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Adam MacLeod

Professor of Law


Adam MacLeod

Contact Information


  • J.D., University of Notre Dame, 2000
  • B.A., Gordon College, 1997

Licensed to Practice

  • Maine
  • Massachusetts

Specialties and Courses

  • Jurisprudence
  • Private Law Theory
  • Property
  • Contracts
  • Intellectual Property


Before joining the St. Mary’s faculty as a Professor of Law, Adam J. MacLeod, J.D., taught law and jurisprudence for sixteen years and practiced law intermittently for twenty-three. He is a Senior Scholar and former Thomas Edison Fellow of the Center for Intellectual Property x Innovation Policy at George Mason University and a Research Fellow of the Center for Religion, Culture, and Democracy. MacLeod has been a Visiting Fellow in the James Madison Program at Princeton University. After law school, he served as a law clerk to Chief Justice Christopher Armstrong and the Hon. Benjamin Kaplan of the Massachusetts Appeals Court and to Chief Judge Lewis Babcock of the United States District Court for the District of Colorado. MacLeod practiced law in the Boston area before joining a law faculty in Alabama.

MacLeod has authored four books, dozens of scholarly articles and more than one hundred essays and book reviews. He is co-editor of the fourth edition of Christie and Martin’s Jurisprudence (West Academic 2020) and author of Property and Practical Reason (Cambridge University Press 2015) and other books. His legal scholarship can be found in law reviews such as the Notre Dame Law Review and Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, and his jurisprudential work in peer-reviewed journals such as the Modern Law Review. MacLeod is an instructor in the James Madison Program’s summer seminar in jurisprudence at Princeton. MacLeod’s opinion pieces have appeared in the Washington Post, Washington Times, National Review Online and several local newspapers.

MacLeod’s public service includes an appointment as a special Deputy Attorney General of Alabama. An Operational Auxiliarist in the U.S. Coast Guard, he has served as staff adviser to both Auxiliary active-duty commands. At home, MacLeod marvels at and tries to keep up with the joys of his life, his wife and daughters.




  • With George C. Christie and Patrick H. Martin, JURISPRUDENCE: TEXT AND READINGS ON THE PHILOSOPHY OF LAW (4th ed., West Academic Publishing 2020)
  • With Robert L. McFarland, FOUNDATIONS OF LAW (Carolina Academic Press 2017)
  • PROPERTY AND PRACTICAL REASON (Cambridge University Press 2015)

Book Chapters


  •  To Caesar (Only) What is Caesar’s, in SOCIAL CONSERVATISM FOR THE COMMON GOOD: A PROTESTANT ENGAGEMENT WITH ROBERT P. GEORGE (Andrew Walker, ed., Crossway 2022)
  • The Boundaries of Dominion, in CHRISTIANITY AND PRIVATE LAW (Robert Cochran and Michael Moreland, eds., Routledge 2020)
  • The Substantial Burden Test in RLUIPA, in ZONING AND PLANNING LAW HANDBOOK (Patricia E. Salkin, ed., West Publishing 2012)

