O. Carter Snead

William P. and Hazel B. White Director of the Center for Ethics and Culture
Professor of Law
Concurrent Professor of Political Science

Office: 2141 Eck Hall of Law
Phone: 574.631.8259
Fax: 574.631.8078
Email: snead.1@nd.edu
Staff Assistant: Debbie Sumption
CV: View
SSRN: View

Professor Carter Snead is internationally recognized as a leading expert in public bioethics – the governance of science, medicine, and biotechnology in the name of ethical goods. His research explores issues relating to neuroethics, enhancement, stem cell research, abortion, and end-of-life decision-making. He has authored more than 40 journal articles, book chapters, and essays. His scholarly works appear in such publications as the New York University Law Review, the Harvard Law Review Forum, the Vanderbilt Law Review, Constitutional Commentary, Quaderni Costituzionali (Italy’s premier journal of constitutional law), the Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law and Ethics, the Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, and Political Science Quarterly. He is also the editor of two book series for the University of Notre Dame Press – "Catholic Ideas for a Secular World," and "Notre Dame Studies in Medical Ethics." Snead teaches Law & Bioethics, Health Law, Torts, and Constitutional Criminal Procedure.

In addition to his scholarship and teaching, Snead has provided advice on the legal and public policy dimensions of bioethical questions to officials in all three branches of the U.S. government, and in several intergovernmental fora. Prior to joining the law faculty at Notre Dame, Snead served as General Counsel to The President’s Council on Bioethics (Chaired by Dr. Leon R. Kass), where he was the primary drafter of the 2004 report, “Reproduction and Responsibility: The Regulation of New Biotechnologies.” He has testified in the U.S. House of Representatives on regulatory questions concerning RU-486 (the abortion pill). In 2013, he testified in the Texas state legislature on the constitutionality of a proposed fetal pain bill. Snead led the U.S. government delegation to UNESCO and served as its chief negotiator for the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, adopted in October 2005. He served (with President’s Council on Bioethics Chairman, Dr. Edmund Pellegrino) as the U.S. government’s Permanent Observer to the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee on Bioethics, where he assisted in its efforts to elaborate international instruments and standards for the ethical governance of science and medicine. In conjunction with the American Association for the Advancement of Science, he regularly lectures to state and federal judges on the uses of neuroimaging in the courtroom. In 2008, he was appointed by the director-general of UNESCO to a four-year term on the International Bioethics Committee, a 36-member body of independent experts that advises member states on bioethics, law, and public policy. The IBC is the only bioethics commission in the world with a global mandate. In 2016, he was appointed to the Pontifical Academy for Life, the principal bioethics advisory body to Pope Francis.

Snead received his J.D., magna cum laude, from Georgetown University, where he was elected to the Order of the Coif, and his bachelor of arts from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Md. He clerked for Judge Paul J. Kelly, Jr., of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.

Courses Taught

LAW60901, Torts
LAW70359, Constitutional Criminal Procedure
LAW70914, Health Law
LAW73828, Bioethics and the Law Seminar


