John A. Sparks

John A. Sparks

Dr. John A. Sparks is the retired dean of the Calderwood School of Arts & Letters, Grove City College, Grove City, Pa., and teaches constitutional history and business Law on a part-time basis. He is a member of the State Bars of Michigan and Pennsylvania and is a fellow for educational policy for The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College.

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What’s ahead for the Supreme Court? The Court refuses the gay marriage question

October 8, 2014 | by | Topic: The Law

Every year, on the first Monday in October, the U.S. Supreme Court begins a new term. This year it began with a bang. The court refused to hear the largest number of petitions requesting certiorari—all of which raised the … More>

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Supreme Court Slows Obamacare’s Abortion Agenda

July 1, 2014 | by | Topic: The Law

The Supreme Court waited until the last day of its term to issue its highly anticipated opinion in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties.

The narrow 5-4 decision negates the “contraceptive mandate” of the … More>

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Obama appointments nixed

June 30, 2014 | by | Topic: The Law

In a rare unanimous decision, all nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court agreed with the outcome in NLRB v. Canning. The Supreme Court found that President Obama’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) were unconstitutional. … More>

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Being “offended” does not constitute an “establishment” of religion: The Supreme Court and Elmbrook School District

June 25, 2014 | by | Topic: Education & Schools, The Law

The Elmbrook School District operates two public high schools in suburban Wisconsin. Finding that its own gymnasiums were cramped, hot, and uncomfortable, and at the request of students, it decided to move joint graduation ceremonies to a local Protestant church … More>

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STREAMING VIDEO – 2014 – From Wisconsin v. Yoder to Employment Division v. Smith: Do we still have Religious Liberty?

May 28, 2014 | by | Topic: Annual Conference Lectures, Annual Conference Lectures 2014, Faith and Freedom Abused, Streaming Video

Dr. John Sparks speaks at The Center for Vision & Values 2014 annual conference, Faith and Freedom Abused: Threats to our Religious Liberty.… More>

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Pending Supreme Court Rulings (Part Four) – Obama and Recess Appointments: NLRB v. Canning

April 14, 2014 | by | Topic: The Law

In January 2012, President Obama appointed three people to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which is the federal regulatory board that determines whether or not certain labor practices have been unfair. Since 2008, it had been without the three … More>

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Pending Supreme Court Rulings (Part Three) – “Will the First Amendment Protect the Religious Liberty of Businesses? The Cases of Conestoga Wood Specialties and Hobby Lobby Stores”

March 24, 2014 | by | Topic: The Law

Conestoga Wood Specialties is a wood cabinets business located in Lancaster County, Pa. It is organized as a for-profit corporation and the voting shares are owned by members of a single family—the Hahns. They are Mennonite Christians. Conestoga … More>

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Pending Supreme Court Rulings (Part Two) – “Michigan voters’ stance for true equality: The Schuette case”

March 12, 2014 | by | Topic: The Law

Editor’s note: This is the second article in a four-part series.

In 1995, Jennifer Gratz was denied admission to the University of Michigan. Two years later she sued the university, alleging that she had been denied equal treatment under the … More>

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Pending Supreme Court Rulings (Part One) – “Abortion and free speech: The granny who will not be silenced”

February 24, 2014 | by | Topic: The Law

Editor’s note: In this four-part series, Dr. John Sparks, a constitutional law professor at Grove City College, reviews and analyzes key upcoming U.S. Supreme Court cases that will have an impact on American life and liberty.

A grandmother’s strong stand … More>

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Richard Larry, friend of liberty

October 11, 2013 | by | Topic: Biography, Faith & Society

Editor’s note: Dr. John A. Sparks is the retired Dean of the Calderwood School of Arts & Letters at Grove City College. He is one of the co-founders of The Center for Vision & Values and worked regularly with Dick More>

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Fisher v. University of Texas: The Court Misses an Opportunity

June 28, 2013 | by | Topic: The Law

The Supreme Court, in a case heard by eight Justices (Justice Kagan recused herself), has issued its decision involving the admissions policies of the University of Texas. In a 7-1 decision, the court sent the case back to the Fifth Circuit Court of … More>

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Because faith and freedom matter

June 7, 2013 | by | Topic: Biography, Economics & Political Systems, Faith & Society

Editor’s note: As one of his final works of service to his alma mater before retiring, Dr. John Sparks delivered the 2013 Grove City College commencement address, “Because Faith and Freedom Matter,” on May 18. You can watch Dr. More>

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Obama’s Medical Devices Tax … It May Be Harmful to Your Health

January 16, 2013 | by | Topic: American History & Presidents, Economics & Political Systems

Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in The Washington Times.