Academic Articles


  • The First Amendment, Discrimination, and Public Accommodations at Common Law, 112 KENTUCKY LAW JOURNAL __ (2023)
  • Vested Patents and Equal Justice, 72 CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW __ (2023)
  • Opus as the Core of Property, 9 TEXAS A&M JOURNAL OF PROPERTY LAW 637 (2023) (invited for symposium issue)
  • The Bare Necessity of Natural Law, 2023 JOURNAL OF CHRISTIAN LEGAL THOUGHT __ (2023) (invited)
  • What Makes Property Liberal?, 84 MODERN LAW REVIEW 1427 (2021) (peer reviewed)
  • Cyber Trespass and Property Concepts, 10 IP THEORY 4 (2021)
  • Public Rights After Oil States Energy, 95 NOTRE DAME LAW REVIEW 1281 (2020)
  • Patent Infringement as Trespass, 69 ALABAMA LAW REVIEW 723 (2018)
  • Of Brutal Murder and Transcendental Sovereignty: The Meaning of Vested Private Rights, 41 HARVARD JOURNAL OF LAW& PUBLIC POLICY 253 (2017)
  • Metaphysical Right and Practical Obligations, 48 UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS LAW REVIEW 431 (2017)
  • Tempering Civil Rights Conflicts: Common Law for the Moral Marketplace, 2016 MICHIGAN STATE LAW REVIEW 643
  • Strategic and Tactical Totalization in the Totalitarian Epoch, 5 BRITISH JOURNAL OF AMERICAN LEGAL STUDIES 57 (2016) (peer reviewed)
  • Rights, Privileges, and the Future of Marriage Law, 28 REGENT UNIVERSITY LAW REVIEW 71 (2015) (invited)
  • Bridging the Gaps in Property Theory, 77 MODERN LAW REVIEW 1009 (2014) (peer reviewed)
  • Universities as Constitutional Lawmakers, 17 UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA JOURNAL OF CONSTITUTIONAL LAW ONLINE 1 (2014)
  • Private Rights and Duties, 6 FAULKNER LAW REVIEW 65 (2014) (invited)
  • Identifying Values in Land Use Regulation, 101 KENTUCKY LAW JOURNAL 55 (2012)
  • The Mystery of Life in the Laboratory of Democracy: Personal Autonomy in State Law, 59 CLEVELAND STATE LAW REVIEW 589 (2012)
  • Resurrecting the Bogeyman: The Curious Forms of the Substantial Burden Test in RLUIPA, 40 REAL ESTATE LAW JOURNAL 115 (2011) (peer reviewed)
  • Empathy’s White Elephant: Responding to the Subprime Mortgage Crisis Without Denigrating the Poor, 9 GEORGETOWN JOURNAL OF LAW & PUBLIC POLICY 283 (2011)
  • A Non-Fatal Collision: Where Religious Land Uses and Community Interests Meet, 42 URBAN LAWYER 41 (2010) (peer reviewed)
  • A Gift Worth Dying For?: Debating the Volitional Nature of Suicide in Personal Property Law, 45 IDAHO LAW REVIEW 93 (2008)
  • The Search for Moral Neutrality in Same-Sex Marriage Decisions, 23 BYU JOURNAL OF PUBLIC LAW 1 (2008)
  • All for One: A Review of Victim-centric Justifications for Criminal Punishment, 13 BERKELEY JOURNAL OF CRIMINAL LAW31 (2008)

Book Reviews and Essays


  • Critical Theories and the Rule of Law, Touchstone Magazine (March 2023)
  • Business Owners Have Rights Too, Public Discourse (December 5, 2022)
  • Fictions and Lies in a Lawless Age, Public Discourse (February 20, 2022) (reviewing STEPHEN D. SMITH, FICTIONS, LIES AND THE AUTHORITY OF LAW)
  • Churches: An Existence of Their Own, Anchoring Truths (November 17, 2021)
  • Justice Thomas at 30: Principle Over Precedent, National Review Online (October 22, 2021)
  • The Problem-Solving Framers, Law & Liberty (October 6, 2021) (reviewing DONALD DRAKEMAN, THE HOLLOW CORE OFCONSTITUTIONAL THEORY)
  • No, The Texas Abortion Law’s Enforcement Mechanism Isn’t Unprecedented, National Review Online (September 9, 2021)
  • Roe v. Wade Granted Special Privileges to Abortionists, National Review Online (August 26, 2021)
  • With Ryan T. Anderson, Clarence Thomas is Right About Big Tech, National Review Online (April 19, 2021)
  • With Andrew Koppelman, Between the Trenches of the Culture Wars, But Not With Ill Will: An Exchange, Public Discourse (January 7, 2021)
  • Making Cyber Criminals Walk the Constitutional Plank, Law & Liberty (November 23, 2020)
  • Uncluttering the Ground Between the Trenches, Public Discourse (October 7, 2020) (reviewing ANDREW KOPPELMAN, GAY RIGHTS VS RELIGIOUS LIBERTY?)
  • Suing for Peace in the Wedding Vendor Wars, Public Discourse (October 6, 2020) (reviewing ANDREW KOPPELMAN, GAY RIGHTS VS RELIGIOUS LIBERTY?)
  • Natural Law for a Lawless People, Public Discourse (September 10, 2020) (reviewing KODY COOPER, THOMAS HOBBES AND THE NATURAL LAW)
  • What We’ll Learn About Civil Society, Family, and Technology from Coronavirus, Public Discourse (March 16, 2020)
  • Essences or Intersectionality: Understanding Why We Can’t Understand Each Other, Public Discourse (March 1, 2020)
  • Bagehot and the Causes of Our Crisis, Online Library of Liberty (January 3, 2020) (lead essay in symposium on THE ENGLISH CONSTITUTION) (invited)

