Published: Feb. 25, 2020

John C. Eastman and Robert W. Merry are 2020-21 visiting scholars, Benson Center for the Study of Western Civilization announces; Elizabeth C’de Baca Eastman is senior scholar in residence


Law professor John C. Eastman and journalist Robert W. Merry have been named the 2020-21 Visiting Scholars in Conservative Thought and Policy at the University of Colorado Boulder. 

Additionally, political scientist Elizabeth C’de Baca Eastman has been named senior scholar in residence at the Bruce D. Benson Center for the Study of Western Civilization, which includes the Conservative Thought and Policy Program.

John C. Eastman, the Henry Salvatori Professor of Law & Community Service at Chapman University; and Merry, who’s served as editor of The American Conservative and The National Interest, are scheduled to teach two courses per semester in fall 2020 and spring 2021.

They will be encouraged to foster discussion by hosting public events in the campus community and perhaps around the state.

I applaud CU for recognizing the importance of intellectual diversity in our nation’s institutions of higher learning.”

Both visiting scholars said they were “delighted” about their appointments. John C. Eastman added, “I applaud CU for recognizing the importance of intellectual diversity in our nation’s institutions of higher learning.”

Merry said he is eager to teach at CU Boulder, and “I look forward to leveraging my experiences in journalism, publishing and the literary world to give students what I hope will be a fresh perspective on American history, foreign policy and the art of writing."

Ben Hale, interim director of the center, praised them both: “These distinguished scholars bring an exciting mix of expertise in constitutional law, journalism and political science to the Benson Center and the CU Boulder campus. It’s a credit to our university and the growing prestige of the Benson Center that we continue to draw leading intellectuals to our visiting scholar program.”

John C. Eastman, a scholar of constitutional law and particularly religious freedom, earned a Juris Doctor from the University of Chicago Law School. He also holds a PhD in government from Claremont University and a BA, cum laude, in politics and economics from the University of Dallas.

He has served as dean of the Chapman University School of Law and also as a law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Merry holds a master’s in journalism from Columbia University and a bachelor’s in editorial journalism from the University of Washington. After serving as a reporter and desk editor at The Denver Post, he spent 12 years at The National Observer and The Wall Street Journal, which are Dow Jones & Co. Inc. publications, covering politics and government. 

Merry also served as managing editor, executive editor and CEO of Congressional Quarterly, a Washington-based publishing company specializing in news and information on Congress, politics, and public policy. He has written five published books, including President McKinley: Architect of the American Century and Where They Stand: The American Presidents in the Eyes of Voters and Historians.

Scholars in residence affiliated with the center are chosen for their ability to contribute to the center's mission, and must work in an area connected to the center's annual theme.

Elizabeth C’de Baca Eastman holds a PhD in political science from Claremont Graduate School, an MA in liberal education from St. John’s Graduate Institute, and a BA with honors in modern French civilization.

Her teaching focus includes political science and political philosophy, history, liberal studies, great books and philosophy. She has taught at several colleges and universities.

The visiting scholar position, a one-year appointment, goes to “highly visible” scholars who are “deeply engaged in either the analytical scholarship or practice of conservative thinking and policymaking or both.”

The search committee that identifies finalists includes members of the faculty and community.

Scholars in residence affiliated with the center are chosen for their ability to contribute to the center's mission, and must work in an area connected to the center's annual theme. In 2020-21, the theme is "Community or Disunity?"

The Conservative Thought and Policy Program is supported by private funds.     


At top of page: John C. Eastman, Elizabeth C’de Baca Eastman and Robert W. Merry (left to right).