Featured Faculty: Carter Snead

Author: Susan Good

Assoc. Research Fellow, The Linacre Centre

carter snead faculty

Notre Dame Associate Professor of Law Carter Snead was recently appointed an associate research fellow at The Linacre Centre, a Roman Catholic academic institute that engages with the moral questions arising in clinical practice and biomedical research. “It is not just the premier Christian bioethics institute in Britain, but one of the finest in the world, Christian or secular,” says the Most Rev. Anthony Fisher O.P., bishop of Parramatta, Australia, and a respected ethicist.

Located in Oxford, England, the Linacre Centre applies to biomedical research the principles of natural law, virtue ethics, and the teaching of the Catholic Church, and seeks to develop the implications of that teaching for emerging fields of practice. The Centre engages in scholarly dialogue with academics and practitioners of other traditions. It contributes to public policy debates as well as to debates and consultations within the Church. In addition, it runs educational programs for, and gives advice to, Catholics and other interested healthcare professionals and biomedical scientists. The Linacre Centre operates in collaboration with Blackfriars Hall, an educational institution within Oxford University.

“I am honored by the appointment and I look forward to contributing to the very fine work of the Linacre Centre,” says Prof. Snead.

Prof. Snead’s principal area of research is public bioethics – the governance of science, medicine, and biotechnology in the name of ethical goods. His scholarly works have explored issues relating to neuroethics, enhancement, stem cell research, abortion, and end-of-life decision-making.

In addition to his scholarship and teaching, Prof. 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, Professor 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.” In 2006, he testified in the U.S. House of Representatives on regulatory questions concerning RU-486 (the abortion pill).

From 2004 to 2005, Prof. Snead led the U.S. government delegation and served as its chief negotiator for the Universal Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights (adopted in October 2005). He served (along with Dr. Edmund Pellegrino) as U.S. government’s Permanent Observer to the Council of Europe’s Steering Committee on Bioethics (CDBI), 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 (AAAS), he regularly lectures to state and federal judges on the uses of neuroimaging in the courtroom.

In 2008, Prof. Snead was appointed by the Director-General of UNESCO to a four-year term on the International Bioethics Committee (IBC), 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.

More features