Replies to Respondents


  • Sovereignty and the Rule of Law (January 28, 2020)
  • Bagehot as Aristotle (January 30, 2020)
  • Review of GREAT CHRISTIAN JURISTS IN ENGLISH HISTORY, 34 Journal of Law and Religion 123 (2019) (invited)
  • Piracy, Protests, and the Problem of China, Public Discourse (October 28, 2019)
  • Toward a Productive Discussion About Immigration, Public Discourse (September 4, 2019)
  • A Case of Stolen Jurisprudence in Kansas, Public Discourse (June 12, 2019)
  • Ordered Liberty and the Demands of Law, Law & Liberty (April 1, 2019) (reviewing BRIAN MCCALL, THE ARCHITECTURE OF LAW) (invited)
  • Legislatures Cannot Abolish Marriage, Public Discourse (November 20, 2018)
  • Where Do Our Rights Come From? An Evaluation of American Patent Law, Starting Points Journal (October 22, 2018)
  • Our Universal and Particular Constitution, Public Discourse (October 4, 2018)
  • The Thousands-Year Old Constitution, Public Discourse (October 2, 2018)
  • How Legislatures Can Combat the Problem of Judicial Supremacy and Protect Human Rights, Public Discourse (September 24, 2018) (reviewing Webber et al, LEGISLATED RIGHTS: SECURING HUMAN RIGHTS THROUGH LEGISLATION)
  • Racism, the Legacy Museum, and the Costs of Self-Deception, Public Discourse (August 1, 2018)
  • The Human Element in Property, The American Project (April 2, 2018)
  • Review of INSIDE THE MIND OF THOMAS MORE: THE WITNESS OF HIS WRITINGS, 11 Journal of Faith & the Academy 112 (2018)
  • Equal Property Rights for All, Including Christian Wedding Cake Bakers, Public Discourse (November 30, 2017)
  • The Impoverishment of Law and the Loss of Ordered Liberty, Public Discourse (November 6, 2017) (Part 2 of a review ofJohn Corvino, Ryan T. Anderson, and Sherif Girgis, DEBATING RELIGIOUS LIBERTY AND DISCRIMINATION)
  • Debating Liberty, Public Discourse (November 5, 2017) (Part 1 of a review of John Corvino, Ryan T. Anderson, and Sherif Girgis, DEBATING RELIGIOUS LIBERTY AND DISCRIMINATION)
  • Law Schools Guard Entry Into the Profession and Should Teach Virtue, James G. Martin Center (July 26, 2017)
  • Kuyper and Pope Leo as Christian Thinkers, Public Discourse (May 12, 2017)
  • Legal Fictions Matter: A Reply to S. Adam Seagrave, Public Discourse (February 7, 2017)
  • (Natural) Law Matters, Public Discourse (February 2, 2017) (A review of Richard Helmholz, NATURAL LAW IN COURT)
  • That Time I Turned a Routine Traffic Ticket Into the Constitutional Trial of the Century, Public Discourse (January 13, 2017)
  • The Third Amendment: A Neglected Measure for a Skeptical Age, Washington Times Special Bill of Rights Anniversary Edition (December 15, 2016)
  • Banking on the Margins or the Core of Human Flourishing?, Public Discourse (December 7, 2016)
  • The Double Mommy Trap, Public Discourse (October 31, 2016)
  • Texas Lawmen and the Lawless Court, Public Discourse (July 7, 2016)
  • The Right to Be Differently Excellent, Public Discourse (May 5, 2016)
  • Federal Courts, Government Agencies, and Bathroom Policy, Public Discourse (April 25, 2016)
  • What’s Wrong With Rights?, Public Discourse (April 21, 2016)
  • State Supreme Court: SCOTUS Majority is ‘Illegitimate Opinion’ (But Still Law?), New Boston Post (March 4, 2016)
  • A Catechesis for the Tolerant, Public Discourse (February 9, 2016)
  • Injuring the Health of the Legal Profession, New Boston Post (January 21, 2016)
  • ISIS’s War on Civilization is Motivated by Law, New Boston Post (November 17, 2015)
  • Assisted Suicide and the Corruption of Lawyers, New Boston Post (November 16, 2015)
  • Marriage is For Children, Respectful Conversation (November 13, 2015)
  • Birth Certificates, Fatherhood, and Same-Sex Marriage: Sotomayor v. Sotomayor, Public Discourse (November 5, 2015)
