Grove City College President Paul J. McNulty ’80 will teach a course on the U.S. Constitution this spring, bringing his singular perspective as an attorney who worked with the nation’s founding document as a policy-maker, prosecutor and defense lawyer to the classroom.
Before he became a leader in higher education, McNulty amassed rare experience with constitutional law as the former senior attorney for the Committee on the Judiciary in the U.S. House of Representatives, a top Justice Department official enforcing the law and as a partner in a global law firm defending businesses.
“The goal of the course is to give students a clear understanding of the contents of the Constitution, including its history, structure, principles and protections. We’ll look at its language and key Supreme Court cases that have interpreted its provisions and applied them to American society,” McNulty said.
“Grove City College students are called to be faithful citizens. This is part of our mission. Widespread understanding of our constitutional order is critical for the preservation of American freedom,” he said.
Offered through the Department of Political Science, the class is an elective “aimed at the broad student body,” according to Department Chair Michael Coulter ’91, professor of Political Science. McNulty, he said, will cover the history of the document, its various articles and major cases.
Coulter said he expects the class will appeal to students from outside of the political science and pre-law programs, where an intensive two-semester Constitutional Law class is a requirement.
“I have basically two reasons for teaching this course. First, it’s another excellent way to connect with our students. Opportunities to engage with students are the most rewarding and enjoyable aspect of my job. Second, I’m passionate about the rule of law. Ignorance of, or indifference to, our constitutional order is one of the greatest threats to America today,” McNulty said.
McNulty became the ninth president of Grove City College in 2014. After graduating from the College in 1980 he earned a law degree from Capitol University Law School in 1983 and began a career in Washington as a senior attorney with the U.S. Congress. He served as Chief Counsel and Director of Legislative Operations for the House Majority Leader, Chief Counsel for the House Subcommittee on Crime and Counsel for the House Ethics Committee. From 2001 to 2005 he serve as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia and was a leader in our nation’s response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
In 2005, the United States Senate unanimously confirmed McNulty to the position of Deputy Attorney General, the second in command at the U.S. Department of Justice and the Chief Operating Officer of the department’s 100,000 employees. From 2007 to 2014, McNulty led the global corporate compliance and investigations practice for Baker & McKenzie, one of the world’s largest law firms.