Ethics and Public Policy Center

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Ethics and Public Policy Center
Ethics and Public Policy Center Logo.jpg
Formation 1976
Founder Ernest W. Lefever
Headquarters 1730 M Street N.W., Suite 910, Washington, D.C.
Edward Whelan
Vice President
Michael Cromartie
Revenue (2014)
Expenses (2014) $4,126,261[1]

The Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC) is a conservative[2][3] Washington, D.C.-based think tank and advocacy group. Founded in 1976, the group describes itself as "dedicated to applying the Judeo-Christian moral tradition to critical issues of public policy", and advocacy of founding principles such as the rule of law.[4] The EPPC is active in a number of ways, including holding conferences,[5] publishing written work[6] from the group's scholars,[7] and running programs[8] intended to explore areas of public concern and interest.

The EPPC's current president is Edward Whelan, who previously worked as an official in the United States Department of Justice. Michael Cromartie, former chairman of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, serves as vice president, while George Weigel, Catholic theologian and papal biographer, is distinguished senior fellow.

The EPPC is a qualified 501(c)(3) organization[9] and currently employs 20 individuals.[10] According to Hoover's, the EPPC's annual sales total $2.47 million while their annual income totals $283,900.[10]


The EPPC was founded in 1976 by Ernest W. Lefever, an American political theorist. He was nominated in 1981 for a State Department position by President Ronald Reagan before ultimately being rejected for the opportunity due to his controversial background.[11] He served as president of the EPPC until 1989 and continued to write scholarly articles for the EPPC until his death in 2009.[12] Lefever said upon founding the institute that "a small ethically oriented center" should "respond directly to ideological critics who insist the corporation is fundamentally unjust."[13] The EPPC's website states that they have been politically committed to "defending the great Western ethical imperatives" on issues such as "the Cold War, the war on terror, the role of religion in public life, and battles over the nature of the family."[4]

Political activity[edit]

The EPPC is politically active in a variety of ways. The EPPC attempts to influence public policy and shape public opinion through a number of methods, which include writing and/or being featured in newspaper articles, publishing their own journal The New Atlantis along with a number of other publications, providing legislative testimonies to Congress, and submitting Amicus briefs to the courts in defense of their positions. The Center organizes much of their political activity into seven main programs, which they title: "American Religious Freedom", "Bioethics and American Democracy", "Catholic Studies", "The Constitution, the Courts, and the Culture", "Economics and Ethics", "Evangelicals in Civic Life", and "Science, Technology, and Society".[14]


The EPPC commonly voices its opinion on matters of public interest through traditional media outlets. Members of the EPPC are commonly featured in newspaper articles, either as authors or as contributors on issues of national relevance. The Center's president Ed Whelan is active on these initiatives, particularly in regards to the United States Supreme Court. The LA Times published an op-ed piece written by Whelan that critiqued judicial activism on the Supreme Court. Whelan wrote that the activists on the Supreme Court have "extravagant and unconstrained conceptions of the judicial role."[15] Whelan is also quoted in a number of articles critiquing President Barack Obama's Supreme Court nominations of Justice Elena Kagan after the retirement of Justice John Paul Stevens.[16][17] Other members of the EPPC have given their opinions regarding the state of health care in the United States. EPPC member Yuval Levin argues that the best solution to the health care debate is to provide tax credits for health insurance.[18] In the Wall Street Journal, EPPC member James Capretta is quoted as saying about President Obama's health care plan: "Think of public education. They want to do for health care what they've done for education—establish a government-run, universal system. Once in place, they will defend such a system whether or not it delivers the results it promised."[19]


The EPPC publishes a number of publications, most notably through its journal titled The New Atlantis: A Journal of Technology and Society. The New Atlantis focuses on the social and political dimensions of science and technology. It is a quarterly journal has earned a reputation as a traditionalist conservative publication[citation needed]. The EPPC describes The New Atlantis as "an effort to clarify the nation's moral and political understanding of all areas of technology—from stem cells to hydrogen cells to weapons of mass destruction."[20] The EPPC believes that technology will be central to the future of American life and American politics, and they intend for the journal to help scientists, policymakers, and citizens deal more wisely with the promise and perils of future of the United States.[20] Adam Keiper, a writing fellow for the EPPC, is the current editor of The New Atlantis. Additional publications by the EPPC, with topics ranging from technology to religion, are released through its website.[6]