  • With Robert McFarland, Did the Supreme Court Take Tennessee Courts Out of the Marriage Business?, Public Discourse (September 24, 2015)
  • The Ambiguous Quest for Marriage Equality, Public Discourse (June 25, 2015)
  • There is a Fundamental Right to Marriage, and We Must Preserve It, Public Discourse (June 16, 2015)
  • Modest Conscience Protections in Louisiana Elicit Hysteria, Public Discourse (May 13, 2015)
  • Religious Freedom and Sexual Identity: A Proposal for Peace, Public Discourse (May 8, 2015)
  • The Common Law: Ginsburg Gets It Wrong, Library of Law and Liberty (May 4, 2015)
  • Judging What?: A Review of ROBERT KATZMANN, JUDGING STATUTES, Library of Law and Liberty (March 2015)
  • Yes, Tyranny is a Fitting Word, Public Discourse (March 31, 2015)
  • Judicial Tyranny UnMoored, Public Discourse (March 30, 2015)
  • The Hidden Costs of Legalized Suicide, Public Discourse (October 27, 2014)
  • C.S. Lewis’ Meditation in a Toolshed and the Inviolability of Life, Canon & Culture (August 27, 2014)
  • Gordon College and Pluralism in Higher Education, Public Discourse (July 30, 2014)
  • How to Support Religious Liberty, Canon & Culture (July 18, 2014)
  • Have Christian Colleges Lost Their Way?, Canon & Culture (June 9, 2014)
  • What’s at Stake at the Bakery: How Property Rights Got Sexy, Public Discourse (March 4, 2014)
  • Who’s Afraid of Legislative Intent?: A Review of RICHARD EKINS, THE NATURE OF LEGISLATIVE INTENT, Library of Law and Liberty (February 2014)
  • No Interest in Fathers, Public Discourse (January 14, 2014)
  • What Will Become of Equal Protection for Women?, Public Discourse (September 13, 2013)
  • Principled Entitlement Reform: Private Ordering Needs Room to Grow, Public Discourse (August 8, 2013)
  • A Moral Foundation for Entitlement Reform, Public Discourse (August 7, 2013)
  • Euphemisms: The Modus Operandi of Death Rights Advocates, Public Discourse (June 20, 2013)
  • Marriage, Religious Liberty, and the Ban Myth, Public Discourse (April 2, 2013)
  • Property Viewed From the Inside, Public Discourse (March 22, 2013)
  • Property and the Regulatory State at the Supreme Court, Public Discourse (March 21, 2013)
  • With Andrew Beckwith, Sky Fall: Gender Ideology Comes to the Schoolhouse, Public Discourse (March 1, 2013)
  • At and Along: A Review of THE LAW AND ETHICS OF MEDICINE by John Keown, 34 ADELAIDE LAW REVIEW 211 (2013)
  • Review of WHAT IS MARRIAGE: MAN AND WOMAN—A DEFENSE, Journal of Faith and the Academy (2013)
  • Law’s Logic at the End of Life, Public Discourse (January 15, 2013)
  • Moral Neutrality, Marriage, and the Supreme Court, Public Discourse (December 10, 2012)
  • The Right to Do Good, Public Discourse (October 16, 2012)
  • Judging Human Worth, Public Discourse (May 9, 2012)
  • Rediscovering Property, Public Discourse (April 19, 2012)
  • Marriage Decisions and the Importance of Judicial Reason, Public Discourse (March 5, 2012)
  • Social Justice, Institutions, and Communities, Public Discourse (January 27, 2012)
  • Purpose, Palliative Care, and Respect for Human Life, Public Discourse (January 11, 2012)
  • Private Property and Human Flourishing, Public Discourse (October 25, 2011)
  • Assisted Suicide: The Forgotten Front in the Fight for Life, Public Discourse (September 14, 2011)
  • Economic Justice and the Internal Point of View, 17 Journal Jurisprudence 11 (2013)
  • Review of JEAN PORTER, MINISTERS OF THE LAW, 4 Journal of Faith and the Academy 68 (2011)
  • The (Contingent) Value of Autonomy and the Reflexivity of (Some) Basic Goods, 5 Journal Jurisprudence 11 (2010)
  • The Law as Bard: Extolling a Culture’s Virtues, Exposing Its Vices, and Telling Its Story, 1 Journal Jurisprudence 11 (2008)
  • The Groningen Protocol: Legalized Infanticide in the Netherlands and Why it Should Not be Adopted in the United States, 10 MICHIGAN STATE JOURNAL OF MEDICINE & LAW 557 (2006)

