Notre Dame ReSources

Author: Dennis Brown

The following Notre Dame faculty are available for additional comment on these people and events in the news:
p. *Contact: Dennis Brown, 219-631-7367;

  • p. Clinton I: President Clinton should be held accountable for his sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky and, more importantly, for lying about it, according to Jimmy Gurule , associate dean and professor of law at the Notre Dame Law School. “It needs to be understood that this isn’t simply about adultery,” says Gurule, a former federal prosecutor and an assistant attorney general from 1990-92. “There are serious charges related to perjury and obstruction of justice being leveled at the chief law enforcement officer of the country. If these allegations are true ? and I would say the evidence shows they are credible ? then Congress must decide if these are impeachable crimes committed by the president. That’s where the debate will be centered. I’m very concerned that there are many people who would simply suggest that this is a private matter and therefore just walk away from it and let it be. I’m very concerned about the message that would send to future presidents regarding how they can comport themselves in the highest office in the land. The worst thing that could happen is if Congress walked away and said they are going to do nothing to hold this man accountable for what he’s done.” *Contact: Dennis Brown, 219-631-7367;
  • p. Clinton II : The question of what is appropriately private in our nonstop media age is central to whether President Clinton will continue in office, according to Robert Schmuhl , professor and chair of American studies and director of the Program in Journalism, Ethics&Democracy at Notre Dame. “With the release of the Starr report, the president’s strategy for survival seems based on trying to make a clear distinction between private matters and public concerns,” Schmuhl says. “By talking in religious terms about having sinned, as the president did at the recent prayer breakfast, he focused on personal, moral transgressions. His lawyers took a similar approach in responding to the report by focusing on a ‘private mistake’ that ‘does not amount to an impeachable action.’ Determining what’s truly private and what’s legitimately public will be at the heart of resolving the current crisis in the weeks ahead. But drawing a distinct line is increasingly difficult ? if not impossible ? in the tell-all media environment that exists today.” *Contact: Dennis Brown, 219-631-7367;
  • p. McGwire/Sosa : A Notre Dame sports psychologist gives Sammy Sosa the edge over Mark McGwire in Major League Baseball’s home-run race. “This now becomes a battle of concentration interacting with the skill level of the opposing pitching staffs that each will face,” says Mickey Franco , staff psychologist in the University Counseling Center and an adjunct assistant professor of psychology. “I think that Sammy has a mental edge since the playoff prospects serve to ‘distract’ him from the home-run race. Meanwhile, Mark is a traveling circus who feels like he owes it to the crowd to treat them with what they came to see. Moreover, the record is Mark’s to lose. This has to build pressure which manifests itself as muscle tension. Mark is due some home runs soon, but I think the situation is ripe for Sammy to stay focused on playing for the sake of winning important games. This could be the best climate for him to experience a steady stream of home runs ? four, maybe five more. If a coach can keep him focused on the wild-card race this could serve wonders for Sammy.” *Contact: Dennis Brown, 219-631-7367;
  • p. Iraq : The international sanctions policy against Iraq could have been “managed more effectively and humanely,” but it does not constitute a case of “genocide of Iraqis” as some in the Catholic peace movement have suggested, writes George Lopez , professor of government at Notre Dame, in the Sept. 11 issue of Commonweal. “The impact of the sanctions may be either immoral or moral,” Lopez writes, “but judgments regarding their effect on innocent people must be assessed clearly by examining the response of the sanctioned country’s leader and in light of the international relief effort mobilized on behalf of the innocent. In the case of Iraq, the moral ground continues to rest with sanctions.” *Contact: Dennis Brown, 219-631-7367;
  • p. Sex selection : Notre Dame biologist Alan Johnson has several serious concerns about a procedure announced this week that enables the sex selection of a child using a new method of testing sperm. “First, given that this procedure isn’t 100 percent effective, you have to ask: What happens if it doesn’t work and a couple ends up with a child of a sex it did not want?” he said. “They might be more likely to abort, and that is absolutely indefensible to me. Second, there is the issue of side effects. Apparently, there have been no birth defects so far, but there have been only a few samples. Subtle side effects may not show up until there are many samples. Then, the question is: Will a parent feel differently about a child with a man-made birth defect instead of a God-made one? And, of course, there are the overall ethical considerations to consider. This is all a very slippery slope that must be approached with great caution.” *Contact: Dennis Brown, 219-631-7367;
  • p. Social Security : Two Notre Dame economists fear that the recent alarm about the Social Security program might tempt policymakers “to seize upon the current crisis mentality to dismantle the basic structures of Social Security.” Teresa Ghilarducci , associate professor of economics and director of the Higgins Labor Research Center, and Martin Wolfson, associate professor of economics, argue in the Aug. 28 edition of the National Catholic Reporter that such radical proposals as investment of Social Security funds in the stock market “would force retirees into taking higher risks and destroy the basic principal of Social Security as social, rather than individual, insurance.” They write that since the surest means to strengthen the program is to promote wage growth, “the best thing that Congress and the president could do for Social Security would be to roll back the policies that have hindered workers from bargaining for higher wages in the past 15 years, such as the use of replacement workers; making it more difficult for corporations to close plants, abandon workers and communities, and move overseas; restoring the real value of the minimum wage; and putting some teeth into the enforcement of unfair labor practices by the National Labor Relations Board.” *Contact: Michael Garvey, 219-631-7367;
  • p. Women in politics : Women are making substantial political progress worldwide as members of parliaments and Cabinet ministers, but after a century of participation in politics they still constitute just 12 percent of elected legislators and 9 percent of Cabinet appointees, according to a new study by a University of Notre Dame political scientist. The portrait of women in the parliaments, Cabinets and chief executive offices of the world is the product of research conducted this year by Andrew Reynolds , assistant professor of government and international studies at Notre Dame, who gathered data from a wide variety of international sources. The survey, which includes 180 nations and related territories, also categorizes the types of portfolios held by women Cabinet ministers. *Contact: Dennis Brown, 219-631-7367;

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