Legislative testimony[edit]

The EPPC has had a long history of legislative action, most notably through legislative testimony. For instance, representatives of the EPPC have testified against embryonic stem cell research[21] and against genetic testing on human beings.[22] Current president Ed Whelan has testified on behalf of the EPPC in hearings against the Defense of Marriage Act,[23] against the constitutionality of Roe v. Wade and against abortion in general,[24] against judicial activism in interpretation of the United States Constitution,[25] and against the Supreme Court nomination of Elena Kagan.[26] He also testified in support of the idea of respecting original intent.[25]

Representatives of the EPPC have also testified in other areas of political interest. In the realm of the American economy, representatives of the EPPC (especially Fellow James Capretta) have testified against such measures as increased public Medicare spending and against subsidies for drug companies so that impoverished senior citizens can gain Medicare coverage.[27][28] The EPPC has also been involved in hearings explaining the negative long-term effects of the current budget deficit.[29] Most recently, Capretta and the EPPC testified against President Barack Obama's plan for the 2010 United States Federal Budget citing problems with the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports Act and future entitlement expansions, among other issues.[30] Historically, the EPPC has also testified during hearings related to foreign policy. Members of the group have testified in favor of unilateral economic sanctions against foreign countries,[31] in favor of American intervention in ending Apartheid in South Africa,[32] and granting normal trade relations status to Communist China.[33] The EPPC has also endorsed American intervention in Latin American countries to help build democracy.[34]

Court briefs[edit]

The EPPC has been involved as Amici Curiae in several high-profile US Supreme Court cases. Examples include Florida v. Department of Health and Human Services, Van Orden v. Perry, and United States v. Virginia. The EPPC has signed onto three different briefs in the Florida v. Department of Health and Human Services case (Feb 2012). On January 6, 2012 the EPPC signed as an individual supporter of the "Brief of Amici Curiae Competitive Enterprise Institute, Thomas P. Miller [...] in Support of Petitioners (Severability Issue)".[35] On January 17, 2012 the EPPC signed on the "Brief for Amici Curiae Economists in Support of State petitioners Regarding Medicaid Expansion". They write: "The Government's attempt to fashion a singular, universal solution is not necessary to address the local externalities arising in these markets and provides no justification for casting aside the traditional constitutional limitations on federal power."[36] Later, on February 13, 2012, the EPPC signed as "Amici Curiae Economists in Support of Respondents Regarding Individual Mandate".[37] These three briefs oppose the initiative of the Affordable Care Act's means to reduce health care costs through expanding Medicaid and enforcing the individual mandate, while rejecting any severability of the mandate from the bill as a whole. In January 2005, the EPPC wrote a brief in the Van Orden v. Perry case, submitted as the "Brief for the Ethics and Public Policy Center as Amicus Curiae in Support of Respondents".[38] The brief was in support of the Judgment of the Court of Appeal to keep the Ten Commandments monument outside of the Texas State Capitol in Austin.

On December 19, 1995, the EPPC signed onto a brief in the United States v. Virginia case submitted as "Amici Curiae Brief of Women's Schools Together, Inc.; Boys' Schools...".[39][40] The EPPC opposed the ruling that same-gender education programs must be matching in program material and content.


There are many well known scholars who contribute to the EPPC. These scholars are referred to by the Center as "Fellows". There are currently twenty-two fellows listed on the EPPC's "Fellows and Scholars" page. They include Center president Ed Whelan, whose areas of expertise include constitutional law and the judicial confirmation process and former Center president George Weigel, a Distinguished Senior fellow and Catholic theologian. Other noted members include Michael Cromartie, vice President of the EPPC who directs the "Evangelicals in Civic Life" program, as well as Senior Fellows Hadley Arkes, Stanley Kurtz, Wilfred M. McClay, and Peter Wehner.[41] Another prominent figure involved with the EPPC is Rick Santorum, who was a Senior fellow with the Center from 2006 until he left the Center to run for the 2012 Republican Party Presidential Nomination. Santorum directed the EPPC's "Program to Protect America's Freedom".[42]


