Meet the ‘Experts’: SNAP Lawyer Marci A. Hamilton

Marci Hamilton

SNAP attorney Marci A. Hamilton, Yeshiva University, New York City

[This is another entry in a continuing series of profiles of individuals whom the media often cites in its coverage of the Catholic Church abuse narrative.]

Whether it is National Public Radio, CNN, or Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, one guest they often call to bash the Catholic Church over the sex abuse scandals is Marci A. Hamilton, a law professor at Yeshiva University in New York City.

What these media outlets never report, however, is Marci's wobbly record of legal scholarship and her profound contempt for the Catholic Church. Hamilton has also done extensive legal work for the anti-Catholic advocacy group SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests).

"A reckless disregard for truth"

Hamilton's legal scholarship has not held up well to academic scrutiny and fact-checking.

A nearly 20-page critique of Hamilton's 2005 book God vs. the Gavel: Religion and the Rule of Law cites page after page of errors in fact and legal analysis by Hamilton.

Entitled "A Syllabus of Errors" in a 2007 edition of the Michigan Law Review and written by esteemed University of Virginia law professor Douglas Laycock, the review lambastes Hamilton's book as "poorly executed," "disorganized," "self-contradictory," and "riddled with errors." Tagging it as a "dreadful book," the professor adds, "Elsewhere I have praised Hamilton's judgment, but this time there is nothing good to say."

Concluding his review, Dr. Laycock wrote:

Occasional errors are inevitable, but here the extraordinary number of errors, often with reference to famous cases and basic doctrines, implies a reckless disregard for truth. I document these errors for a reason. No one should cite this book. No one should rely on it for any purpose …

Its many footnotes offer the patina of scholarship, but there is no substance of scholarship. This book is unworthy of the Cambridge University Press and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.

The review was so punishing that the best rebuttal that Marci could muster was barely three pages long.

Unfortunately, a 2008 book by Hamilton, Justice Denied: What America Must Do to Protect Its Children did not fare much better. Attorney L. Martin Nussbaum and his wife Melissa reviewed the book for the research periodical First Things and concluded:

"Marci Hamilton's Justice Denied is a sloppy piece of work, poorly researched and poorly written. It is a diatribe against the Catholic Church disguised as a solution to child sexual abuse. Hamilton's clients and ours – all of us – deserve better."

Marci, SNAP, and the Philadelphia D.A.'s Office

Hamilton has collaborated both with SNAP and members of the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office in numerous episodes over the years in her efforts to lobby state legislatures to remove the statute of limitations in order to inflict maximum financial and institutional damage to the Catholic Church. (Statutes of limitations are legal parameters under which a maximum time is set after a crime has occurred for a person to sue civilly or be charged criminally.) [Read more]

In light of SNAP's and Hamilton's extensive collaboration with the Philly D.A.'s Office, one cannot help but wonder if the current criminal cases are the fruits of her efforts.

For example, here is a photo of Hamilton and Philly's then-Deputy D.A. Charlie Gallagher collaborating at a conference in 2008 [Read more]:

And here is a video of Hamilton at a 2007 conference she convened at Yeshiva University in New York City. After praising leaders of the anti-Catholic groups SNAP and, Hamilton introduces members of the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office as "by far, the best D.A.'s Office in the country":

[Read much more about this.]

The ultimate target: The Holy See

More recently, Hamilton has teamed with the notorious Church-suing attorney Jeff Anderson in a lawsuit against the Holy See concerning abuse by a member of a religious order over four decades ago. (The priest was laicized in 1966 and died in 1992.)

The suit appears to be nothing short of an effort to cripple the Vatican. A favorable ruling to Hamilton and Anderson, although unlikely, could be quite devastating to the operations of the Catholic Church.

And that has likely been the goal all along.

It seems Hamilton's ultimate aim is to utilize the overall issue of sex abuse to bludgeon the Catholic Church. In the topic of sex abuse, Hamilton reserves her most venomous assaults for the Catholic Church while failing to acknowledge the undeniable fact that almost all alleged incidents occurred decades ago.

Meanwhile, there are massive abuse and cover-ups happening in other institutions today – such as in our nation's public schools – and Hamilton gives these crimes barely a passing mention.

Hamilton's true agenda is exposed.


[See also: "Why Marci Hamilton isn't even close to being right about the constitutionality of the Stupak Amendment" by Walter M. Weber, Senior Litigation Counsel, American Center for Law and Justice ("It would be tempting to dismiss Marci Hamilton as an anti-religious bigot ...")]

[UPDATE, 6/6/12: A June 6, 2012, news report on CBS 3 Philadelphia interviewed Hamilton and identified her as one "who co-wrote the 2005 grand jury report." This is extremely notable. We now can show a confirmed lawyer for SNAP working directly for the Philadelphia prosecution in its case against the Catholic Church!]


  1. Publion says:

    Huge thanks for compiling this information; I checked all the links to reviews and videos and they are also greatly valuable.

    Again, I think I can see where a great part of the striking assertiveness, confidence unfettered by accurate facts, and consequent vitriol against those who disagree with their 'party line', come from in so many of the SNAP-type supporters: if you take a 'true believer' mentality, and not necessarily well-versed in the tasks and discplines of accurate research and assessment, and then present that mentaility  with putatively official and 'scholarly' input such as Lawyer Hamilton's, you are going to produce pecisely what is so often seen in online comments on all sorts of sites (again, the NCR and Philadelphia trial sites are easily-accessed examples).
    You in effect create numbers of wind-up dolls that are programmed to go out into the webverse and eagerly disseminate this stuff, blissfully certain that they have History (and/or God) on their side and that they speak with the authority of one or both of those aforementioned Entities.
    And – but of course – when 'God' (or History) is 'on your side' and you are consequently Deputized to speak for one or both of those Biggies, then bullying of anybody who disagrees pretty much arises as a matter of justifiable praxis.
    But as I have noted in other comments on this site, this SNAP coalition includes both folks who do believe in God (though so often not the Church) and those who don't; those who believe in some other master-entity (History, Reason – however those are defined) and those who do not.
    Yet what they all have in common is the 'true-believer' complex of characteristics I sketched above.
    And then there are those who don't give a hoot for any concepts and simply are willing to do 'whatever it takes' to accomplish their agenda and purposes. For these types, the 'true believers' function as Lenin's "useful idiots", the cattle always ready to stampede on cue.
    I wonder: what will happen when t-h-i-s profound axis of division within the SNAP-py ranks becomes obvious to the cattle?