past few years, while often looked at through a political lens, have provided an opportunity to think critically about what standards and norms we should expect from government officials, irrespective of political ideology. Our national faith in the ethics of our leaders forms the very basis of our democracy; we elect leaders under the assumption that they will not only act in our best interest, but in the best interest of our nation, considering all the moral and ethical ramifications of their actions. And yet, government ethics is a topic woefully under-discussed within legal scholarship. As a result, this interrogation of the various ethical dimensions of government service made for the ideal Symposium topic as it also aligns with the Journal’s commitment to the pursuit of truth.

The Journal is honored to have hosted distinguished speakers and to publish their work resulting from this event. The speakers on our first panel, Combating Public Corruption, included: Professor Paula A. Franzese; Former Alabama Assistant Attorney General Ferris Stephens and his co-author Ross D’Entremont (a second-year Notre Dame Law School student), and Lauren Vaca (a third-year Notre Dame Law School student and Editor-in-Chief of the Notre Dame Journal of Legislation). The second panel, Ensuring Government Integrity, included: Professor Richard Briffault, Professor Bernard W. Bell, and Stanford School of Law teaching fellow Andrew K. Jennings. The third panel, Politicization Within the Department of Justice, included: co-authors Professor Bruce Green and Professor and Co-Dean Rebecca Roiphe, Professor Barry Sullivan, and Former U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Jessie K. Liu and her co-author Former Deputy Chief of the Fraud and Public Corruption Section of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia Jonathan Kravis. The fourth panel, The Role of Norms and Ethics, included: Professor Ann Ching, Professor W. Bradley Wendel, and Director for the Notre Dame Law School Program on Ethics, Compliance & Inclusion Professor Veronica Root Martinez.

The Journal is grateful to have had such a wonderful and ranged discussion with each of our panels and would like to especially thank the Symposium’s moderators for leading such power discussions: Notre Dame Professors Jimmy Gurulé, Roger Alford, and Jeffrey Pojanowski, as well as New York University School of Law’s Professor Alicyn Cooley, Executive Director of NYU’s Program on Corporate Compliance and Enforcement. We are especially indebted to the tireless efforts of Professor Veronica Root Martinez who helped to plan this Symposium and bring together the wonderful group of panelists.


The Anatomy of Government Ethics Reform: Lessons Learned, A Path Forward
Paula A. Franzese

Unweaving Hubbard’s Web: A Review of Alabama’s Ethics Laws
Ferris Stephens & Andrew Ross D’Entremont 

Elected-Official-Affiliated Nonprofits: Closing the Public Integrity Gap
Richard Briffault

Administrative Adjudicators’ Extrajudicial Statements
Bernard W. Bell

Conscience Leave
Andrew K. Jennings

Who Should Police Politicization of the DOJ
Bruce A. Green & Rebecca Roiphe

The Justice Department and the Rule of Law
Jonathan Kravis & Jessie K. Liu

Reforming the Office of Legal Counsel
Barry Sullivan

Taking A Positive Approach to Government Ethics
Ann B. Ching

The Role of Norms in Modern-Day Government Ethics
Veronica Root Martinez

Truthfulness and the Rule of Law
W. Bradley Wendel


Quid Pro No? The Bribery Statute’s Failure to Capture the “Official Acts” of High-Ranking Public Officials
Lauren N. Vaca

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