With the start of the New Year, one of the little noticed but potentially harmful features of Obamacare has now gone into effect. It is the tax … More>

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Robert Bork and Grove City College

December 21, 2012 | by | Topic: American History & Presidents, Media & Culture, The Law

On a dark February afternoon in 1988, 25 students in a U.S. Constitutional History class waited expectantly in a little-used dining hall on the campus of Grove City College (in Grove City, Pennsylvania) for a special guest lecturer to arrive. … More>

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The Obamacare Decision: A Mixed Bag

July 5, 2012 | by | Topic: American History & Presidents, Economics & Political Systems, Media & Culture, The Law

The case that received more media attention and more consideration by the U.S. Supreme Court than any in recent history has been decided. The 5-4 decision upheld the “individual mandate,” the central feature of the Patient Protection and Affordable … More>

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Obama’s Monumental Misunderstanding

April 9, 2012 | by | Topic: American History & Presidents, Economics & Political Systems, Media & Culture, The Law

President Obama recently complained about the possibility of the Supreme Court striking down Obamacare. He used the term “unprecedented” and was critical of “judicial activism” engaged in by “unelected” judges. In so doing, he showed his monumental misunderstanding of … More>

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Obamacare: Will It Withstand Constitutional Scrutiny?

March 23, 2012 | by | Topic: American History & Presidents, Economics & Political Systems, The Law

The U.S. Supreme Court is now poised to review the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare.” The nine Justices will hear oral arguments totaling an unprecedented five-and-a-half hours beginning on March 26, 2012 More>

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Does Alzheimer’s Justify Divorce?

September 19, 2011 | by | Topic: Faith & Society, Media & Culture

Recently, Pat Robertson, chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network, told his “700 Club” viewers that divorcing a wife with Alzheimer’s disease is justifiable (click here). His statement came in response to a viewer’s question, and one would hope … More>

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Obamacare: Constitutionally Infirm

September 2, 2011 | by | Topic: American History & Presidents, The Law

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the key feature of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known by many as “Obamacare,” is unconstitutional. The “individual mandate” portion of the legislation—a … More>

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The Year of School Choice—But Not for African-American Kids in NYC

July 13, 2011 | by | Topic: Education & Schools

In a recent editorial, The Wall Street Journal calls 2011 the “year of school choice.” Parents and the legislators who represent them, particularly in inner-city schools, are tired of waiting for the promised effects of “educational reform” on the public … More>

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Tax Hikes are Coming … If Obama Gets His Way

May 13, 2011 | by | Topic: Economics & Political Systems

President Obama is now openly proposing tax increases on at least two important fronts as part of his “solution” to the growing debt crisis.

The president’s favorite approach is to talk about the “wealthiest Americans.” In his speech on April … More>

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The Beginning of the End for Obamacare?

December 16, 2010 | by | Topic: Economics & Political Systems

One of the key provisions of the Obama administration’s healthcare law has been struck down as unconstitutional by Federal District Court Judge Henry E. Hudson. The decision is the culmination of a lawsuit brought by the Commonwealth of Virginia against … More>

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Justice Is Done in Connecticut

November 18, 2010 | by | Topic: The Law

Dr. William Petit stood on the steps of the New Haven Superior Court House. A jury had just recommended the death penalty for one of the men who had assaulted and murdered his wife and daughters. Though it was not … More>

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Rendell and Marcellus Shale—Taxing the “Golden Goose”

April 26, 2010 | by | Topic: Economics & Political Systems

Imagine that you are governor of the state of Pennsylvania, and private enterprisers discover a new, clean source of fuel within the state’s borders, a source which would help reduce the costs of energy, provide jobs for companies and workers, yield additional tax revenues … More>

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Freedom of Political Speech Restored: Citizens United v. Obama

January 29, 2010 | by | Topic: The Law

Suppose you were arrested on criminal charges because you were the head of an organization that had produced a film critical of the wife of a former political leader, who was now running for office herself. What country would have … More>

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Bulldozed in New London: The Latest on Kelo and Eminent Domain

January 8, 2010 | by | Topic: The Law

Pfizer, the huge drug company, has announced that it will be leaving a large research complex in New London, Connecticut and moving several hundred jobs to nearby Groton. Such belt-tightening in tough economic times would normally draw little criticism. In … More>

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Christopher Klicka: Warrior for Educational and Religious Freedom

October 13, 2009 | by | Topic: Education & Schools

A young dark-haired student, Chris Klicka, sat in my U.S. Constitutional History class at Grove City College, Grove City, Pennsylvania around 1980. He was an excellent student with a particularly keen interest in questions about religious liberty and how … More>

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The Employee Free Choice Act—Why UNIONS Will Be Hurt

March 16, 2009 | by | Topic: The Law

The Obama administration is pushing again for the adoption of a bill with the misleading title, the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). One of its major provisions would make employers recognize unions on the basis of “card checks,” that is, … More>

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The Employee Intimidation Act

February 6, 2009 | by | Topic: The Law

The Obama administration will make every effort to pass a key piece of pro-union legislation. The bill has a misleading label: The Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). In the interest of truth in advertising, the bill should be called, “The … More>

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Educational Choice for the Obamas—What About Others?

December 1, 2008 | by | Topic: Education & Schools

Where will the Obama kids attend school in Washington? That question has been answered as it should be: by the new president and first lady.

