Elizabeth Kirk


  • Columbus School of Law
  • Expertise

  • Law and the Family
  • Catholic Social Thought and the Law
  • Elizabeth Kirk joined the Columbus School of Law after serving as the Director and Kowalski Chair of Catholic Thought at the Institute for Faith and Culture at the St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center at the University of Kansas. From 2005 to 2010, she served as the Associate Director of the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture, an interdisciplinary center inspired by the teachings of St. Pope John Paul II and dedicated to bringing the Catholic moral, intellectual and cultural tradition to bear upon the formation of students. From 2012 to 2016, Kirk served as a resident fellow in cultural and legal studies at the Stein Center for Social Research at Ave Maria University. She previously taught law at The Columbus School of Law from 2002-03 and at Ave Maria School of Law in Ann Arbor, Michigan from 2003-05, and clerked for the Honorable Daniel A. Manion of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit from 2000-02. Prior to entering academia, she practiced law, representing religious and charitable organizations and in the area of estate planning.

    Kirk holds an undergraduate degree in English Literature from the University of Missouri, a law degree from the University of Notre Dame, and has done graduate studies in theology. She studied jurisprudence with Charles E. Rice and John Finnis, Aquinas on Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics with Ralph McInerny, the Catholic intellectual renaissance of the 20th century with Michael Novak, and the relationship between philosophy and theology with Fr. Matthew Lamb.

    Kirk has considerable experience in matters pertaining to the family in law and policy, and is a frequent speaker, media expert, and writer on such matters. She is an associate scholar for the Charlotte Lozier Institute, serving as a legal policy expert, with a special interest in adoption law and policy. In 2010, she helped found the Vita Institute, an intensive interdisciplinary training program for leaders in the national and international pro-life movement held annually at the University of Notre Dame. Kirk is a board member of The Catholic Bar Association and the Fellowship for Catholic Scholars, and formerly served as a consultant to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Pro-Life Committee under Archbishop Joseph Naumann.


    Professional Research and Writing

    Impact of the Strict Scrutiny Standard of Judicial Review on Abortion Legislation under the Kansas Supreme Court’s Decision in Hodes & Nauser v. Schmidt, On Point Series No. 42, Charlotte Lozier Institute.

    Humanae vitae and The Cross of Infertility, Humanae Vitae, 50 Years Later, Embracing God’s Vision for Marriage, Love, and Life; A Compendium, Theresa Notare, ed. pp. 317-332 (Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 2019).

    John Paul II and the Law, 21 Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics and Public Policy 1 (2007)

    Selected Additional Writings

    The Kansas Supreme Court Has Declared a ‘Natural Right’ to Abortion, Public Discourse (May 8, 2019)

    Countering the ‘Soft Stigma’ Against Adoption, Institute for Family Studies (December 3, 2018)

    We Need to Talk About Adoption, First Things (September 15, 2015) • “Is Adoption Second-Best to a ‘Real Family?’” Aleteia (November 24, 2014)