Books and Book Chapters:
Public Bioethics and The Problem of Persons (manuscript-in-progress)
Classics of Catholic Culture: An Edited Anthology with Commentaries (edited with Alasdair MacIntyre)(in progress)
Technology and the American Constitution in Eloise Scotford, Karen Yeung, and Roger Brownsword, eds., The Oxford University Press Handbook on The Law and Regulation of Technology (with Stephanie Maloney) (Oxford University Press) (in press).
The Problem of Conscience in Spirituality and Religion within the Culture of Medicine: From Evidence to Practice (with Michael Moreland) (Oxford University Press) (in press).
The Complexity of Catholicism: Politics and Public Bioethics, in Jason T. Eberl, et al., eds., Catholic Perspectives on Bioethics (with Michael Fragoso) (Springer) (in press).
Catholicism and Abortion, in Alireza Bagheri, ed., Religious and Nonreligious Perspectives on Abortion (with Laura Wolk)(University of Notre Dame Press)(in press).
Autonomy and Individual Responsibility, in Henk ten Have & Berd Gordijn, eds., Compendium of Global Bioethics (with Kelli Mulder-Westrate) (Springer 2014).
Human Dignity in U.S. Law, in The Cambridge University Press Handbook on Human Dignity (Roger Brownsword, ed.) (Cambridge University Press 2014) (peer reviewed).
Human Dignity in American Public Bioethics in Human Dignity in Bioethics: From Worldviews to the Public Square (Stephen C. Dilley & Nathan J. Palpant, eds.) (Routledge 2013) (invited contribution) (peer reviewed).
Cognitive Neuroscience and the Future of Punishment, in Constitution 3.0: Freedom and Technological Change, pp. 130-155 (Jeffrey Rosen & Benjamin Wittes, eds.) (Brookings Press 2011) (invited contribution) (peer reviewed).
Articles and Essays:
Memory and Punishment, 64 Vanderbilt Law Review 1195-1264 (2011).
Science, Public Bioethics, and the Problem of Integration, 43 University of California, Davis Law Review 1529-1604 (2010),cited in Sherley v. Sebelius, 644 F.3d 388 (D.C. Cir. 2011).
Response to Nicholas Boyle’s “God, Sex, and America: The Decline of the Common Morality,” 3 Journal of Law, Philosophy, and Culture 273-276 (2009) (peer reviewed symposium issue).
Public Bioethics and the Bush Presidency, 32 Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 867-913 (2009).
Unenumerated Rights and the Limits of Analogy: A Critique of the Right to Medical Self-Defense, 121 Harvard Law Review Forum 1-12 (2007) (invited response to Eugene Volokh, Medical Self-Defense, Prohibited Experimental Therapies, and Payment for Organs, 120 Harvard Law Review 813 (2007)).
Neuroimaging and the “Complexity” of Capital Punishment, 82 New York University Law Review 1265-1339 (2007).
The (Surprising) Truth about Schiavo: A Defeat for the Cause of Autonomy, 22 Constitutional Commentary 383-404 (2005) (peer reviewed).
The Patentability of Human Embryos in the U.S. and E.U.: A Comparative Perspective __ Quaderni Costituzionali __  (with Professor Lorenza Violini, University of Milan) (in progress)
The Law and Policy of Embryo Research in America, Human Reproduction and Genetic Ethics (Equinox 2011)(peer reviewed UK journal).
The Limits of Federal Funding for Embryo Research in America: A Recent Conflict, __ Quaderni Costituzionali __  (in draft)
Persone incapaci e decisioni di fine vita (con uno sguardo oltreoceano)(Incapacitated Persons and End of Life Decisionmaking (with an Across-the-Ocean View)), 1 Quaderni Costituzionali 7-34 (2010) (with Andrea Simoncini) (peer reviewed).
Il finanziamento delle ricerche sulle cellule staminali in Europa e negli USA (A Comparative Analysis of E.U. and U.S. Funding Policies for Embryonic Stem Cell Research: Details, Aims, and Effects), 4 Quaderni Costituzionali 834-838 (2006) (translated from English to Italian by Prof. Stefania Ninatti) (invited submission) (peer reviewed).
The Pedagogical Significance of the Bush Stem Cell Policy: A Window into the Nature of Bioethical Regulation in the U.S., 5Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law & Ethics 491-504 (2005) (peer reviewed) (invited submission) (reprinted in Judith F. Daar, Reproductive Technologies and the Law (Lexis 2012)).
Dynamic Complementarity: Terri’s Law and Separation of Powers Principles in the End-of-Life Context, 57 Florida  Law Review 53-89 (2005).
Preparing the Groundwork for a Responsible Debate on Stem Cell Research and Cloning, 39 New England Law Review 479-488 (2005) (keynote address for symposium).
Federal Criminal Conspiracy, 35 American Criminal Law Review 739 (1998) (co-author).
Bioetica Pubblica e Incommensurabilita, Atlantide, Anno VIII, Numero 26, 2/2012 (peer reviewed).
Bioethics and Self-Governance: The Lessons of the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 34: 204-222 (2009) (invited contribution to symposium issue) (peer reviewed).
A Review of Helena Silverstein’s How Courts Fail Pregnant Minors (NYU Press 2007), 123 Political Science Quarterly 343-345 (Summer 2008) (invited book review) (peer reviewed).
Neuroimaging and Capital Punishment, 19 The New Atlantis: A Journal of Technology and Society 35 (2008)
Neuroimaging, Entrapment, and the Predisposition to Crime, 7 American Journal of Bioethics 60-61 (2007) (invited Peer Commentary) (peer reviewed).
Assessing UNESCO’s Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights, 7 National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 53-71 (Spring 2007) (invited essay) (peer reviewed).
Technology and the Constitution, 5 The New Atlantis: A Journal of Technology and Society 61-69 (Spring 2004) (invited essay).

