Stephen Carter is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Yale Law School. He has taught at Yale since 1982. Carter is known for his legal and social policy writings, which include Reflections of an Affirmative Action Baby, The Culture of Disbelief, and God's Name in Vain: The Wrongs and Rights of Religion in Politics. He has also written novels, including New England White and The Emperor of Ocean Park. Carter's areas of expertise include constitutional law, contracts, intellectual property law, secrets and lying, and law and religion. He clerked for Judge Spottswood W. Robinson III of the D.C. Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals for and Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court. He was educated at Stanford University and Yale, where he earned his law degree.
Question: What is your outlook?
Stephen Carter: My outlook for the future is guarded. As a Christian, I am not permitted to despair; but I’m also not permitted to claim that everything is rosy, you see? That as a Christian, my view has to be that the world is broken and will always be broken until what a lot of people call “the end times” or something like that. And because it’s broken that means it’ll be imperfect. People will be wounded. People will be hurt. And the question for me in the future is, “Will we do a better job understanding we owe people in their woundedness and their brokenness? Will we do better understanding and trying to heal people and help people or not?” I just hope for a world in which we spend less time thinking . . . obsessing about ourselves in the midst of our luxury – “I didn’t get that promotion,” that sort of thing – and think more about those who are maybe not enjoying our luxury in the same sense. But am I hopeful and am I optimistic or not? I don’t know the answer to that. I can only say that I’m guarded, that I think about it a lot; but I can’t predict a trend.
Recorded on: 7/25/07