Representative Presentations

    • Classical Legal Solutions to the Problems of the Information Age, Mathias Corvinus Collegium, Budapest, Hungary (December 1, 2022)
    • The Jury in the Age of Public Rights, LSU Law Center and Eric Voegelin Institute, Louisiana State University (January 22, 2019s )
    • Jus Gentium as the Solution to Transnational Phobias, Sallux ECPM Foundation, Brussels, Belgium (December 2, 2018)
    • Fundamental Rights, IESE Business School, University of Navarra, Munich, Germany (November 29, 2018)
    • Trespass and Intention, Boston University School of Law, Property Works in Progress workshop (October 19, 2018)
    • IP as a Property Doctrine, Center for Innovation, Intellectual Property and Competition, National Law University, Delhi India (March 22, 2018)
    • Self-governance and Intellectual Property, Conference on Voluntary Governance, Michigan State University, James Madison College (December 2, 2017)
    • Property and Charity, Queen’s University, Ontario, Visiting Speaker Series lecture (March 2, 2015)
    • What Marriage (Still) Is, Suffolk University School of Law, American Constitution Society, Suffolk Law School chapter (October 16, 2012)
    • RLUIPA and Federalism, panelist at Association for Law, Property and Society annual conference (March 4, 2011)

Media Highlights

  • Interviewed in Gérard Mordillat documentary, Le Monde et sa Propriété, ARTE TV Europe (2022)
  • With Becky Dummermuth, A Test in Virginia of the Right to Remain Silent, Washington Post (June 10, 2022)
  • Interviewed on Fox & Friends, Fox News Channel, to discuss educating young law students (Nov. 29, 2017)
  • Neil Gorsuch, The Scholar and the Man, Washington Times (March 28, 2017)
  • Interviewed on the Michelle Meow Show, Progressive Voices Network, to discuss religious conscience and sexual identity in public accommodations (May 26, 2015)