On the Patentability of Genetic Resources (white paper prepared at the request of the Diplomatic Corps of the Holy See) (with Joseph Ganahl) (July 2013).
U.S. Foreign Aid and Bioethics, Federalist Society New Federal Initiatives Project, April 23, 2009 (invited white paper)
Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Federalist Society New Federal Initiatives Project, May 19, 2010 (invited white paper)
Selected Commentary:
The Legacy of a Pro-Life Giant, Columbia Magazine, January 1, 2017.
Tim Kaine Chose Power Over Ethics, CNN Opinion, July 28, 2016.
For SCOTUS, a New Era of Judicial Interference (Commentary on Whole Woman’s Health v. Hellerstedt), CNN Opinion, June 28, 2016.
Planned Parenthood Will Forego Payment for Fetal Tissue: So Now It’s Ok Because It’s Free?, Fox News Opinion, October 13, 2015.
It’s Time to Defund Planned Parenthood, Fox News Opinion, July 21, 2015.
Here Come the Irish: Notre Dame Marches for Life, Public Discourse, January 26, 2015 (invited essay)
RFRA Post-Hobby Lobby: What Now?, SCOTUSblog, (Supreme Court of the United States Blog), July 3, 2014 (invited essay in online academic symposium).
Cline vs. Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice: Once More unto the Breach, SCOTUSblog (Supreme Court of the United States Blog), September 16, 2013 (invited essay in online academic symposium).
The Constitutionality of the Texas Fetal Pain Bill (SB1), Public Discourse, July 9, 2013 (invited essay).
Una Costituzione Bioetica?, IL SOLE 24 ORE, January 13, 2013.
Religious Liberty and the Obama Administration, First Things, March 2012 (invited essay).
Op-Ed, Planned Parenthood’s Hostages, Wall Street Journal, February 6, 2012 (with Robert P. George).
Conscience, Coercion, and Healthcare, Public Discourse, September 26, 2011 (with Helen Alvare and Gerard V. Bradley) (invited essay).
Protect the Weak and Vulnerable: The Primacy of the Life Issue, Public Discourse, August 22, 2011 (invited essay).
Op-Ed, Respect for Ethics Enabled Stem Cell Coup, Chicago Tribune, Monday, December 3, 2007, 22 (on new technique for derivation of non-embryonic pluripotent cells).
Op-Ed, Bush Sticks to Principles, Limits Government’s Role, Indianapolis Star, July 24, 2006 (on the veto of a bill seeking to modify the federal funding policy for embryonic stem cell research).    

Areas of Expertise

  • Constitutional Criminal Procedure
  • Constitutional Law
  • Criminal Law
  • Criminal Law & Procedure
  • Law & Bioethics
  • Law & Medicine
  • Law & Science

In the News

Planned Parenthood will forgo payment for fetal tissue: So now it's OK because it's free? (Opinion: O. Carter Snead) - Fox News, Oct 13, 2015
Planned Parenthood to Forgo Payment in Fetal Tissue Programs (Quotes: O. Carter Snead) - ABC News, Oct 13, 2015
Life in the Balance: Physician Assisted Suicide/Aid in Dying - The Sheen Center - Sept. 28, 2015
It's time to defund Planned Parenthood - Fox News Opinion (By: O.Carter Snead), July 21, 2015
WSBT Fact Finder: Indiana's feticide law (Quotes: O. Carter Snead) - WSBT, July 16, 2013
The Constitutionality of Protecting Unborn Babies at 20 Weeks - Real Clear Politics (By: O.Carter Snead), July 10, 2013
The Constitutionality of Protecting Unborn Babies at 20 Weeks Testimony delivered on July 8th before the Texas State Senate Committee on Health and Human Services.
Texas Senators Reopen Debate on Abortion Regulations (Quotes: O. Carter Snead) - The Texas Tribune, July 8, 2013
UK takes step toward 'three-parent babies' (Quotes: O. Carter Snead) - CNN, June 28, 2013
Supreme Court rejects ban on funding Planned Parenthood (Quotes: O. Carter Snead) - Los Angeles Times, May 28, 2013
ND Expert: Creation, destruction of cloned human embryos an "injustice" - May 16, 2013
ND Expert: Justice served in life sentence for Gosnell - May 15, 2013
Abortion doctor convicted of murder waives appeal, avoids death sentence (Quotes: O. Carter Snead) - CNN, May 15, 2013
Why Did Notre Dame End Donations to the Fund to Protect Human Life? - Life News (Opinion by O. Carter Snead), March 11, 2013
Panelist on session entitled, "Can Politics be Hospitable to Life?", part of the 2013 National Review Institute the “Future of Conservatism” summit. Video (40 minutes) - C-Span - January 25, 2013
Una Costituzione bioetica? Il Sole 24 Ore (By: O.Carter Snead) - January 13, 2013
Conference explores virtue of justice in Catholic moral tradition Today's Catholic News - November 27, 2012
Catholic institutions sue government, CNN with Soledad O’Brien, May 22, 2012
The abortion issue comes back to life – The Globe and Mail (Canada), March 26, 2010 (Quotes: O. Carter Snead, Associate Professor of Law)
Prof. Snead on BBC addressing politics of abortion – January 29, 2010
NDExpert: Law school’s Snead says embryonic decision abandons moral neutrality – March 9, 2009
NDExpert: Law School Professor Snead dismayed by President Obama’s abortion funding decision – January 26, 2009
NDExpert: ND Law School professor Snead praises Vatican bioethics document as "eminently reasonable" – December 16, 2008
Law professor Snead to speak at neurotics meeting – October 27, 2008