There is no argument about that. Sasha and Malia will attend Sidwell Friends School—private, religious, … More>

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Breakaway Virginia Churches Win “Round Two”

July 9, 2008 | by | Topic: Faith & Society

Editor’s Note: For more information, please see a previous article by Dr. Sparks, “Seceding Virginia Parishes Win ‘First Round.’”

Eleven local Virginia Episcopal Churches that have taken on the “Goliath” Episcopal Church USA (ECUSA) have won another important victory in … More>

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Seceding Virginia Parishes Win “First Round”

April 9, 2008 | by | Topic: Faith & Society

The 12 Virginia Episcopal congregations that voted to leave the Episcopal Church in the U.S.A. (ECUSA) and its Virginia Diocese in late 2006 and early 2007 have been successful in the first round of what promises to be a protracted … More>

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V&V Q&A: On Church Property and the State (with John Sparks)

April 4, 2008 | by | Topic: The Law, Vision & Values Concise E-publications

Editor’s Note: The “V&V Q&A” is an e-publication from the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College. Each issue will present an interview with an intriguing thinker or opinion-maker that we hope will prove illuminating to readers everywhere. More>

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William F. Buckely, Jr.—Yale and Higher Education

February 29, 2008 | by | Topic: Biography

In 1951, the late William F. Buckley, Jr. issued one of the best-known challenges to higher education. In what became a conservative classic, God and Man at Yale, Buckley, then a recent Yale graduate, first called upon U.S. colleges … More>

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V&V PAPER — Paulo Freire: Education as Radical Political Transformation

September 13, 2007 | by | Topic: Economics & Political Systems, White Papers

Editor’s Note: Reflecting the breadth and depth of top-notch scholarship being pursued by the faculty of Grove City College, the Center for Vision & Values is pleased to release the fourth in a series of exclusive monthly white papers being More>

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Hans Sennholz—A Personal Remembrance

June 26, 2007 | by | Topic: Biography

I first heard a lecture by Dr. Hans F. Sennholz in 1962 as a freshman economics major in his Principles class at Grove City College. I had come to Grove City because of Dr. Sennholz having been intensely interested in … More>

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Retreat from Barbarism—the Court on Partial-Birth Abortions

April 18, 2007 | by | Topic: Faith & Society

The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Gonzales v. Carhart is an important step away from the cruel practice of abortion. Although it upholds only the Partial-birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003 (President Clinton vetoed similar bans twice) and therefore does … More>

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Virginia Churches—African Bishops?

January 10, 2007 | by | Topic: Faith & Society

Stranger things may have happened in the annals of church history, but the recent lopsided votes in several Virginia Episcopal congregations may qualify as among the strangest at first glance. Why? They voted in favor of leaving that denomination’s Virginia … More>

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Monetary Chaos in Zimbabwe

August 16, 2006 | by | Topic: Economics & Political Systems

Imagine buying a loaf of bread in August, 2005 for $2 and then, just a year later, finding the same loaf priced at $22! That is the kind of annual price inflation—1000% or more—that the already poor people of Zimbabwe … More>

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The Lion, The Witch, and The Worldviews

October 9, 2005 | by | Topic: Media & Culture

Six hundred million and counting. That is the number of dollars that The Passion of the Christ has grossed and the number of reasons why Disney has been marketing its new film, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, to … More>

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Judge Roberts and the Living Constitution

September 12, 2005 | by | Topic: American History & Presidents

The Judiciary Committee hearings for Judge John Roberts provide an arena in which the supporters of the “living Constitution” will clash, however politely, with the advocates of “original intent” sometimes called “originalists.”These two conflicting judicial philosophies lurk behind almost every … More>

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Don’t “Bench” the Veterans

May 24, 2005 | by | Topic: American History & Presidents

Professors Calabresi and Lindgren in a recent Wall Street Journal article entitled “Supreme Gerontocracy” (April 8) complain that U.S. Supreme Court justices are retiring 10 years later on average than were the earlier justices. Therefore, they support the adoption of … More>

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Education Means Emancipation: Poverty and Schooling, the Hope and Reality

April 4, 2005 | by | Topic: Conference Papers, Education & Schools

CVV Inaugural Conference
The Road From Poverty to Freedom: A Look Backward and Forward at the War on Poverty
(Sticht Lecture Hall in the Hall of Arts and Letters)

“Education Means Emancipation: Poverty and Schooling, the Hope and Reality”
By … More>

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The Modern Press and George Washington

February 11, 2004 | by | Topic: Media & Culture

Imagine the current members of the White House press corps being transported back in time to the presidency of George Washington. If they were to train their journalistic guns on the “father of our country,” instead of our own George … More>

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What Bush Should Have Said in Africa

July 18, 2003 | by | Topic: American History & Presidents

President Bush is back from Africa. His trip was intended to show that America cares about the plight of African Third World countries. However, if one views the bulk of Sub-Saharan African countries as sick patients needing treatment, then Dr. … More>

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