Gabriela Gonzalez-Araiza, John Marshall Fellow 2019
What is your current position?
I am a Constitutional Law Fellow at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
What inspired you to choose this career path?
As an undergraduate at Princeton, one of my favorite classes was Professor Robby George’s Constitutional Interpretation. He gave us opinions to read and taught in the Socratic method. One of my brothers, who had just graduated from law school, suggested that if I was having so much fun in that class, I’d enjoy law school. Around the same time, I spent a summer interning at Becket, which opened my eyes to the kind of rewarding and meaningful work I could do as a lawyer.
How did you hear about the Claremont Institute?
I learned about the Claremont Institute when John Eastman came to speak at Berkeley Law for a Federalist Society event. The Marshall Fellowship was recommended by friends who are alumni of the program.
What is your fondest memory of the Claremont Institute?
The late nights talking with fellows in the hospitality suite! I loved the sense of camaraderie that grew from our shared interest in and commitment to founding principles, even if we didn’t always agree. And knowing that my brilliant co-fellows are out there thinking about these things always puts a smile on my face.
There are all sorts of educational programs out there for current and rising conservative professionals. What do you think makes the Claremont Institute’s Fellowships unique?
I really appreciated the size of our Marshall Fellows class. It gave us an opportunity to discuss topics more in depth and to get to know each other better. And it also gave us more access to the talented faculty.
Who would you hope the individual would be, if you could sit down and enjoy a meal with an American Founder or any great thinker? What would you discuss? Where would you like to meet? What would you order to eat/drink?
My area of work really biases my answer on this one…I’d love to have a Manhattan (my favorite cocktail) with James Madison. I’d want to talk about the Memorial and Remonstrance, and I’d be curious to hear what he thinks about the state of religious liberty jurisprudence today.
What do you see as the biggest threat to Religious Liberty?
I think one of the biggest threats to religious liberty is the rise of the “nones”—people who don’t identify with any religion. Partly because I think that as fewer people feel duty-bound to their consciences, the harder it is for them to understand why someone else would be. The other part is that we need people to assert their rights and stand against encroachment of those rights. Places like Becket don’t exist without our brave clients who oftentimes risk everything for their faith.
What books are you currently reading?
I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I’m barely reading The Lord of the Rings for the first time. I’m also reading To Know Christ Jesus by Frank Sheed.
Do you have a favorite quote and if so would you share?
I have to go to Madison again for this one, Federalist 51: If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.
What is your favorite cultural/recreational pastime (or hobby)? Why?
I’m currently teaching myself calligraphy. I think there’s something special about handwritten notes, and calligraphy adds a bit of elegance.