Linfield College adds new major in Law, Rights, and Justice 

Linfield College bannerStudents who attend Linfield College now have the option to major in Law, Rights, and Justice, in addition to Linfield’s 54 existing majors.  

To launch the new major, the Frederick Douglass Forum on Law, Rights, and Justice will host three upcoming events on Linfield’s McMinnville campus.  

The Law, Rights, and Justice major examines the relationship between law, rights, and competing concepts of justice. Students will study across disciplines like political science, philosophy, history, English, business and economics to explore human rights, rule of law, politics and public policy.  

“The degree provides a great foundation for students should they choose to go to law school, graduate school or the professional world,” says Nicholas Buccola, who holds the Elizabeth and Morris Glicksman Chair in Political Science at Linfield.  

The first event is a lecture from Oregon Supreme Court Justice Thomas Balmer on “Lawyers, Guns and Money: A Judge Looks at Law, Liberal Arts and Law School.” Balmer will talk about how his liberal arts background influenced his legal career and his life. Balmer received his bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College and his law degree from the University of Chicago. He has served in the U.S. Department of Justice and as Deputy Attorney General for the state of Oregon. He has been on the Oregon Supreme Court since 2001 and served as Chief Justice from 2012 to 2018. This event is on Tuesday, March 5, at 4:30 p.m. in the Austin Reading Room in the Nicholson Library. 

The second event is a full-day symposium on “What’s So Liberating about the Liberal Arts?: A Symposium on Liberal Education and the American Experiment” on Friday, March 15, at 10:30 a.m. at the Nicholson Library. The symposium will bring together scholars, Linfield students and alumni to think about the meaning and value of the liberal arts. Speakers will include venture capitalist Scott Hartley, Roosevelt Montás of Columbia University and Susan McWilliams of Pomona College.  

The third and final event is a lecture by Lisa Hay, the federal public defender for the district of Oregon, on “Guilty as Charged: A Public Defender’s Journey from Liberal Arts to Law.” Hay received her undergraduate degree from Yale and her law degree from Harvard. She has been with the Federal Public Defender’s office since 1998 and has been at the head of that office since 2014. This event is on Wednesday, April 24, at 4:30 p.m. in the Austin Reading Room of the Nicholson Library. 

The events are free and open to the public. For more information on the major or the events, contact Buccola at