Charles Rice

Professor Emeritus of Law

Charles E. Rice was a faculty member at Notre Dame Law School for more than 45 years.

His areas of specialization were constitutional law and jurisprudence. He was also a noted expert in natural law.

Rice was born in 1931, received his B.A. from the College of the Holy Cross, his J.D. from Boston College Law School, and his LL.M. and J.S.D. from New York University. He served in the U.S. Marine Corps and was a lieutenant colonel in the Marine Corps Reserve. He practiced law in New York City and taught at NYU School of Law and Fordham Law School before joining, in 1969, the faculty at Notre Dame Law School.

He served for eight years as state vice-chairman of the New York State Conservative Party. From 1981 to 1993, Rice was a member of the Education Appeal Board of the U.S. Department of Education. He served as a consultant to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and to various congressional committees on constitutional issues and was an editor of the American Journal of Jurisprudence.

His video lecture series, The Good Code: The Natural Law, was available from the Eternal Word Television Network. Among his books are Freedom of AssociationThe Supreme Court and Public Prayer, The Vanishing Right to Live, Authority and Rebellion, Beyond Abortion: The Theory and Practice of the Secular State, No Exception: A Pro-Life Imperative, 50 Questions on the Natural Law, and The Winning Side: Questions on Living the Culture of Life. His later books were Where Did I Come From? Where Am I Going? How Do I Get There? (2nd ed.) co-authored with Dr. Theresa Farnan, and What Happened to Notre Dame?, both published by St. Augustine's Press in 2009. He was a faculty advisor and assistant coach of the Notre Dame Boxing Club.

Rice passed away on February 25, 2015. (In Memoriam: Charles E. Rice)



  • What Happened to Notre Dame? (St. Augustine's Press, 2009)
  • Where Did I Come From? Where Am I Going? How Do I Get There? (St. Augustine's Press, 2006), co-authored with Theresa Farnan (2nd ed., 2009)
  • The Winning Side: Questions on Living the Culture of Life (St. Brendan's Institute, 1999), 2nd ed., (St. Augustine's Press 2009)
  • Fifty Questions on the Natural Law: What it Is and Why We Need It (Ignatius Press, 1993)
  • No Exception, A Pro-Life Imperative (1990)
  • Beyond Abortion: The Theory and Practice of the Secular State (Franciscan Herald Press, 1979)
  • Authority and Rebellion: The Case for Orthodoxy in the Catholic Church (Doubleday, 1971)
  • The Vanishing Right to Live: An Appeal for a Renewed Reverence for Life (Doubleday, 1969)
  • The Supreme Court and Public Prayer (Fordham University Press, 1964)
  • Freedom of Association (New York University Press, 1962)


Professor Rice wrote numerous articles on a variety of subjects, including:

  • Rights and the Need for Objective Moral Limits, 3 Ave Maria L. Rev. 259 (2005)
  • Contraception as a Mask of Personhood, Univ. of St. Thomas L.J. 713 (2003)
  • Abortion, Euthanasia and the Need to Build a New "Culture of Life," 12 Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics & Public Policy 497 (1998)
  • Edward J. Murphy: A Professor For All Seasons,with David T. Link, P.V. Neimeyer, C. Roth, R.E. Spiedel and T.D. Yannucci, 71 Notre Dame Law Review 557 (1996)
  • In Memoriam: The Honorable J. Daniel Mahoney, 72 Notre Dame Law Review 1219 (1996)
  • The Legality and Morality of Using Deadly Force to Protect Unborn Children from Abortionists, 5 Regent University Law Review 83 (1995)
  • Some Reasons for a Restoration of Natural Law Jurisprudence, 24 Wake Forest Law Review 539 (1989)
  • Issues Raised by the Abortion Rescue Movement, 23 Suffolk University Law Review 15 (1989)
  • Withdrawing Jurisdiction from Federal Courts, 7 Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy 13 (1984)
  • Congress and the Supreme Court Jurisdiction, 27 Villanova Law Review 959 (1982)
  • Conscientious Objection to Public Education: The Grievance and the Remedies, Brigham Young University Law Review 847 (1978)

Appellate Briefs

Professor Rice authored numerous briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court and other courts on constitutional issues.

Areas of Expertise

  • Constitutional Law
  • Natural Law Theory