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Prof. Thomas C. Berg

James L. Oberstar Professor of Law and Public Policy, University of St. Thomas School of Law
Thomas C. Berg

Thomas Berg grew up in Chicago and received a B.S. in journalism from Northwestern University, an M.A. in philosophy and politics from Oxford University, and both an M.A. in religious studies and a J.D. from the University of Chicago. He was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford. While in law school, Berg served as executive editor of the law review, won the Beale and Bustin prizes for legal scholarship and writing, and served as musical director for three law-student musical comedy shows. After clerking for Judge Alvin Rubin of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Berg practiced law in Chicago with Mayer, Brown and Platt doing general commercial litigation, appellate litigation, and nonprofit institutions’ legal work.

Berg teaches constitutional law, law and religion, intellectual property, and the religious liberty appellate clinic. In the clinic he supervises students writing briefs in major religious liberty cases, drawing on his experience drafting nearly 40 briefs on issues of religious liberty and free speech in the Supreme Court and lower courts.

In addition to serving as an advocate, Berg is among the nation’s leading scholars of law and religion. He has written approximately 50 book chapters and journal articles and dozens of op-eds and shorter pieces on religious freedom, constitutional law, and the role of religion in law, politics and society. His work has been cited several times by the U.S. Supreme Court and federal courts of appeals. He is the author of several books, including a leading casebook, Religion and the Constitution (with Michael McConnell and John Garvey, Aspen Law Books), and The State and Religion in a Nutshell (West). His other chief scholarly interest is in the relation of intellectual property rights, social justice, and human development.

Berg has served as UST School of Law’s Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and as co-director of the Murphy Institute for Catholic Thought, Law, and Public Policy. He has received the Religious Liberty Defender of the Year Award (1996) from the Christian Legal Society, the Alpha Sigma Nu Book Award (2004) from the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, and the John Courtney Murray Award from DePaul University College of Law for contributions to church-state studies.

Berg has also been a visiting professor at the University of Aix (France) and the University of Siena (Italy). He has made dozens of presentations to academic, professional, religious, and community groups and has testified before Congress and state legislatures multiple times. He contributes regularly to Mirror of Justice, a weblog on Catholic thought and law, and the Whole Life Democrat blog. He is past chair of the Law and Religion Section of the Association of American Law Schools and a current or past board member for several organizations, including the Democrats for Life of America. He collaborates on musical comedy shows with his wife Maureen, a playwright, and performs in the Twin Cities Gilbert & Sullivan company.


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Publications and Multimedia
Religious Exemptions and Third-Party Harms
Federalist Society Review, Volume 17, Issue 3
September 16, 2016
Church Playgrounds & Blaine Amendments - Podcast
Religious Liberties Practice Group Podcast
August 17, 2016
Statutory and Case Overview, Part 1 - Event Audio/Video
2008 Church Autonomy Conference
March 14, 2008