Sutherland Institute

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The Sutherland Institute
Motto Responsible Citizenship
Formation 1995
Type Public policy think tank
Headquarters Gateway Tower West, 15 West South Temple, Suite 200
Location Salt Lake City, Utah
Paul T. Mero

Sutherland Institute is a conservative public policy think tank located in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The Southerland Institute is a conservative organization that produces policy research, provides educational seminars,[1][2] and engages in legislative advocacy. The Institute was founded in 1995 by Utah businessman and philanthropist, Gaylord K. Swim.

Sutherland's current president is Paul Mero, who has served in this capacity since 2000.

Sutherland Institute is a 501(c)(3) organization, which is the IRS tax designation for a non-profit that is eligible for tax deductible donations. According to the Institute's website, Sutherland does "not perform contract work or accept government grants."


Sutherland was founded in 1995 by Gaylord K. Swim. Swim was a noted Utah businessman and philanthropist.[3] He served on multiple boards, including, the Covey Leadership Center (later became FranklinCovey), the State Policy Network,[4] the Central Valley Medical Center, EFI Electronics,[5] and was the chairman of the board for American Heritage School (Utah) at the time of his death. Mr. Swim was also engaged in Utah politics, serving on several local and state commissions including an ad hoc committee which made recommendations[6] against a proposed school district split in Utah County.

Mr. Swim died of a brain tumor in February 2005.

George Sutherland[edit]

Sutherland Institute's name is derived from George Sutherland. Sutherland was the first and only Utahn to have served on the US Supreme Court. Sutherland also served as a US Senator prior to being appointed to the bench in 1922.

Sutherland has received criticism from jurists from opposite sides of constitutional interpretational philosophy.

Sutherland was one of the Four Horsemen (Supreme Court). Liberals of his day ridiculed him for opposing all of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal programs as unconstitutional. Jurists such as Bork, Scalia, and Rehnquist, who ascribe to Originalism have chastised his many Court opinions for grounding his more liberal opinions in the very same logic he used in opposing FDRs New Deal policies.

Hadley Arkes wrote a biography on Justice Sutherland titled: "The Return of George Sutherland."[7] In his book, Hadley noted Sutherland's particular interest in what Hadley calls the "jurisprudence of natural rights."

Policy Focus[edit]

In 2008, Sutherland Institute announced the creation of four policy centers: The Center for Family & Society, The Center for Educational Progress, The Center for Limited Government, and The Center for Community & Economy.

Center for Family & Society[edit]

Sutherland's Center for Family & Society has written on two controversial issues: same-sex marriage and illegal immigration.

In late 2005, Sutherland proposed a resolution designed for local cities to adopt stating their support of Sutherland's definition of the family as a man, woman, and children, stating the family unit is the foundation of society. Only one city,[8] Kanab, UT, accepted and enacted the resolution, but their passage of the resolution set off a national controversy.[9] Some, including Arthur Frommer, called for a boycott of the city as a tourist destination.

Paul Mero also partnered with Allan Carlson of the Howard Center, an Illinois based family advocacy group, to publish "The Natural Family: a manifesto".[10] The book makes an argument for the "traditional" family structure. The book received both local [11] and national exposure[12] and was touted by conservative pundits.

In May 2008, Sutherland issued two reports on illegal immigration in Utah: Onus or Opportunity: Conservatism and Illegal Immigration in Utah.[13] Utah's Citizens and Illegal Immigrants: Side-by-Side [14] These reports drew both criticism[15] as well as praise[16] from various groups in Utah.

Bill Duncan, president of the Marriage Law Foundation,[17] is the center's current director.

Center for Educational Progress[edit]

Sutherland has advocated for greater educational freedom and less reliance on taxpayer funded schools.[18]

In March 2007, Utah became the first state to pass a universal school voucher law. The law was quickly challenged and overturned by referendum vote in November 2007. During the run-up to the November referendum election, Sutherland issued a publication,[19] Voucher, Vows, & Vexations,[20] that presented the institute's view on the history of education in Utah. The report had mixed reviews.[21] Sutherland then released the subsequent companion article in a peer-reviewed law journal[22] as part of an academic conference about school choice.[23]

Acting within the framework of this center, Paul Mero teamed up with Daniel Witte, lead attorney for Sutherland's effort, to publish a book called "Removing Classrooms from the Battlefield: Liberty, Paternalism, and the Redemptive Promise of Educational Choice", which focuses on the historical evolution of the Parental Liberty Doctrine.[24]

Center for Limited Government[edit]

In February 2007, Ed Feulner announced the creation of Sutherland's Center for Limited Government. Area of focuses for the center include, transparency in government,[25] spending limitations, and federal land use in Utah.

Center for Community & Economy[edit]

The Institute's policy research on Utah's economy has focused issues such as health care and property tax reform. In 2004, the Institute first made the case for Utah adopting what Sutherland terms Charity Care,[26] which calls for a more robust system of charity care, like that offered by groups like Unite for Sight[27] as a method to provide care for the unisured. Allan Carlson is currently serving as the director of the Center.

Center for Responsible Citizenship[edit]

In 2010, The institute launched its Center for Responsible Citizenship. The Sutherland "theory of action" is to directly interact with and constructively influence Utah's state and local decision-makers, and to invite responsible citizens to help leverage Sutherland's work. Those actions would occur chiefly through this center.