  1. ^ a b "Ethics and Public Policy Center Inc" (PDF). Foundation Center. Retrieved 30 March 2017. 
  2. ^ Bravin, Jess (December 2, 2014). "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Scalia? Set His Dissents to Music". The Wall Street Journal. 
  3. ^ Kamen, Al; Itkowitz, Colby (December 17, 2014). "The nuclear option and its fallout". The Washington Post. 
  4. ^ a b "About". Ethics & Public Policy Center. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b "Publications". Ethics & Public Policy Center. 
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Support EPPC". Ethics & Public Policy Center. 
  10. ^ a b Hoover's Online. Ethics and Public Policy Center. Retrieved April 17, 2012 from Hoover's Online
  11. ^ Bernstein, "Ernest W. Lefever dies at 89; founder of conservative public policy organization" LA Times, July 31, 2009
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Ethics and Public Policy Center". Right Web - Institute for Policy Studies. 20 January 2012. 
  14. ^ "Programs Archive - Ethics & Public Policy Center". Ethics & Public Policy Center. 
  15. ^ Whelan, "Judicial activism awards fixed!" LA Times, October 24, 2007
  16. ^ Radnofsky, "Interest Groups Weigh In on Stevens" Wall Street Journal, April 9, 2010
  17. ^ "Other views on the Supreme Court: 'A scant record'" USA Today, May 10, 2010
  18. ^ Ponnuru and Levin, "A Slogan, Not a Plan" NY Times, April 23, 2011
  19. ^ McGurn, "The Health-Care Grail" Wall Street Journal, August 10, 2009
  20. ^ a b "About The New Atlantis"
  21. ^ SUDOC: Y4.G74/7:ST4/5.
  22. ^ SUDOC: Y4.AG4:S.HRG.110-770.
  23. ^ SUDOC: Y4.J89/2:S.HRG.112-120.
  24. ^ SUDOC: Y4.J89/2:S.HRG.109-1039.
  25. ^ a b SUDOC: Y4.J89/1:109-40.
  26. ^ SUDOC: Y4.J89/2:S.HRG.111-1044.
  27. ^ SUDOC: Y4.G74/7:112-81.
  28. ^ SUDOC: Y4.C73/8:106-73
  29. ^ SUDOC: Y4.B85/3:111-19.
  30. ^ SUDOC: Y4.B85/3:112-1.
  31. ^ SUDOC: Y1.1/3:105-26
  32. ^ SUDOC: Y4.F76/1:P92
  33. ^ SUDOC: Y4.F76/2:S.HRG.106-744
  34. ^ SUDOC: Y4.F76/2:S.HRG.106-235
  35. ^ 2012 WL 72444; Brief for the EPPC as Amicus Curiae, Florida v. Department of Health and Human Services, 11 U.S. 393, 11 U.S. 400, (2012)
  36. ^ 2012 WL 205855; Brief for the EPPC as Amicus Curiae, Florida v. Department of Health and Human Services, 11 U.S. 400 (2012)
  37. ^ 2012 WL 504611; Brief for the EPPC as Amicus Curiae, Florida v. Department of Health and Human Services, 11 U.S. 398 (2012)
  38. ^ 2005 WL 240665; Brief for the EPPC as Amicus Curiae, Van Orden v. Perry, 03 U.S. 1500, (2005)
  39. ^ Amici Curiae Brief of Women's Schools Together, Inc.; Boys' Schools: An International Coalition; Robert Bobb; Thomas H. Butler, Ed.D; Dr. Roy J. Dawson; Peter M. Flanigan; Dr. Richard Hawley; Frank Hayden; Dr. Spencer Holland; Nancy E. Kussrow; Professor Mary R. Lefkowitz; Kathleen S. McCreary; Joan S. McMenamin; Joseph W. McPherson; Dr. Angela Pienkos; Dr. Diane Ravitch; Dr. Cornelius Riordan; Dr. Joseph Spirito; Michael M. Uhlmann; and the Honorable Arnold W. Webster, Ph.D. In Support of Respondents, Cross Petitioners
  40. ^ 1995 WL 761812; Brief for the EPPC as Amicus Curiae, United States v. Virginia, 94 U.S. 1941, 94 U.S. 2107 (2012)
  41. ^ "EPPC Fellows & Scholars"
  42. ^ "Santorum's EPPC Page"

External links[edit]