Our Team

Hadley Arkes

Co-Founder, Anchoring Truths

Founder & Director, James Wilson Institute

Hadley Arkes was born in Chicago in wartime, and grew up in the blessed years of the consulship of Richard J. Daley, Mayor.  He would have the further blessing of being touched by the magic of the University of Chicago. He did his Ph.D. there in Political Science in the grand years of Leo Strauss, Herbert Storing, Hans Morgenthau, Tang Tsou, Jeremy Azrael, and David Easton.  He began teaching at Amherst College in 1966, and remained there for 50 rollicking years, with occasional leaves spent at Georgetown and Princeton.   In 1987 he became the Ney Professor of Jurisprudence and American Institutions.  He is the author of seven books, done with the university presses of Princeton and Cambridge.  Among them:  The Philosopher in the City (1981),  First Things (1986), Beyond the Constitution (1990), Natural Rights & the Right to Choose (2002), and Constitutional Illusions & Anchoring Truths: The Touchstone of the Natural Law (2010). His new book, coming soon from Regnery Press, will be Mere Natural Law.  

But apart from his writing in more scholarly formats, he has became known to a wider audience through his writings the Wall Street Journal, National Review, The Catholic Thing and First Things, a journal that borrowed its name from his book of the same title.

He was the main architect of two bills enacted in Congress:  The Defense of Marriage Act (1996) and the Born-Alive Infants’ Protection Act (2002).  He led the testimony for both bills in the Judiciary Committee of the House.

With the Born-Alive Infants’ Protection Act. Professor Arkes first prepared his proposal as part of the debating kit assembled for the first George Bush in 1988. The purpose of that proposal was to offer the “most modest first step” of all in legislating on abortion, and opening a conversation even with people who called themselves “pro-choice.” Professor Arkes proposed to begin simply by preserving the life of a child who survived an abortion–contrary to the holding of one federal judge–that such a child was not protected by the laws. To the surprise of Professor Arkes, the bill was brought to the floor of the Senate in July 2002 by the Deputy Majority Leader, Harry Reid, when the Senate was in control of the Democrats.  The Democrats were quite averse to the bill, but too embarrassed to vote against it, and so they let it pass with a voice vote, without opposition.  On August 5, 2002 President Bush signed the bill into law with Professor Arkes in attendance.  The memoir of the strategy of that bill, and its steering through the Congress, is contained in Arkes’s book Natural Rights & the Right to Choose.       

Professor Arkes was the founder, at Amherst, of the Committee for the American Founding, a group of alumni and students seeking to preserve, in the teaching of the College, the doctrines of  “natural rights” taught by the American Founders and Lincoln. That interest has been carried over now to the founding of our new center for the jurisprudence of natural law, in Washington DC: the James Wilson Institute on Natural Rights and the American Founding, named for one of the premier legal minds among the American Founders. The purpose of this Institute is to teach anew, to lawyers and judges, to citizens and ordinary folk, those anchoring principles that furnished the ground, for the Founders, for this Constitution and this new system of law they were shaping. And the hope is to restore, to a new generation, the furnishings of mind of those remarkable men who formed this regime.

Garrett Snedeker

Co-Founder, Anchoring Truths

Deputy Director, James Wilson Institute

Garrett Snedeker maintains the James Wilson Institute’s year-round presence in Washington, D.C. In addition to planning events, handling the Institute’s website, hosting the James Wilson Podcast, and running its office, he is the main point of contact for all partnership opportunities and media inquiries. He is a current law student in the evening program at the Antonin Scalia Law School and member of the George Mason Law Review. He graduated from Amherst College and formerly served as editor of the congressional research website LegiStorm. His writing has been featured in Newsweek, The Federalist, The American Mind, Starting Points Journal, and the Online Library of Law & Liberty. He has been quoted in Politico, Roll Call, and the Boston Herald and collaborated on stories for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and National Journal.

Josh Hammer

Contributing Editor, Anchoring Truths

Josh Hammer is opinion editor of Newsweek, a research fellow with the Edmund Burke Foundation, counsel and policy advisor for the Internet Accountability Project, a syndicated columnist through Creators and a contributing writer for American Compass. A frequent pundit and essayist on political, legal and cultural issues, Josh is a constitutional attorney by training.

An outspoken conservative, Josh opines on conservative intellectual trends, contemporary domestic and foreign policy debates, constitutional and legal issues, and the intersection of law, politics and culture. He has been published by many leading outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, the New York Post, Newsweek, National Affairs, The National Interest, National Review, First Things, The Spectator, The American Conservative, The American Mind, American Greatness, American Compass, Townhall, The Daily Wire, Fortune, Fox Business, The Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel, The Forward, Jewish Telegraphic Agency and the Jewish Journal. His first piece of formal legal scholarship was published in 2020 by the University of St. Thomas Law Journal.

Josh is a college campus speaker through Young America’s Foundation and a law school campus speaker through the Federalist Society. Prior to Newsweek and the Daily Wire, where he was an editor, Josh worked at a large law firm and clerked for a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Josh has also served as a John Marshall Fellow with the Claremont Institute and James Wilson Fellow with the James Wilson Institute.

Josh graduated from Duke University, where he majored in economics, and from the University of Chicago Law School. He lives in Denver, but remains an active member of the State Bar of Texas.

Ted Hirt

Assistant Editor, Anchoring Truths

Theodore C. (“Ted”) Hirt is a semi-retired attorney and a member of the District of Columbia Bar. He is a Professorial Lecturer in Law at the George Washington University Law School, where he teaches Electronic Discovery & Evidence. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School and Brown University.

From August 1979 to March 2016, he was an attorney (Trial Attorney, Senior Trial Counsel, Assistant Director, Senior Litigation Counsel) in the Justice Department’s Civil Division. He litigated and supervised cases in its Federal Programs Branch and litigated cases in its Office of Immigration Litigation. His work included the defense of challenges to federal laws and to agency authority. His areas of expertise have included First Amendment issues, including the Religion Clauses, and internet-related issues.

He has written numerous articles on constitutional and administrative law issues, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, pretrial practice, and electronic discovery. He is a Gettysburg, PA Licensed Town Historian/Guide.  

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February 25, 2021


Anchoring Truths
Anchoring Truths is a James Wilson Institute project
The James Wilson Institute’s Mission is to restore to a new generation of lawyers, judges, and citizens the understanding of the American Founders about the first principles of our law and the moral grounds of their own rights.
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